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The image shows the first six types of power outlets or sockets, respectively A, B, C, D, E and F, used in various countries on different continents, illustrated frontally, rendered embossed, arranged in alphabetical order from left to right, on the row from above as well as the one from below.

The electrical outlet is a device for connecting to the power supply, by inserting a plug-in cable into its holes, so that it can be possible to supply the consumer in use with electricity.

The type A socket, located at the top left, is has the shape of a narrow, horizontal rectangle with two holes, left and right, marked as two small, blank and vertical rectangles.

The type B socket, located at the top, center, is square in shape, with three holes, left, right and above them, in the middle, the latter being for earthing, highlighted as two small rectangles, blank and vertical, the side ones, and like a small, blank circle, the one above them.

The C-type socket, the most popular in Europe, located at the top right, has the shape of a circle with two holes, left and right, rendered as two small, blank circles.

The D-type socket, located at the bottom, left, has the shape of a circle with three holes, left, right and above them, in the middle, the latter being for earthing, highlighted as two small, blank circles, the ones on the side, and like a larger blank circle, the one above them.

The E-type socket, located at the bottom, center, has the shape of a circle with three holes placed in its upper side, left, right and above them, in the middle, the latter being for earthing, highlighted as two small, blank circles, the side ones, and like a blank outlined circle, the one above them.

The F-type socket, similar to C, located at the bottom, right, has the shape of a circle cut on the top and bottom edge, with two popped out ends on the left and right, with two holes, left and right, shown as two small, blank circles.

General information

Worldwide there are many standards, conventions, meaning agreements regarding the types of electric sockets. Sockets differ from one area to another. They can differ in shape, as well as internal structure, or in the way they connect to the electrical network (also known as power grid). In addition, the features of electrical networks are different. The difference between electrical networks can be the voltage, but also the frequency of alternating current (AC). Therefore, we can distinguish electrical networks where the socket voltage is 220, 230 and 110 volts. The standard frequencies are 50, respectively 60 Hertz.

Disclaimer:

Before conveying the features of the most important types of electric sockets, we presently inform you that the data provided below should be taken as a guide only. Although the research for this article was done using sources we deemed as completely reliable, you must always read the socket specifications and power requirements of the appliances you wish to use before plugging them in. By doing so, you will prevent the possible material damage that might occur as a result of charging your apparatus with an incorrect voltage. Tactile Images cannot be held liable for the material loss that might occur as a result of appliance misuse. The information written below is up-to-date in November 2020. Standards and socket types can change in time, therefore Tactile Images does not guarantee, although we do our best, that the present article would be updated as soon as the new specifications for each area are being released. 

Hereunder, the most important types of sockets and voltage for electrical networks according to the main areas around the globe will be presented. It is important to know these facts about sockets because, when travelling somewhere during holidays, we might not be able to use our personal appliances without a plug adapter. It will be a pity to go away from home and find ourselves unable to charge our mobile phones even if we took our charger with us. Moreover, it is important to be informed regarding the various types of sockets when we wish to buy an electric device or appliance from abroad, in order to know if we would need a socket adapter to charge it.

Type A sockets are found in North and Central America, as well as Japan. They are characterized by the fact that they can fit plugs with two pins, similar to those in Europe, but the pins are wider. Moreover, their standard voltage is 110 volts. They are not earthed.

Type B sockets are found in the same areas as type A ones and are characterized by the fact that they can fit plugs with three pins: two wide ones, like type A sockets, and a third pin for earthing. The pins are placed in a U-shaped format. Standard voltage is also 110 volts.

Type C sockets are widely found in Europe, but also in South America and Asia. These are also the sockets commonly seen in Romania. They can fit plugs with two round pins. Their standard voltage is 220 volts. 

Type D sockets are used in India and Nepal. They can fit plugs with three round pins. The earth pin is bigger.

Type E sockets are more special. They are compatible with plugs that have two round pins, but the sockets also have a pin that gets inserted into the plug. That pin ensures the earthing. The voltage is 220 volts and they are found in France, Belgium, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Tunisia. 

Type F sockets are similar to type C ones. The differences between them are minor, therefore the two types of sockets have a high compatibility and do not require an adapter in order to be used.

Type G sockets are found in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta and Singapore. They can fit plugs with three pins: two parallel pins and the earth one is longer.

Type H sockets are commonly used in Israel and they fit plugs with three round pins forming a triangle. Their standard voltage is 220-240 volts.

In China, New Zealand and Argentina, type I sockets are found. Their main characteristic is their ability to fit plugs with two or three pins, the third one is for earthing and it is optional.

In Switzerland and Liechtenstein, type J sockets are used. These are compatible with plugs with three round pins.

Type K sockets are present in Denmark and Greenland. They fit plugs with three round pins placed in a U-shaped format.

In some countries from North Africa, South America, as well as Italy, the type L sockets are used, which can fit plugs with three parallel round pins.

In South Africa, type M sockets are found. They fit plugs with three pins forming a triangle.

Type N sockets are used in Brazil and they fit plugs having three pins.

In Thailand, the sockets used are type O, with three round pins.

Practical Safety Instructions:
As you may have noticed, there are many types of sockets. The problems arise when the sockets have nearly identical shapes, but the voltage is very different. Type C sockets, meaning the ones we also have in Romania, are compatible with many types of plugs, even without an adapter. This is precisely why, when we buy an electronic device or appliance from abroad, we must always check if the voltage from our sockets is the same as the voltage required by the manufacturer of the product we wish to use, according to the specifications written on the box or instruction manual.

Bibliography

  1. https://ro.iwroteyouasong.org/articles/tips/electrical-plug-and-socket-types-by-country.html
  2. https://blog.dertour.ro/general/calatoresti-des-iata-cateva-informatii-utile-despre-adaptoarele-
  3. https://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_power_plugs_and_sockets

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