Why Do Electrical Plugs Have Holes? | Is it Safe to use Prongs
If you disassemble an electric outlet and examine the contact wipers into which the prongs slip, you’ll notice that they have bumps on them. These bumps go into the holes to let the outlet grab the plug’s prongs more firmly. Due to the weight of the plug and cord, this detecting prevents the pin from falling out of the socket. The contact between the plug and the outlet is also improved.
Why Electric Plug have Holes?
A plastic tie or a small padlock that goes through one or both of the prong holes can be used by the manufacturer or owner to “factory-seal” or “lock-out” electrical equipment. This sealing may be required for construction projects or industrial safety standards.
A manufacturer might, for example, thread a plastic band through the hole and attach it to a tag that reads, “You must do blah blah blah before plugging in this gadget.” The user cannot connect to the device without first removing the tag, ensuring that the instructions are seen. The maker of the actual plug prong also saves a little money on raw materials metal. Every little bit contributes!
According to reports, older electric outlets use captive ball bearings and coil springs for the detent, whereas today’s outlets use bump and springy copper contacts.
What does a three-prong plug get its name from?
A three-pronged receptacle is a receptacle with three prongs. In contrast to two-prong containers, three-prong cases are grounded, protecting the electrical equipment plugged into them from damage in the event of a short circuit.
What does a two-prong plug get its name from?
Type-A plugs are two-pronged plugs formerly known as Nema 1-15 plugs and were invented by Harvey Hubbell II. In North and Central America, these ungrounded connectors are rather popular.
What is the positive side of a two-prong plug?
We don’t need prongs with a positive and negative because we use A/C current. Instead, the two prongs have a ‘hot’ and a ‘neutral’ side. The larger prong goes into the neutral wire, while the smaller prong goes into the hot side of the circuit.
So what happens if the third prong breaks?
If one of the prongs or wires inside the device becomes loosened, electricity will not flow as efficiently. This misdirected current can harm equipment or even shock the person because it is no longer grounded.
Let’s start with what an outlet’s holes do. There are two vertical slots and a round hole centered below them on a standard 120-volt outlet in the United States. The slot on the left is slightly larger than the one on the right. The left space is referred to as “neutral,” the right slot as “hot,” and the hole beneath them as “earth.” These slots in the outlet accept the prongs of a plug.
You already know that electricity must flow through a circuit if you’ve read How Batteries Work. Electricity travels from one battery terminal to the other in a battery. Power flows from hot to neutral in a household outlet. The appliance you connect into an outlet completes the circuit from the hot to the neutral slots, and energy flows through it to drive a motor heat coils.
Assume you’ve inserted a light bulb into the outlet. The power will flow from the hot prong to the filament, then back to the neutral prong, resulting in light.
What if you plugged a thick wire strand straight from an outlet’s hot slot to the neutral slot? Unlike an appliance, which can only carry 60 watts (for a light bulb) or 500 watts (for a toaster), the cable could have electricity.
The circuit breaker for the outlet in the breaker box would detect this massive surge and shut off the electricity flow. The circuit breaker keeps the wires in the wall and the outlet itself from overheating and catching fire.
An outlet’s ground and neutral slots are the same things. If you return to the breaker box, you will notice that all of the outlets’ neutral and ground wires terminate in the exact location. They’re all connected to the earth (see How Power Distribution Grids Work for details on grounding). Why do you need both if they both travel to the same place?
You’ll notice that almost every device with a metal cover has a three-prong outlet if you look around your house. This might also include devices with a metal-encased power source, such as your computer, even if the gadget itself is made of plastic. The purpose of grounding is to prevent electric shock in those using metal-encased appliances. The ground prong is directly linked to the casing.
Assume a wire becomes free inside an ungrounded metal case and comes into contact with the metal case. If the free wire is hot, the metal case will also become hot, causing a possibly lethal shock to anyone who touches it. The power from the hot wire travels straight to the ground when the case is grounded, tripping the breaker in the breaker box. The appliance will no longer work, but it will not kill you.
What happens if the ground prong is removed or a cheater plug is used to put a three-prong device into a two-prong outlet?
Nothing, really; the appliance will continue to function. However, you have disabled a crucial safety mechanism that protects you from electric shock if a wire comes loose.
Is it legal and code to have two-prong outlets?
Existing two-prong receptacle outlets are lawful under the National Electrical Code. They can be replaced with another two-prong receptacle if there is no ground connection (where the third prong plugs in).
We use three-prong connectors for a reason.
A three-prong plug is designed to supply energy to electrical gadgets safely. The third prong grounds the power, preventing electric shock for anyone who uses the metal-encased appliance.
Is it possible to remove the third prong?
If you remove the third prong, nothing happens technically. You have, however, turned off a critical safety feature that protects you from electric shock if a wire comes free.
Is it safe to use plug adapters?
No, not in the least. While many individuals utilize ground plug adapters, they are dangerous to you, your house, and whatever you’re plugging in. Using an adapter disables the ground prong’s safety feature, leaving it open to damage.