Power Outlets in United Kingdom

hi today we are traveling to United

Kingdom UK is the birthplace of many

great science youtubers such as Tom

Scott dr. Sally LePage Steve mould big

Clive and boy in the band well boy in

the band is not really a science

youtuber but I've learned so many things

watching his videos so and those are

just a few I remember UK makes up around

five-and-a-half percent of my viewers

right after Germany and United States

and I've heard a lot about how safe

their plugs and outlets are I'm going to

go there and test them a little bit I

brought so many test equipment security

was very suspicious so I went shopping

to find a proper adapter to convert my

North American plug that's earth live

and neutral into the United Kingdom one

but no matter how much I searched I

didn't find one with a proper ground

it's always plastic so what if you're

traveling grounding doesn't matter and

you can die

I could hardly find this one that had a

hole for my ground but that doesn't

connect anywhere they provided a fancy

bag and not a ground I guess I'll have

to just go there shopping and find a

proper extension cord or something the

beautifully miserable weather of London

had only heard about it what to

experience it firsthand all the plugs

are fused and all the outlets that have

these on/off switches yes see all of

them are these breakers or just switches

even this ancient one


yeah yeah it's a pretty nice city but

where the hell is the breaker box in my

hotel room I can't find it anywhere

inside or outside the room

maybe it's in some central electrical

room somewhere

I better not make any shorts one of the

interesting things about these bulky

British plugs is that unlike their North

American counterparts that have metal

completely exposed on the live prongs

they have half of it plastic so if it is

inserted halfway and makes contact to

live wires only plastic is exposed so

it's safer I mean it's something to be

tested I bought this adapter here in UK

with proper ground and fuse and

everything and if you look here I

shorted between the two prongs with a

thin piece of wire now when I plug it in

if this makes contact while these metals

are exposed this thing will pop open and

I'll know otherwise if I have to push it

further in it will push this piece of

wire back and nothing will happen and

I'll know it's safe okay it's definitely

shorted let's plug it in hopefully

nothing will happen and I'll know oh

jeez wow I better clean it up before

they see it well I basically ran away

the breaker for all the room outlets

just popped and I can't reset it so

hotel has to fix that for me


it's funny these lights run on gas

global warming man use LED well the

hotel reset the breaker and one thing's

for sure this suite is just a redundant

Street and not a breaker and if you look

here the plot has to go quite deep

before making a contact I don't know why

my test failed or why I did it like that

while I could do it like this so maybe

my wire here was pushed into the socket

instead of sliding away so this is still

safer for not exposing live wires also

what I didn't calculate was that hey

there are tiny doors on this outlet so

you can't stick anything in there nice

the ground prong has to go in first to

unlock these doors safety anyway we have

240 volt AC 50 Hertz here in UK back in

hundred 20 volt AC Canada my thin wire

would pop first before any breaker would

because any similar home all around the

world draws around the same power like

hundred watt lamp is hundred Watts

anywhere so things are designed to draw

half the current on 240 volt AC compared

to 120 volts that puts much less stress

on the power lines here and the breakers

are set to trip at half the current

compared to 120 volt AC also the surge

current through a thin wire is double on

240 volt AC that's why I tripped the

breaker in any case the UK outlets have

these doors on their bigger holes so

nobody can stick anything in there

not much more safety features compared

to North American outlets I would say


I'm curious what's inside a UK plug and

you know what that rhymes with curiosity

stream the sponsor of this video

curiosity stream the best source of over

2400 beautifully made knowledge and

science documentaries including

exclusive originals see if you use my

link curiosity stream dot-com / electro

boom and promo cause electro boom I

check out you get a whole month of full

access for free and with their current

offer they give a 10 dollar Visa or

MasterCard gift card on an annual

membership which starts at like twenty

dollars a year for the love of God don't

lose this promotion here it's open and

one thing's for sure if you step on

these plugs facing up may God have mercy

on your soul it's interesting first all

these plugs have a fuse made in them a

13 amp in this case which if anything

downstream in your device shorts this

will pop open which makes for a much

less interesting video and you see here

the longest wire is the ground wire with

some slack and the shortest is the live

wire so if this thing gets pulled the

first thing to disconnect is the live

wire from your device which is much


so these plugs have much more safety

features compared to their North

American counterparts

I won't test their GFCI or RCD breakers

in the hotel I'm already embarrassed to

have popped their breaker once all wait

until I get to my cousin's house the

London Museum


Wow look at this these things

air-conditioned so I don't know what

they used to pull this now it might be

some healthier devices or something like

these loading lamps oops

how do you put it back and the LEDs are

wirelessly power to power dammit

welcome to Cambridge



now in my cousin's house and what I

found in there

they actually have a breaker box down

here two sets for some reason and each

set has one RCD or what's called a

residual current detector which is the

equivalent to GFCI we have in North

America but the difference here is that

the RCD is for the entire house rather

than the North American GFCI that is

only in the bathroom the GFCI and RCD

are both to detect the livewire current

going into earth instead of neutral and

they pop open and the funny thing is

that their socket has different shape

here so that you can't plug the normal

household stuff here and it's only for

shavers and of course you don't need

GFCI here because the whole house is

protected by our CD well they may have

protected themselves against plugging

the wrong stuff into this socket but the

North American plugs fit these sockets

which means that tourists like me can

plug anything here and probably blow

something up although I've heard that

these outlets have their own internal

fuse rated at much less current inside

the walls so it will pop much easier see

any device draws current from life and

returns to neutral so if the current

goes from life to earth it's unexpected

and the RCD or GFCI will pop open and

the usual case is that a user in contact

with ground accidentally touches the

live wire and gets shocked so these

things usually trip at much less current

to protect the person well first things

first what does it take to keep the RCD

I connected my North American wires to

the adapter and let's measure ooh

interesting the live and neutral

connections are flipped here so now

white is live wire I brought a bunch of

different resistor values to put between

live on Earth and see which one will

trip the RCD North American GFCI trips

at around 5 milliamps so let's try a 47

kilo ohm and see if it trips the RCD

never use your bare hands what did I pop

let's just be careful okay 47 K between

live and Earth

let's didn't pop anything 10 K well

there you go we popped the our CDs


how do you unpop this thing oh there you


you just need extra force 14.7 k nope

12 K there you go this means that the

RCD trips at around 20 milliamps which

is a much stronger shock compared to the

five mini amp of the GFCI but on the

bright side the whole house is protected

by the RCD now what will happen if we

plug things that are meant for 120 volt

AC into 240 volt things like resistive

loads such as incandescent lightbulbs or

inductive loads like motors will draw

double the current so quadruple the

power so those will blow up but

switching power supplies such as a

battery charger or a laptop wall adapter

are designed to work on hundred volt to

240 volt AC so nothing will happen to

these and they will draw half the

current from the power lines compared to

120 volts but on transformer based wall

adapters such as this one the output of

the transformer is not regulated so on

240 volt AC it outputs double the

voltage so if you use this to power your

devices they will blow up although

nothing should happen to the transformer

itself of course these wall adapters

have components that might not be rated

for double the voltage




yeah I'm back so UK plugs are fused live

wire disconnects first when pulled and

no exposed live voltage on prongs the

outlets can be turned off and have doors

on their holes and the whole house is

protected by our CD things we don't have

in North America I know some people that

could have been saved by just the RCD

the rest of the protection sound kind of

redundant which is pretty important in

safety critical systems but hey in North

America who cares about redundancy so

thanks to curiosity stream for

sponsoring this video so I could go to

UK and test their electronics and for

providing great knowledge because you

know when a system is missing redundancy

you rely on your knowledge to save you

if you're a fan of documentaries as much

as I am then you will love what

curiosity stream has to offer from

nature science history technology

lifestyle and society they are the

world's first streaming service with

great nonfiction knowledge and science

documentaries including exclusive

originals made by some of the world's

best filmmakers featuring some of the

world's greatest scientists available on

all sort of platforms

so definitely it's a treasure box go to

curiosity stream comm / electro boom to

get unlimited access and use promo code

electro boom during signup and your

membership will be free for the first 31

days and thanks for watching