Museum of Plugs and Sockets logo, small Multi-standard
sockets
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The museum defines multi-standard sockets as devices that can be used for more than one type of plug*. Such sockets make sense in countries that have adopted more than one standard, but there are more reasons for offering combinations of outlets.

* a strict definition of 'multi-standard' would also include French, Schuko, Israeli, Swiss, Danish and Italian sockets that also accept Europlugs, or NEMA 5-20R socketssuitable for both 5-15 and 5-20 plugs. These combinations are not included in the survey below.

 

Socket for type A, B and C plugs

       

Argentinian C+I type socket

Peruvian A+C socket Multi-standard socket Connector for type C, J and L plugs

1 Probably the most well-known type of multi-standard sockets that can be found in all corners of the world. Left outlet for 115V shavers with flat blades and round pins. Slightly oval slots at right are meant for 230V shavers with Europlug and British shavers that have a BS 4573 plug. There exists variants, for example allowing the use of Australasian plugs.
2 Italian VIMAR Universale socket, with two figure of eight shaped slots for 10A and 16A Italian plugs, earth clips for Schuko plugs and slots for 2-pole 15A flat blade plugs (but connected to the same 230V circuit as the Italian and Schuko outlets). With respect to flat blade plugs it has to be noted that only plugs with a total width of 3 cm or less can be inserted. The Schuko earth clips obstruct larger plugs. The abbreviations I and D refer respectively to Italy (CEI 23-30) and Deutschland/Germany (Schuko).
3 Multi-standard socket are commonly found in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Accepts (non-) earthed 15A flat blade plugs (220V) and Europlugs. This example has been bought in Vietnam.
4 Chinese socket for flat blade plugs (220V), Europlugs and Australasian plugs*, the most commonly used plugs in China (PRC).
* Chinese GB 2099-1 standard on plugs and socket-outlets for household and similar purposes.
5 Argentinian socket suitable for plugs with angled power pins (IRAM 2073 standard) and Europlugs. Australian and New Zealand standard plugs can be used in Argentina, vice versa. However, wiring in Argentina differs from AU and NZ. The line and neutral poles are reversed. The multi-standard socket is rated for 10A, 250V.   {AvS}
6 Peruvian socket which has separate slots for flat blade (NEMA 1-15P plugs; green arrows) and round pin Europlugs (blue arrows).
A copper strip connects both line poles and ditto for the neutral poles. It is therefore not possible to wire the two types of outlets individually for respectively 120V and 220-240 Volt
  {PO}
7 10A socket, manufactured by T&J Electric (Singapore); complies with Thai Industrial Standard TIS 824-2531.
Suitable for the following plug standards: NEMA (North America), AS/NZS 3112 (Australasian), BS 546. BS 1363 (only 5A), CEE 7/4* (Schuko), CEE 7/6-7/7* (French), CEE 7/16 (Europlug), CEE 7/17, SI 32 (Israeli) and
TIS 166-2549.
* no earthing, only power pins (N and L) make contact.   {DC}


Serious warning
In theory this type of universal socket may look convenient, but in practice they are unsafe. Important shortcomings are among others: (1) no possibility to differentiate between voltages, (2) there might be a polarity conflict because of differences between standards, (3) there is a serious risk of touching line parts, (4) poor contacts and insufficient mechanical stability.
Safety issues are explained in detail on http://www.universalsocket.org.uk  a recommended site !
 
8 Multi-standard connector that can be used for type Europlugs, and 10A 3-pin Swiss, IEC 60906-1 and Italian plugs. However, the connector does not provide for an earth connection, because the central hole lacks contact strips. Two rates are indicated: 10A and 16A-250V. Brand name: ABL SURSUM (Germany).

note

Multi-socket nos. 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 have slots for North American and Japanese 15A flat blade plugs, but the outlets do not offer 100-120V, 60Hz.
Only devices that can handle 100-240V and 50-60Hz - for example most chargers for cell phone, tablets or digital camera batteries - can be used safely. A transformer is needed for other 100-120V equipment.
Note also that polarized NEMA 1-15P plugs that have a wider neutral pin than line pin (see NEMA standards) cannot be used in any of the multi-sockets shown above.

 


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