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Which side of an electrical outlet should be Neutral?

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Which side of an electrical outlet should be Neutral?

Postby rickfarang » February 2, 2011, 5:30 pm

Everywhere I look, the if you look at a three pronged outlet with the ground connection pointing down,the slot on the left is Neutral. Everywhere. Everywhere except for some outlets I bought from Global recently. On them the slot on the left is marked "L" and the slot on the right is marked "R". And both slots are the same size.

My house was wired such that the slot to the left of the ground connection is Neutral.

Since this involves safety, and I don't believe one should dismiss off such matters without understanding them, I ask whether anybody can explain the apparent swap on the new outlets.

An image depicting the connector with Neutral on the left can be seen at the URL below;
http://img14.imageshack.us/i/1111wim.jpg/

Thank you in advance.
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Re: Which side of an electrical outlet should be Neutral?

Postby Bandung_Dero » February 2, 2011, 8:18 pm

Looking at the socket Active (Line) should be on the left Neutral on the right and Earth below. That applies to most of SE Asia including Aust and NZ. BUT in saying that Thailands power system is so fu#ked up anything could apply.

I installed double poled circuit breakers in my home because at the time Neutral was floating at 50 VAC above ground. We do not have a MEN system here (Multiple Earth Neutral). I placed my Actives (line) on the left so at least I would not be confused, all my GPO's have a strong Earth and RCD protection.

http://www.accesscomms.com.au/reference/powerplug.htm
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Re: Which side of an electrical outlet should be Neutral?

Postby rickfarang » February 2, 2011, 10:08 pm

Its only more puzzling now. Is Australia different from much of the world? Maybe I some Australian outlets. See: Puzzling :)
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Re: Which side of an electrical outlet should be Neutral?

Postby Alchai » February 3, 2011, 1:31 am

rickfarang wrote:Everywhere I look, the if you look at a three pronged outlet with the ground connection pointing down,the slot on the left is Neutral. Everywhere. Everywhere except for some outlets I bought from Global recently. On them the slot on the left is marked "L" and the slot on the right is marked "R". And both slots are the same size.

My house was wired such that the slot to the left of the ground connection is Neutral.

Since this involves safety, and I don't believe one should dismiss off such matters without understanding them, I ask whether anybody can explain the apparent swap on the new outlets.

An image depicting the connector with Neutral on the left can be seen at the URL below;
http://img14.imageshack.us/i/1111wim.jpg/

Thank you in advance.


As you are dealing with AC (alternated current) here it is not important how live and neutral are connected. However, you must not connect earth to any of these!
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Re: Which side of an electrical outlet should be Neutral?

Postby Bandung_Dero » February 3, 2011, 5:07 am

It's basically a nightmare see this site, covers most of the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_power_plugs_and_sockets
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Re: Which side of an electrical outlet should be Neutral?

Postby fdimike » February 3, 2011, 7:40 am

Alchai

The location of neutral and positive are important when using a light bulb or appliance etc. See below:

PolarizationPolarized plugs and sockets are those designed to connect only in one orientation, so the live and neutral conductors of the outlet are connected (respectively) to the live and neutral poles of the appliance. Polarization is maintained by the shape, size, or position of plug pins and socket holes to ensure that a plug fits only one way into a socket. The switch of the appliance is then put in the live wire. If the neutral wire were interrupted instead, the device would be deactivated but its internal wiring would still be live. This is a shock hazard; if the energized parts are touched, current travels to earth through the body. Devices that especially present this hazard include toasters and other appliances with exposed heating elements, which with reversed polarity can remain live even when they are cool to the touch. Screw-in light bulbs with reversed polarity may have exposed portions of the socket still energized even though the lamp is switched off. Transposition of the live and neutral wires in the wiring to sockets defeats the safety purpose of polarized sockets and plugs; a circuit tester can be used to detect swapped wires.

Unpolarized plugs and sockets are those which can connect either way around, so live and neutral wires are connected arbitrarily. Unpolarized plug/socket systems such as the Europlug rely on device construction requirements to avoid the shock hazards created by interchange of live and neutral connections
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Re: Which side of an electrical outlet should be Neutral?

Postby FrazeeDK » February 3, 2011, 7:17 pm

3 prong polarization testers are available.. You plug it into a standard 3 prong outlet and the lights on it show you if the socket is wired "backwards".. After having our place built I found over half the sockets "backwards" and had an electrician correct them.. A few years later I wondered if having light outlets, fans, or AC units wired "backwards" would effect performance of bulb life.. When I replaced quickly burned out incadescent bulbs with more modern screw in fluorescents, my burn-out rate when done significantly...
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Re: Which side of an electrical outlet should be Neutral?

Postby Alchai » February 4, 2011, 6:01 pm

fdimike wrote:Alchai

The location of neutral and positive are important when using a light bulb or appliance etc. See below:

PolarizationPolarized plugs and sockets are those designed to connect only in one orientation, so the live and neutral conductors of the outlet are connected (respectively) to the live and neutral poles of the appliance. Polarization is maintained by the shape, size, or position of plug pins and socket holes to ensure that a plug fits only one way into a socket. The switch of the appliance is then put in the live wire. If the neutral wire were interrupted instead, the device would be deactivated but its internal wiring would still be live. This is a shock hazard; if the energized parts are touched, current travels to earth through the body. Devices that especially present this hazard include toasters and other appliances with exposed heating elements, which with reversed polarity can remain live even when they are cool to the touch. Screw-in light bulbs with reversed polarity may have exposed portions of the socket still energized even though the lamp is switched off. Transposition of the live and neutral wires in the wiring to sockets defeats the safety purpose of polarized sockets and plugs; a circuit tester can be used to detect swapped wires.

Unpolarized plugs and sockets are those which can connect either way around, so live and neutral wires are connected arbitrarily. Unpolarized plug/socket systems such as the Europlug rely on device construction requirements to avoid the shock hazards created by interchange of live and neutral connections

fdimike
This text is a copy/paste from Wikipedia. Maybe I have been livig with the idea that all electrical circuits and systems work the same worldwide. As you can see I am only familiar with unpolarized plugs and sockets (Eurosystem). If there is another system used in Thailand I have been unaware of that.
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Re: Which side of an electrical outlet should be Neutral?

Postby fdimike » February 4, 2011, 7:08 pm

I realize it came out of Wikipedia. I simply wanted to point out the reason for polarized electrical systems and this explanation was easy to understand. The electrical code in the US mandates polarized plugs on all appliances, lamps etc for safety reasons just as it mandates a grounded (earthed) electrical plug on all major appliances, computers etc. I would think adding this level of safety would be a good thing here in Thailand considering the poor state of the elctrical system. Safety is just not a part of the Thai vocabulary.
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Re: Which side of an electrical outlet should be Neutral?

Postby Alchai » February 4, 2011, 8:37 pm

So if I want to plug in an electrical appliance, say a lamp, how do I know which way to plug it in to ensure live commects to live and neutral to neutral being a 2 pin plug?
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Re: Which side of an electrical outlet should be Neutral?

Postby fdimike » February 4, 2011, 8:55 pm

If the plug is polarzed it will have 1 blade wider than the other. Assuming the electrical outlet is wired correctly all will be ok as the plug will only go in one way. If both blades of the plug are the same then you can look at the wire. If it is typical 2 part lamp wire then one of the parts will have some printing on it concerning the wire rating. The part with the writing is normally the neutral wire. However, here in Thailand normal may not apply! A better way is to use a volt ohm meter to test continuity.
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Re: Which side of an electrical outlet should be Neutral?

Postby tamada » February 8, 2011, 11:11 am

All this talk of polarised plugs and sockets and polarity testing outlets... in Thailand.... LOL
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Re: Which side of an electrical outlet should be Neutral?

Postby fdimike » February 8, 2011, 11:46 am

Tamada

All this talk as you say is valuable safety related information. You can choose to either implement it or ignore it. I personally value my life enough to spend the few minutes it takes to make sure the electricty in my home is operating correctly.
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Re: Which side of an electrical outlet should be Neutral?

Postby mortiboy » February 19, 2011, 10:47 am

Competent Electrician needed!
Friend here Udon needs a Electrician to sort out his wiring in the loft
He says wires need relaying tidy, and neatly in order. All working OK no faults just a tidy up.
At the moment says in a shamble.
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Re: Which side of an electrical outlet should be Neutral?

Postby hangsaboot » February 19, 2011, 2:46 pm

tamada wrote:All this talk of polarised plugs and sockets and polarity testing outlets... in Thailand.... LOL



a friend of mine was recently , fatally electrocuted while taking a shower
in a hotel in the phillipenes .
the sooner we have electrical safety standards and
competent electricians the better .

many chancers end up in the cemetry . :(
thats a shock for you .
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