PlugSafe  Protecting BS 1363 - the world’s safest mains plug and socket

 

 

F8E449ea_face F8E449ea_UK1

The Belkin F8E449ea “Universal AC Travel Adaptor” claimed to ”work with all different types of outlets” despite the fact that it was equipped only with Europlug type pins and US pins, with no earth pin.  The supplied instructions state that in the UK, the Europlug pins should be used, and what they call the “UK Key” (shown in the picture left) is used to open the socket shutters.  Actually Europlug pins should NEVER be used in a BS 1363 socket, and the “UK Key” is NOT the same size as a BS 1363 earth pin, it is a fallacy that inserting the key will always open the shutters, in some it will, but in millions of others it will not, there are multiple (standards compliant) shutter operating mechanisms in use in BS 1363 sockets, and only in the most basic type is the shutter operated by the earth pin! 

BS 1363 socket contacts are designed to operate with flat pins of the correct size, never round ones, as they cannot possibly achieve a correct low resistance contact!  In addition, any plug, or travel adaptor, which is used with a BS 1363 socket MUST be fitted with a BS 1362 fuse, the Belkin has no fuse at all!

F8E449ea_overhang

As the photograph above shows, there are no shutters fitted to this adaptor, so there is nothing to prevent a child poking a metallic object into a live contact.  That is not acceptable in the UK and many other countries.  However, the issue which caused this particular adaptor type to be banned throughout Europe was the fact that a plug can be inserted in such a way that one of the pins is left hanging out, in a situation like this it is possible to get a fatal electric shock by touching the pin which is left exposed, as current can flow through the appliance and into the person touching the pin.  We show this using a Europlug in the picture on the right.  It was the authorities in The Netherlands who took action on this in 2007, as can be seen from this RAPEX report.  The withdrawal was also reported in the press at the time in an article describing Belkin’s recall and reimbursement program.

Despite having been recalled in 2007, as of 1st August 2017 there was still a listing on Amazon.co.uk which was first added in 2010, three years after the recall!  The test purchase we did was from an eBay.co.uk listing in 2014.  These are yet further demonstrations of online marketplaces selling illegal items! 

There are even more problems with this adaptor as shown below.

F8E449ea_US

In common with many other “universal travel adaptors” the socket arrangements take the form of a universal socket designed to accept UK pins, Europlug and Schuko pins, US pins and Australia/NZ pins. 
In all cases there is no provision to connect earth.

Standards for travel adaptors require that it be not possible to insert the earth pin of a plug into a current carrying contact of the socket part of an adaptor.  The way that this adaptor is constructed means that it is actually very easy to insert the earthing pin of either a UK plug or an American plug into the current carrying contacts, as is demonstrated here.  If this were done with an appliance with an earthed case, then the whole case would become live!

F8E449ea_earthpins

Apart from the Europlug pins shown at the top of this page, the only other pins provided are US pins, as shown left. 

The US pins are provided with the ability to rotate so that they fit into an Australian socket, however Australia and New Zealand require that all plug pins are partially insulated, so the adaptor was not legal there either!

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