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Continnental plug for appliance bought in Ireland

Discussion in 'Electrics Outside of the UK' started by joaojeronimo, 8 Jan 2011.

  1. joaojeronimo


    8 Jan 2011
    Thanks Received:
    United Kingdom

    I have a kitchen electric appliance (grilling machine) bought in Ireland, but I live in Portugal. I've been using an adapter to connect the appliance, but the original plug is not performing very well, because it doesn't make contact with the adapter very well.

    Thus, I want to wire a continental plug to it instead. Is this safe?
    Continental plugs don't care about which wire is neutral and which is live (do irish appliances rely on the determinism of UK plugs?).
    Also, they don't have any fuse. I guess that because of this, continental appliances already include a fuse inside them, whereas UK and irish appliances parhaps don't have one.

    Is this safe?
    Thanks in advance.

    PS: The brand of the grilling machine is Salton.

  2. plugwash


    28 Mar 2004
    Thanks Received:
    United Kingdom
    If it's a modern applicance it shoudl be fine.

    I don't think i've ever heard of a portable appliance which had a problem with live and neutral being reversed.

    While I think the british fused plug is a safer system the fact is that the primary purpose of a plug fuse it to protect the flex and flex specs are exactly the same as on the continet so I wouldn't expect it to be any less safe than an appliance sold in portugal.

    I would always preffer changing the plug over using an adaptor, particulally for heavy loads like a grill.
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  4. mikerodent


    6 Jan 2011
    Thanks Received:
    United Kingdom
    Hi Jo.

    It all depends on your house wiring.
    Are you on 220v, or Both, with 110v lights and 220v appliances.

    If you are on 220v only, you must NOT reverse the wires, as it is not allowed to have the appliance on/ off swich in the Neutral line.

    If you are on a combined 110v /220v supply, then you will have two
    110v live wires to the appliance, and it is not possible to have the choice.

    Welcome to the Eurozone.

  5. solair


    22 Jan 2007
    Thanks Received:
    United Kingdom
    It's perfectly OK to change the Irish plug for a continental 16amp plug. The appliance will be as safe as any other appliance sold in Portugal.

    There are absolutely no technical differences between appliances sold in Ireland (or Britain) and Continental Europe, other than the plug. The voltage and frequency is standard across Europe 230V 50Hz and the same harmonised standards of manufacture and safety apply.

    The fused plug used in Ireland (and Britain) is required because we allow sockets to be wired on 20Amp radials and 32A rings. These can deliver far more power than an appliance cable could safely handle in a fault situation. So, to avoid fire risks, all plugs are required to be fused.

    In Portugal (or in any other EU country) your sockets are connected to a 16A radial circuit protected by a 16A breaker or fuse. In the event of a fault, this will blow and the appliances can generally survive a fault like this without fire risk.

    The Irish/UK system will arguably give a little bit of extra protection, but not much. In fact, in most cases, circuit breakers will pick up a short circuit far more quickly than a plug's fuse. E.g. I've seen 20A breakers trip much faster than a 13A plug fuse will blow.

    The polarity of the plugs is a non-issue. It's required in the UK and Ireland, but appliances sold in the EU are all designed to work with non-polarised supplies.

    Normal precautions apply when you are using non-polarised plugs i.e. unplug appliances before maintenance and do not stick a fork in the toaster as the elements could be live, even if the switch is off on the appliance. This applies as much to locally sold appliances in Portugal as it does to Irish appliances used there. Also, it's advisable to always follow that advice, even if you think you know that the polarity is correct e.g. in Ireland, the UK etc.

    Also, most houses in all countries in Europe have 30mA RCDs fitted across all the sockets, these days so the risk of legal electric shock is very small indeed.

    If the appliance has an earth, just make sure you use a Schuko plug (with an earthing strip on the side).

    One of these: [​IMG]

    But, in general, it will operate exactly like and to the same safety norms as any appliance sold in Portugal once you change the plug.
    The Irish/British system just has that tiny little advantage of fused plugs and polarised connections, but it's largely of very little benefit to be quite honest. The schuko system is very safe too.

    Using a heavy grilling appliance with a travel adaptor is a very bad idea. Most of those adaptors are only designed for short term use with light appliances e.g. laptop computers, maybe a hairdryer etc but, they're often poorly made and sometimes don't comply with any particular standard.

    Definitely change the plug!!
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
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