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Moving back to UK - Can I change plugs?

(23 Posts)
PouletDePrintemps Thu 21-Jan-16 12:02:47

We are moving back to the UK from the Netherlands. We have quite a few electrical items I prefer not to have to replace.

Most items have the round plug with 2 pins in the centre but we also have some lights which are only a bar with 2 pins (I think fairly sure there is no earth wire in these but not sure about the round plugs).

Can I just cut off the european plugs and replace them with UK plugs or would that be dangerous?

If it is possible, where can I check what fuses I should use ?

If it is not possible how safe is it to use adaptors long term on items like a TV or playstation or even a kettle or iron?

specialsubject Thu 21-Jan-16 12:19:51

both solutions are fine, but if you are returning for good, change the plugs. (obviously given that you know how to do it!) Voltage and frequency are standardised through the EU.

mono3 Thu 21-Jan-16 12:25:40

When we moved back to uk we just cut old plugs off and rewired on uk plugs. Check the rating plate on your appliance for the power. Anything under ~ 700 W will need a 3A fuse, over that will need a 13 A fuse.

Parietal Thu 21-Jan-16 12:26:03

adaptors are fine on things like TV or playstation. be more careful with things like kettle or iron (anything that gets hot) because these use more power. as they are pretty cheap, I'd just buy new (and sell the old ones on ebay if you want).

PouletDePrintemps Thu 21-Jan-16 12:26:05

Thanks. So will I be able to see from the current plug what fuse I need?

I haven't changed a plug in years but I do know how. I am old enough to remember when things didn't come with a plug attached grin

PouletDePrintemps Thu 21-Jan-16 12:31:21


Thanks for the info about checking the rating plate.

So no adaptor for the iron or kettle but changing the plug should be ok as long as I use a 13A fuse.

Sallyingforth Thu 21-Jan-16 12:39:35

So no adaptor for the iron or kettle but changing the plug should be ok as long as I use a 13A fuse.

Yes. Providing you are certain about which wire goes to which pin.

PigletJohn Fri 22-Jan-16 00:10:14

if you have a number of items with two-pin plugs, it is important that all your sockets are RCD-protected. A recent build will be, a reasonably modern house can have RCBOs fitted on the socket circuits at reasonable cost by a qualified electrician.

Electrical sockets often have single-pole switching (i.e. they turn off only the Live wire and leave the Neutral connected. Appliances with two-pin sockets may have no way of determining polarity. I will have to think about the significance of this with your appliances. For example I see that leading brands like MK, Crabtree and MEM offer DP switched sockets, but budget brands like BG and Marbo offer SP. There might be other ranges in the same brand that are different.

Appliances with the wonderful BS1363 plug should always have the L wire (usually brown) connected to the L pin, and fused. 2-pin plugs don't work that way, because they usually fit either way up. I don't know if you will find a brown and a blue wire in your flex, or if it will matter, because it doesn't usually come up.

You can buy plugs and cartridge fuses in quantity here. The tough plugs are unlikely to crack if dropped on, for example, a concrete or tiled floor. I am suspicious of budget-priced plugs. You do not need, and should not use, "covers" or "blanks" as they interfere with the safety shutters in our wonderful BS1363 sockets

you can calculate the Amperage of fuse required by dividing the Watts of the appliance by 240 (UK is actually on 240volts so your kettle will boil slightly faster than in other parts of Europe).

So 3000W (3kW) is 3000/240=12.5 so use a 13A (brown) fuse

A 20W table lamp is 20/240=0.08 but a 3A (red) fuse is the nearest in common use.

3A, 5A and 13A are the only ones generally used. A TV might be 5A (black). Plugs are often made with a little window so you can turn them over and see the colour of the cartridge without unscrewing the plug.

EarSlaps Fri 22-Jan-16 00:18:24

I changed a lot of our plugs after returning from Australia. Just make sure you know which wire goes where and get the correct amp fuse.

Another thing which helped was bringing back Australian multi plug extension leads so I could plug four things in with one adapter. Only for lower power items though.

PouletDePrintemps Fri 22-Jan-16 09:39:18

Thanks, that's really helpful.

I think I am going to replace the high power items like the iron and kettle and use a european multi plug extension for things like the tv and playstation.

That only really leaves the vacuum cleaner and a couple of lights as we are not taking white goods.

MashaMisha Fri 22-Jan-16 09:46:35

We are moving back soon too - we are taking white goods.

I was thinking of asking an electrician to change the plugs "properly" rather than do it myself.

We have been plugging in things like DVD player, laptops, lamps etc with UK plugs using adaptors quite happily for the few years we have been here, with no problems.

Sallyingforth Fri 22-Jan-16 10:49:02

Appliances with two-pin sockets may have no way of determining polarity. I will have to think about the significance of this with your appliances.

If you mean appliances with two-pin reversible PLUGS, they will be capable of operating with 'live' on either pin. So the single or double pole switching is rather academic.
That is of course assuming the appliance is double-insulated to EU standards and has the correct EU approval marking.

PouletDePrintemps Fri 22-Jan-16 12:33:01

That is a good idea to get an electrician to do it. MashaMisha

I am actually wondering if the best thing to do is to change the plug on the end of a couple of european multi sockets and then to plug everything else into them. (TV, PS, sound system, computer and maybe a light would be all)

Other than that it is only the vacuum. What is the best way forward with that? Change the plug or use with an adaptor?

Sallyingforth by reversible plugs do you mean the thin rectangular ones as opposed to the more substantial round ones which also have a hole for what I assume is the earth that is part of the wall socket. (Sorry my description is terrible and I can't think how to describe it).

MashaMisha Fri 22-Jan-16 13:54:07

You actually prompted me to look into this more. I phoned the manufacturer of our tumble drier, and he said that they recommended not changing the plugs, but instead using an adapter. A travel adaptor is no good though- it has to be one where the EU plug is fixed into it permanently, using a screw.

I think this is what I need - [ adaptor]] They seem pretty cheap.

Not sure if anyone more qualified than me has any thoughts about whether they would be suitable.

MashaMisha Fri 22-Jan-16 13:54:47

Sorry, messed up the link

Ruhrpott Fri 22-Jan-16 13:56:03

We moved a few years ago back to the uk. I bought a load of fused good quality adaptors from Amazon. We haven't changed any plugs though we did buy a uk kettle and Hoover. We have also put uk plugs on European extension cables and used those. It's amazing how many things you have with plugs on! We still always have too few adaptors and the kids are always pinching mine.

Ruhrpott Fri 22-Jan-16 14:00:24

We have ones like these

PouletDePrintemps Fri 22-Jan-16 14:08:24

Those adaptors look good MashaMisha

And yy to loads of things with plugs on Ruhrpott. I totted up the cost of replacing them all and ruled that out pretty quickly.

PigletJohn Fri 22-Jan-16 14:14:01

The Euronet advert claims the product is BSI approved. If true, this is impressive.

I am hesitant to believe it, but if it has a kitemark and licence number, it can be verified on the BSI website.

Unlike CE marks, the kitemark is not an untested manufacturer's claim, but is awarded after test.

Sallyingforth Fri 22-Jan-16 15:10:03

Poulet I mean any plug that can be turned 180 degrees and inserted that way.

Of course, if the standard 13 amp socket has a switch and has been correctly wired, switching it off will always remove the 'live' connection regardless of the connected device or adaptors.

I personally dislike unswitched sockets for the very reason that any plugged-in appliance has both live and neutral wires inside it and physical damage could cause electrocution or a fire even when it's not being used. That's particularly dangerous around inquisitive children.

Manopaws Sat 23-Jan-16 05:04:34

Round plugs don't have fuses in them so you will need to either fit a 3a (small things) or 13a ( toaster / Kettle ETC) Fuse apart from that simple.

Chasingsquirrels Sat 23-Jan-16 09:01:13

My pc, screen and printer are still (16 years after we returned) plugged into a surge protected multi-extention cable on which I changed the plug to a UK one.

Obviously not the same pc, screen and printer but the same power cables to them.

SavoyCabbage Sat 23-Jan-16 09:13:42

We just did all of ours. Once you know how to do it and understand fuses it's not a big job. Especially when compared to emigrating in general!

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