Energize Multi-plug adaptors pose a danger to consumers
- Advertisment -

Multi-plug adaptors pose a danger to consumers

- Advertisment -

Information from the South African Bureau of Standards  –  

The increased use of devices and appliances has resulted in the increased use of multi-plug adaptors as well as adaptors-on-adaptors in South Africa. This creates a risk of fires, short circuiting and damage or malfunction of appliances.

The South African National Standard (SANS) 164-0 covers the specific requirements for plugs, sockets and adaptors and will lead to a new range of plugs and sockets in South Africa. The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) demonstrated the new range of plugs and sockets in a virtual media briefing held recently.

Figure 1: Examples of the new electrical sockets.

“With the array of appliances and devices that have become commonplace in today’s world, it is critical to ensure that the plugs and sockets are also changing to accommodate the more compact designs of plugs. New homes and offices should be fitted with the sockets according to the latest revision of SANS 164-0 and the different parts. We need to be aware of the improved switching arrangements of switched socket-outlets, the inclusion of the SANS 164-2, compact design for 16A plugs and most importantly the warnings that advises consumers not to use multiple adaptors, plugged into one another,” says Jodi Scholtz, the lead administrator of SABS.

“SANS 164-0 covers the general requirements for plugs and socket-outlets and is considered the base document for all the plugs and socket-outlets systems in South Africa. Every new building should have these new SANS 164-2 type of sockets and all appliances should be fitted with the new plugs. South Africa has been lagging with the implementation of these global changes and the continued use of adaptors onto adaptors will just lead to more dangerous electricity usage and malfunctioning of appliances,” warns Gianfranco Campetti, the chairperson of the technical committee responsible for the development of SANS 164 series of standards.

Campetti explains that since the 1900s British standards have guided South African installations and appliances. In the 1960s British standards for plugs and socket-outlets introduced a “flat pin” design, not adopted by South Africa, which continued to use the large round pin (SANS 164-1) design, still in use today. Since then there have been 21 different types of plugs introduced, of various configurations and ratings. Most buildings still contain the traditional large three-pin sockets and this has led to an increased use of adaptors. The revisions to the standard, published in July 2020 incorporates changes in technology covered in SANS 60884-1: Plugs and socket-outlets for household and similar purposes. SANS 60884-1 is an adoption of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 60884-1 standard which also covers the general requirements for plugs and socket-outlets.

New socket installations

In the last few years, various iterations of the new design have been available on the market, which accommodate the following type of plugs:

  • Three-pin plugs (old type)
  • Compact three-pin plugs
  • USB outlets
  • Switches

Some of the sockets for the compact three-pin will indicate whether it can accommodate a rewireable plug or not are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Labels indicating whether it can accommodate a rewireable plug or not.

Warning signs will appear on adaptors to prevent the use of multiple adaptors plugged into one another, thus avoiding the risk of electricity hazards due to overloading and poor connections.

Summary of the amendments in SANS 164-0

Reducing the minimum clearance of an adaptor body to socket-outlet surface to 8,0 mm from 12,0 mm.

Introducing the symbol for adaptors not permitted to be plugged in one another in order to avoid straining the socket-outlet. This was due to a safety risk to the consumer as the straining of the socket-outlet can cause a short-circuit between the neutral and live pins. This symbol has to be embossed on the adaptor to warn consumers on the danger of plugging adaptors from one another.

Examples are provided to show how multiple switched socket-outlets for fixed installation should be switched.

Since 2018 the wiring code (SANS 10142-1) requires socket-outlets in electrical installations to be of the SANS 164-2, at every socket outlet point, however other configurations (such as SANS 164-1) may also be installed onto the same outlet.

The changes in SANS 164-0 are generic to all the SANS 164 series of standards namely Part 1 to Part 6. This means that SANS 164 series of plugs and socket-outlets have to comply with SANS 164-0.

The SANS 164 series falls under SABS Technical Committee (TC) 067 Sub-committee (SC) 03 – Electricity distribution systems and components: Electrical accessories. The scope of the TC covers standards for electrical accessories such as switches, plugs and socket-outlets, home automation devices, connectors, adaptors, couplers, cords extension sets and conduits (cable management systems) for use in household and similar low-voltage applications.

The TC067 SC03 consists of representatives from associations, manufacturers, regulators, power utility, testing laboratories, government departments and academic institutions. Should any member of the public be interested in joining the SC, they are welcome to submit their interest via www.sabs.co.za.

Impact to the industry

The construction industry, electrical contractors and households needs to be aware of the amended requirements for South Africa. It is expected that new buildings will need to comply with the new standards within the time frame listed in the wiring code.

Contact Roshelle Pillay, SABS, Tel 061 030-0133, roshelle.pillay@sabs.co.za



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles

Multi-plug adaptors pose a danger to consumers

Information from the South African Bureau of Standards  -   The increased use of devices and appliances has resulted in the increased use of multi-plug adaptors...

Now you can “see” sound and locate the invisible threat

Fluke’s new ii910 Precision Acoustic Imager detects corona, partial discharge and gas, steam and compressed air leaks which can hurt both production uptime and...

Massive improvement in replacement hours at major mining company

Cummins Filtration has supported one of South Africa’s largest mining companies in undergoing a comprehensive trial study to extend the service intervals for automotive...

Multi-channel approach improves remote employee, customer experiences

by Dharshan Naidoo, Infobip Africa As the Covid-19 pandemic irrevocably redefined the way we communicate and work, remote working and mobile workforces have become central...

Bokamoso Solar Park helps meet demand, reducing risk of load shedding

The 78 MW Bokamoso Solar Park situated near Leeudoringstad in the North West Province, has reached full grid code compliance, commenced commercial operations, and...

Independent transmission system “essential” to end load shedding

by Roger Lilley, Now Media  -   To overcome the scourge of load shedding, two components are urgently needed: more generating capacity and an improved and...

Drivers improving the business case for solar power

Information from IM Power  -   Covid-19 has presented businesses with the opportunity to re-evaluate both their operational models and costs. Proactive organisations found themselves navigating...

Temperature monitor and controller saves municipality money

Instrotech recently supplied its DPM4003 and DPM3001M (low- and high-alarm relay output) temperature indicators to Levivi22 Engineering and Projects, the company contracted by Tshwane...

Undertaking wall thickness testing at Tutuka

During the lockdown in June, rope-access specialist Skyriders undertook an inspection of pulverised fuel (PF) piping at Tutuka power station near Standerton in Mpumalanga...

Rentable solar power now available

Aggreko, a leading provider of mobile, modular power, temperature control and energy services, today announces the immediate availability of its solar power rental offer....

EU solar power association signs cooperation agreement with SAPVIA

SolarPower Europe and the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen cooperation and explore new business...

First BW4 wind farm celebrates commencement of commercial operations

South Africa’s first bid window four (BW4) wind farm, part of government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), has announced its Commercial...

Maintaining backup battery systems for maximum usage and reliability

Information from Fluke  -   Most backup power systems use an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) and a string of batteries. The UPS backs up the digital...

Renewable energy company offers bursaries for tertiary education

Globeleq, a leading independent power producer operating in Africa, is offering bursaries for tertiary education. The Globeleq Scholarship Fund aims to develop skills needed...

SA’s Risk Mitigation tender and what it means for energy storage, renewables and gas

by Andy Colthorpe, Energy-Storage news  -   South Africa’s Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy is conducting a fairly unique procurement programme for 2 GW of...
- Advertisement -