Posted by Holly
Durham, NC, USA
294 posts

I just bought one yesterday that looks like the one pictured! Does anyone have any further info about its use? I noticed the article is from New Zealand and wonder if the ones sold in the US by CarryOn brand are made differently.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
1727 posts

Perils of cheap electrical gear - many are fakes. The one shown has the CE mark, which presumably is also a fake declaration.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
12967 posts

Remember, these are New Zealand standards, which are apparently more stringent than ours. According to them, not one of the receptacles in our homes here in the US is safe (nor do they meet European standards, because the face is not recessed). But neither do the adapters commonly sold in the US for Europe (such as this one) meet European standards.

"WorkSafe NZ energy safety compliance officer Richard Lamb said the adaptors did not have adequate protection to prevent contact with live parts"

I looked up the receptacle design for New Zealand, and the face is not recessed. The only thing on their receptacles preventing contacet with live parts is a switch so you turn off the receptacle before taking out the plug. Not sure this makes sense. This adapter is apparently to allow appliances from other countries to be plugged into NZ receptacles, but if it's put in a New Zealand receptacle, the receptacle would have the required switch.

Maybe someone from New Zealand can contribute some firsthand knowledge to this discussion.

The only other thing I can think of is that the blades on New Zealand plug have to be insulated up to the tip, so that they disconnect if the plug is pulled out far enough to make contact, and this adapter doesn't have that feature.

As for CE, it's a self-certification and only applies in Europe. Attaching the CE mark only means that you have done your own analysis (including a probability/consequences study) according to their guidelines and found it to be safe. Your analysis is kept in a file in your office and no one from CE will ever see it unless someone is killed or injured. Then you had better have done the analysis correctly.

BTW, many UL approved devices have protection provided by a "polarized plug" (one blade wider than the other). Our US receptacles are polarized, that is, the neutral conductor is attached to the wider blade slot. But European receptacles are not polarized, so any protection is lost. In Europe, protection is provided by what is called "double insulation:" (indicated by a square-in-square symbol). So really, if you are concerned, you should not take devices with polarized plugs to Europe.

This adapter looks like it has shutters to prevent contact with live parts.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
12967 posts

Most computer power supplies today are universal for the world and just have separate cords for the area where they are sold. You can get cords for European use from this website. Then your computer will be completely legal.

I found one for my Acer Aspire netbook, with a molded Schuko plug, for $6.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
12967 posts

I have six of those plugs. They work fine, but they wouldn't pass the New Zealand test (just like our US receptacles wouldn't pass).

It is worth noting that they are true grounding plugs. That is, the round, grounding pin on the US plugs is connected to the ground. In the past I have used two pin Europlugs with the US grounding pin unconnected alongside, but with these adapters, the the grounding pin is connected.

But, they are not suitable for use with polarized plugs because European receptacles are not polarized.

Posted by Marco
Oxford, United Kingdom
1727 posts

CE is a self declaration - but it should be truthful. Sadly there are many counterfeit products available where it is not, simply because the fakers have copied another design including what was a truthful mark.

For electrical adapters the CE mark can be irrelevant - for the UK they should meet BS1363. This amongst other things require the adaptor to be fused and have the socket shuttered.

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
12967 posts

As I said, one solution is to bring a small computer with a charger cord set for that country. Many small electronic devices (ex. cell phones, camera) can be charged from the USB port of such a computer. I found a charger for AA and AAA batteries that plugs into my computer's USB port.

It might also be possible to purchase a USB charger (such as for cell phones) for continental Europe or the UK.

For appliances such as hair dryers, curling irons, etc, buy them over there or, if you can find them, online. In recent years I have found most accommodations in Europe, even the small ones, have hair dryers. If not already in the room, ask at the desk.

Posted by James E.
USA
3251 posts

"one solution is to bring a small computer with a chargerĀ cord setĀ for that country." For all of continental Europe that would be one and the same cord. It's an option I guess. For the h air dryers and curling irons dual voltage versions with the proper plugs are commonly available in the US.