Proposal to improve the 3 pin plug.

 Posted by on October 28, 2009  Add comments
Oct 282009
Three pin plug replacement prototype

Three pin plug replacement prototype

Have you ever had a  charger stick in your rib in an inside pocket? Or tear a hole into your favourite book if you carry a laptop or camera bag? Or if,  like me, you use a rucksack to carry both around together nearly all of the time, then you already know the curse of the three pin plug.

Sometimes the simple solutions are the best. I have imported electronic gear across the Atlantic on a few occasions and even though  battery chargers and other similar items often have a 100v-240v rating on the back, I have had to purchase a transformer like THIS ONE from Maplins.

The North American version of a wall plug is a tidy thing.  Voltage adaptors often have the two pins built-in, and if you bring a new camera, pocket computer, iPaq or any other kind of electronic implement across the Atlantic, you’re struck by the simple elegance of the North american two-pin system compared to ours.

Here on this western tail end of Europe we have a bulky lump of plastic with three metal prongs that seem to inevitably poke holes in your camera bag or in one instance a  laptop screen causing a very expensive repair.

Tonight while “Stumbling ” again, I came across the site of Min-Kyu Choi, a student in the Royal College of Art, London who had a design for a fabulous folding three pin plug prototype which not only is able to be folded almost completely flat removing the “Sticky-out” bits, but reduces the thickness of the obnoxious plastic lump to about 1 cm flat on the end of a cable.

Have a look at the video and also at the proposal for a new angle on the three-way adaptor.

If these things start going into production any time soon, you won’t see anyone cutting plugs off cables any quicker than me.

  13 Responses to “Proposal to improve the 3 pin plug.”

Comments (11) Pingbacks (2)

    I fucking like it!

    As for Maplins, I had to deal with ‘The Teenager’ who works there today!
    Holy Mother of Danus!
    “Duh” would have been an ‘A+’ in English for the wee lad!
    I wasn’t exactly sure of what I was looking for, but I wasn’t working there!
    I swear to a deity, he could not express himself in more than one syllable at a time, that being the aforementioned ‘Duh’!

    I can just imagine, “A folding plug, Duh”!


    I thought these guys had a good handle on the problem too–from the other side.


    Excellent invention.


    One of your best posts to date.


    Funnily enough Just read this today on why plugs and voltages around the world are so diverse. i live in North America and prefer the 3 pin plug. It’s good and solid and stays in it’s socket. Not like these two prong plugs that keep slipping out from walls. The inbuilt fuse is a nice way of protecting your appliances from power spikes too.


    Excellent little gadget, could be years before we see it on the shelves though.


    I like. Have you a price?


    Nice looking but looks some bit awkward to wire up yourself if your doing a job at home, plus the contacts look to be all plastic, i assume that if it makes it into production that they’ll be plated.

    Would be super for travelling all right, saves having to face the plug the right way in the bag while walking with a backpack and having the plug stab you in the kidneys every second step isn’t nice at all.


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    Battery chargers that are branded are the best, do not buy those chargers that have no brand and made in China. .^ blog site

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