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Old 09-19-2014, 11:13 PM   #1
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Incorrect UK Socket Wiring On US Transformer


I live in California (thus have 120V), but have a wiring question which is a bit shocking to me:

I have a relatively new step up and down transformer which has a US socket (output 110-120AC) and a UK socket (220-240AC). Actually, it's a universal socket that looks exactly like the one pictured in the attachment. However, I believe the wiring is incorrect.

To be very clear, in the picture I have marked, for lack of a better word, the electric symbols exactly as it shows on the UK socket that is on the transformer.

L = Live = Brown wire
N = Neutral = Blue wire
E = Earth (Ground) = Green w/Yellow wire

Exceptions I have to be correct for a UK Socket (in respect to my attached picture):

Phase (L) to Neutral (N) should be equal to 240V
Phase (L) to Earth (E) should be 240V
Neutral (N) to Earth (E) should be 0V

However, using a multimeter (and looking at attached pictured and using those symbols as marked on the UK socket) I measured the following from the UK socket on my US step up & down transformer:

L to N = 240V
L to E = 0V
N to E = 240V

Based on the measurements from the Multimeter this would mean:

N = Phase = Live 240V AC wire
L = Neutral
E = Earth

Which is backwards and means the UK socket is miswired and would not match a proper UK plug ! Or do I have something misunderstood?

By the way, what if they are reversed? Does that maybe not matter in the UK? I'm just surprised that my transformer may be wired incorrectly. Either that, or?
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Old 09-19-2014, 11:36 PM   #2
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I suspect you are looking at things 'backwards'

Here is a pic of how a typical UK plug should be wired.

If you rotate the pic 180 deg....then the polarities would be correct

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Old 09-19-2014, 11:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawg16 View Post
I suspect you are looking at things 'backwards'

Here is a pic of how a typical UK plug should be wired.

If you rotate the pic 180 deg....then the polarities would be correct

Thanks for the response, but I am not convinced.

You are correct, if you orient the outlet in your picture with the outlet in my picture, it would match the correct polarities. But, I don't think you are thinking through the measured voltages I have reported that I did with my multimeter.

If you look at what I said, I do believe the symbols marked on my UK outlet as pictured in the pictured I posted is marked CORRECTLY. I don't disagree here.

However, again, looking at my picture and using the symbols as marked on the UK socket, I get the following reading with my multimeter:

L to N = 240V
L to E = 0V
N to E = 240V

This would mean the polarity is reversed on my UK socket, if I understand things correctly.

I believe on proper UK socket I would read:

L to N = 240V
L to E = 240 v
N to E = 0V

If so, that leaves me with a question:

Can a UK socket have reversed polarity and devices would work OK? In other words, does the polarity order really matter? The answer I believe to this question is yes it does matter.

I've never plugged anything into it, but then have something from the UK to plug in. Then decided I better check it first with my multimeter and found out that the UK socket doesn't match the polarity I would expect. I thought I would throw the question out there. I would rather not damage anything. And, I probably should inform the makers of the transformer too (may be dangerous).

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Old 09-20-2014, 12:28 AM   #4
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I really have to stop speed reading these posts.

Sounds like your 'earth' is not 'earth'.

Open it up and find out.
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Old 09-21-2014, 01:24 AM   #5
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[QUOTE=

L to N = 240V
L to E = 0V
N to E = 240V

[/QUOTE]

L to N = Correct.
L to E = Earth is clearly NOT bonded.
N to E = Again not bonded and probably phantom voltage.

No great mystery here !
If you understand electricity.
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Old 09-21-2014, 09:52 AM   #6
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It sounds like the secondary is ungrounded in that one leg isn't bonded to the equipment ground. I wouldn't worry about that. As long as the socket earth is connected to the earth wire from the wall plug giving power to the unit your ok.

Last edited by Jump-start; 09-21-2014 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 09-21-2014, 11:47 AM   #7
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It is a problem if he is measuring at the "socket".
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Old 09-21-2014, 02:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobelectric View Post
It is a problem if he is measuring at the "socket".
In the UK receptacles are called sockets.
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Old 09-21-2014, 04:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jump-start
In the UK receptacles are called sockets.
And the trunk of your car. A "boot"
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Old 09-21-2014, 05:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawg16 View Post

Sounds like your 'earth' is not 'earth'.

Open it up and find out.


Good Idea !

Open up the box and tell us where the wire for the earth pin on the socket/recepticule goes to.

My guess is that it goes nowhere !
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