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Thread: Why can't we have a common AC plug size?

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    They cost less when made that way. Moving the transformer/power supply out of the main chassis means that instead of a universal supply, a manufacturer can make lower cost power supplies targeted for each market, and use the exact same main chassis for everyone. Market specific power supplies cost less than universal supplies, but does complicate inventory control for the manufacturer a bit. Removing the extra length of cable also saves a few cents, which is why many power supplies don't have a regular cable to connect to the mains outlet. I once worked on a product where the cost of our fancy universal supply was equal to 1/2 the cost of a competitors entire product. Our manufacturing group only needed to stock one part number, but....

    You can vote with your money, but I think that very few people make buying decisions based on type of AC connection that a product has.

    Mike Willegal

    Quote Originally Posted by falter View Post
    This has been driving me nuts for years. Manufacturers all know the standard spacing of North American AC receptacles and typical power bars. Yet they insist on making these HUGE plugs where the plug blades are directly attached to the transformer box, which means often at best you can only fit a couple of them onto a power bar. I don't understand why they insist on doing this when it's so obvious that it makes everyone else's life difficult. I understand why the transformers are often on the line cord itself -- esp. with LCD monitors where you want to make them sleek and thin. What I don't understand is why they don't design them all with pigtails so that you're not having to play a low intensity version of tetris to get everything plugged in. And they all choose different angles - some will turn the transformer 90 degrees from the plug blades to make it (somewhat) easier to wedge in there, but usually they manage to end up with something that just makes it impossible to plug in other stuff nearby. Is there a good reason why they insist on doing this kind of in 2018?

  2. #22


    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    I never really worried about the "warts" with transformers inside--they usually have some sort of thermal fuse in the primary, though I don't know if the Chinese stuff bothers with that. But more and more, you get the little switching supplies in them--and I don't have a lot of confidence in their approach to fire safety.

    Am I being excessively paranoid?
    Usually the primary wire going from the plug to the transformer is suppose to blow. It is not really a fuse but if done right still passes UL test. I've had to reattach wires when I've had diode failures.
    The thing I find is a fire hazard ( seen two fires started because of them ) is the MOV surge protectors in plastic socket strips. When they degrade, they just start drawing more and more current. Not enough to pop the 15 amp breaker on the strip but enough to melt the plastic and catch it on fire. I read the specs on plastic strips carefully. Any mention of any kind of protector and I don't buy them. Of course, I don't live in the mid-west. If I did I'd use metal strips and mount them on a large piece of aluminum to separate them from anything combustible. Let me see, 15 amps at 120V, that would be 1800Watts max, in the power strip.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Pacific Northwest, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwight Elvey View Post
    Usually the primary wire going from the plug to the transformer is suppose to blow. It is not really a fuse but if done right still passes UL test.
    Three little words. Should I trust a Chinese wart with no UL labeling?


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