Mains Wiring

Leads Direct sells a wide range of Mains leads and cables ready made for purchase online. In addition leads direct can supply roll cabling for the UK, Europe, the US and even Japan and Australia and or course our unique Custom Lead service enables you to have cables made to any specification you can provide as long as they will be safe and meet the relevant standards for the country in which it is intended that they be used.

All these countries share a standard set of appliance connectors – the IEC 320 Standard Appliance Connectors - but have very different connectors where they connect to the mains supply.

For information about international mains power supply voltages and frequencies please visit our Mains Voltages page.

International Mains Connectors

UK Plugs UK standard rewireable 3 pin mains plugs. The single pin without the sleeves is the earth connection.Brown – LIVE
Blue – NEUTRAL
Green/Yellow – EARTHThis connector is widely used, and in addition to the UK it can also be used in many countries across the world including : Baharain, Bangladesh, Belize (British Honduras), Bhutan, Botswana, Brunei, Burma, Cyprus, Dominica, Dubai, Egypt, Eire (Republic of Ireland), Falkland Islands, Gambia, Ghana, Gibralta, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Macau, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Myanbar, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, St Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Siant Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, UAE, Uganda, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.Note: This connector is not always the main or official connector for the country in question and may be available in tandem with other connectors. For a full country by country review of the connectors and power supplies across the world see our International Voltages page.
Schuko Plug A moulded right angled Schuko plug. Note the plate with a hole in it between and above the two pins – this connects to French and Belgian sockets which have an earth pin that sticks out. Running in a slot coming from that plate is a continuation strip from the plage. Other european countries use a socket with a scrolled metal connector emerging from the side which mates with that strip. This ensures that the Schuko can be used in most mainland european countries.Re-wireable versions of this plug are available. They have the same pin arrangement but do look different in the body of the plug.
Euro 2 pin A 2 pin Euro plug. Note that this has no earth connection, and may not be used on any appliance that needs to be earthed. Available in rewireable (as shown) and moulded types.
Australian Moulded Plug A moulded Australian 3 pin plug, used in Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea. Note that whilst being similar in many ways to the UK plugs (three pins, two sleeved, one unsleeved) and the US plugs (thin flat pins), the two power pins are set at an angle of around 45 degrees.There is an unearthed version of this plug as well, with only two flat V-aligned pins. These flat blades measure 6.5 by 1.6 mm and are set 30° to the vertical on a nominal pitch of 13.7 mm. It is easy to bend them straight with pliers to force them into American sockets, although this is not advised due to the differences in both voltage and frequency. Wall sockets almost always have switches on them for extra safety, as in the UK.A variant plug with a slightly longer, wider and thicker earth pin is used for devices drawing up to 15 ampères; sockets supporting this pin will also accept 10 A plugs.Although the above plug looks very similar to the one used in Israel (type H), both plugs are not compatible. Australia’s standard plug/socket system is described in SAA document AS 3112 and is used in applications up to 10 A. As of 2003, the latest major update is AS/NZS 3112:2000, which mandated insulated pins by 2005.
US plug A moulded US 3 pin plug. Note the round earth connector, which is not always available on US sockets. Many older US sockets accept only the 2 pin plug and cannot be used with any appliance that needs to be earthed.In the USA these plugs are detailed in NEMA ( National Electrical Manufacturers Association) publication WDI and are incorporated into UL 498 B4 UL. Canadian plug and socket standards are outlined by CSA. The NEMA 1-ISP and 5-ISP style plugs are also used in Mexico, Japan and parts of Korea and Taiwan.Japanese plugs (100VAC, 50 & 60Hz) at a glance look the same as USA plugs, however the Japanese system (JIS 8303) requires approvals by MITI or JIS. This connector is available in a re-wireable version but is rare and therefore expensive in the UK.For more information and a wiring diagram please see the article on our Wiring an American Plug page.
US 2 pin mains plug A rewireable US 2 pin plug. Note that this has not got an earth connector and cannot be used with any appliance that needs to be earthed, but will fit into the US earthed socket. Moulded versions are sometimes available.
south african plug 2 A moulded South African 3 pin plug. The single pin without the sleeves is the earth connection, but note that the sleeves shown on two pins in this image are not part of the South African approvals, and may be bare on product received. This product is sometimes also available as a rewireable product.This plug is the same as the old UK 15 amp round pin plug, and is also used for Theatre lighting in the UK as well as in other countries including India.
israeli plug An Israeli three pin Plug. This plug, defined in SI 32, is unique to Israel and is incompatible with all other sockets. It has two flat pins like the American plug, but they form a V-shape rather than being parallel. Rated at 16 A, it also has an earthing pin. Visitors to Israel will find that in practice, sockets are manufactured with widenings in the middle of the V-shape-oriented slots for the energised prongs. This allows the Israeli socket to accommodate European 2 pin plugs.This plug type can also be found in Jordan.
italian mains plug A rewireable Italian 3 pin plug. The 10 ampere style is like the European 2 pin except that it is earthed by means of a central earthing pin.The single pin without the sleeves is the earth connection. This product is also available as a moulded product. This plug is relatively standardised in Libya, Ethiopia, and Chile and is found randomly throughout North Africa, and occasionally in old buildings in Spain.
chinese plug A Chinese Mains Plug.Although there are slight differences (the pins are 1 mm longer) the Australian plug mates with the socket used in the People’s Republic of China (mainland China). The standard for Chinese plugs and sockets was set out in GB 2099.1–1996 and GB 1002–1996. As part of China’s commitment for entry into the WTO, the new CPCS (Compulsory Product Certification System) has been introduced, and compliant Chinese plugs have been awarded the CCC (China Compulsory Certification) Mark by this system. The plug is three wire, grounded, rated at 10 A, 250 V and used for Class 1 applications.
swiss_israel_rewireable Switzerland has its own standard which is described in SEV 1011. This plug is similar to the two pin European plug, except that it has the addition of an earth pin off to one side. Swiss sockets can take europlugs (CEE 7/16). This connector system is rated for use in applications up to 10 amperes. Above 10 A, equipment must be either wired permanently to the electrical supply system with appropriate branch circuit protection or connected to the mains with an appropriate high power industrial connector.This type of socket can also be sporadically encountered in buildings in Spain, where they may be erroneously referred to as enchufes americanos — American sockets.Switzerland also has a two-pin plug, with the same pin shape, size and spacing as the SEV 1011′s live and neutral pins, but the hexagonal form factor is more flattened. It fits into both Swiss sockets (round and hexagonal) and CEE 7/16 sockets and is rated for up to 10 A.
danish plug The Danish standard is described in Afsnit 107-2-D1. The plug is similar to a Schuko plug except that it has a earthing pin instead of earthing clips. The Danish socket will also accept many European plugs; however, there is no earthing connection with these plugs because a male earth pin is required on the plug. The correct plug must be used in Denmark for safety reasons.A variation of this plug intended for use only on surge protected computer circuits has been introduced. The current rating on both plugs is 10 A.

Wiring a UK Three Pin Plug

uk mains plug wiring

You should be aware that when you are replacing an existing plug (perhaps because it has been damaged) the colours of the wires in a mains lead may not correspond with the coloured markings identifying the terminals in the plug. Assuming that you have a modern cable with Brown, Blue and Green and Yellow cores you should proceed as follows:

  • The wire which is coloured GREEN-AND-YELLOW must be connected to the terminal in the plug which is marked by the letter E or by the safety earth symbol or coloured GREEN or GREEN and YELLOW.
  • The wire which is coloured BLUE must be connected to the terminal in the plug which is marked with the letter N or coloured BLACK.
  • The wire which is coloured BROWN must be connected to the terminal in the plug which is marked with the letter L or coloured RED.
  • When wiring a UK 3-pin plug, you should always leave more slack in the earth wire than in the live and neutral. This will ensure that, in the case of accidental pulling force on the cable, the earth wire will be the last to disconnect.

Electricity can KILL!! If you are in any doubt at all about what you are doing, or your ability to do the work, you should refer any mains connection work to a qualified electrician.

Wire Colours

The following are the colours that are used as standard on mains plugs:

Pin Connection
USA / Japan
EUROPE
UK
Live
Black
Brown
Brown
Neutral (Common)
White
Blue
Blue
Earth (Ground)
Green
Green / Yellow
Green / Yellow

 

 

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