Wiring a plug is an essential life skill but it is also extremely dangerous if you get it wrong. The main electricity supply in the UK is around 230 volts and is capable of killing if not used properly. The plug and cable that are attached to everyday electric appliances are not dangerous, it is the wires within them, and if these wires become exposed then you could be in great danger.
In order to wire a plug you have to recognise each of the features and know their purpose. Inside the cable there is either two or three wires; each of the wires is covered in a coloured plastic and within this is copper – a good conductor of electricity. Inside the cable the wires are colour coded for safety; the blue wire is neutral, the brown wire is live and the yellow and green wire is earth.
Within a plug each of the wires has a specific place and it’s really easy to remember where each one goes, all you have to do is think about the second letter in the words blue, brown and striped. With this notion in mind you’ll be able to remember that the blue wire goes to the left, the brown wire to the right and the striped wire at the top.
The case of a plug is also made for safety; it is made of plastic which is an insulator of electric. There is also a fuse between the liv wire and the pin; this is in case to much electricity flows through, in which case the electrics would be tripped.
There are many safety features within electric plugs and they all come into play when electricity is flowing through. To start with there is a circuit breaker that does the same job as the fuse but is a safety net if the fuse fails, just like the fuse is a safety net if the circuit breaker fails. Both of them break the circuit of electricity that is flowing if too much current is trying to flow through.
If the electrics are tripped due to the fuse then it’ll probably need replacing, as when the fuse is blown it is because too much electricity is flowing through the circuit; this causes the wire inside the fuse to heat up and melt, when it snaps the electrics are blown. Although it sounds like a complicated process fuses are actually really easy to replace; you’ll have to undo the plastic casing on the plug first then all you have to do is pop it out of the spring loaded holder. They’re also really cheap to replace and they can be bought from just about anywhere – even your local supermarket – make sure you replace it with the correct fuse otherwise you could be going through the whole process again.
This article was written by Simon Smith; a cable accessories specialist, on behalf of www.repl.com.