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Wiring a Plug

By: Alan Cole - Updated: 3 Sep 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Electrical Socket Electric Plug How To

Wiring or rewiring a UK plug is an easy Do It Yourself job but you must follow the correct guidelines to ensure your safety. Also remember that old or tatty plugs are an eyesore as well as a potential source of safety problems, so it is worth changing them to brighten up your home.

Getting Started

     plu2
  • You need a small screwdriver and a sharp pen knife.
  • Make sure the plug is disconnected from the plug socket and the electrical appliance is turned off.
  • If the plastic protective case or the plug flex is damaged you should replace these, especially if there are splits or cracks. 20px break
  • Remember to always turn off the power supply before removing a plug. Remove plugs carefully from the wall socket and never pull the flex, especially while the plug is in the electrical socket.
  • Always use a British Standard three pin plug which carries the BS kitemark.

Plug Rewiring Step By Step

 plu1This is the nitty gritty bit. Unscrew the new plug and remove the cover. If you do not have enough wire then strip off the outer cable plastic sheath to reveal about 4cm of the small insulated wires. Remove the insulation plastic around the small wires to leave about 1cm of exposed metal core on the end of each wire. Twist the wire strands firmly so they form a good contact for each terminal.

20px break plu4Importantly, the terminal on the bottom right next to the fuse should be connected to the Brown Live cable. The left hand terminal should be connected to the Blue Neutral cable. Finally the top terminal should be connected to the Earth Green and Yellow cable. Sometimes you might have to lift or remove the fuse to gain access to the fuse terminal. You may find some appliances do not have an earth wire. This is because they are doubly insulated with no exposed metal parts.

20px break plu4Each wire end needs to fit around or through each terminal and then you must tighten the terminal screws nice and firmly over the wire. Ensure that the insulation coating reaches up to each terminal.

Always be completely certain you have connected the correct wires to the correct terminals. Avoid leaving frayed or loose wires.

20px breakplu2 After connecting the wires ensure the appropriate fuse is fitted (see below). The last thing to do is to clamp the flex cable in place using the grip and screws at the bottom of the plug.

It is very important that the cable flex is securely fixed in place to make sure the plug is safe. Check that none of the outer insulation is cracked.

20px breakplu5 Many new appliances come with a moulded plug which cannot be opened. Check with the appliance manufacturer if you need to replace one of these.

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UK Plugs - Top Tips

UK plugs follow a standard layout. An easy way to remember the correct plug wiring procedure is the Brown wire Bottom Right, Blue wire Bottom Left rule.

 plu4BL = Bottom Left = Blue = Neutral
BR = Bottom Right = Brown = Live

It is important to know the UK plug wiring colours when wiring a plug. They are:

  • Earth - Green and Yellow (Previously Green)
  • Neutral - Blue (Previously Black)
  • Live - Brown (Previously Red)
20px breakTo make it easy for you each terminal inside the plug should be marked with an E, N or L.

Choosing Fuses

Always make sure your plug has the right fuse for the appliance it is connected to. Check with your appliance information for advice on this. Also remember that a fuse is an important safety device which is there to stop overheating in appliances. A fire could start if the wrong fuse is fitted and overheating in your appliance occurs. If a fuse does blow you must never replace it with a higher rated one. Never replace a cartridge fuse with fuse wire.

The main types of plug fuses are 3 amp, 5 amp and 13 amp.

Safety Advice

plu1 A damaged or faulty plug should always be changed as quickly as possible as it could pose a safety risk to you or your family.

If you fit a plug incorrectly there could be a risk of injury via electric shock or fire. A faulty plug could also damage your electrical appliance.

Always get expert help for all major electrical repairs and house rewiring. Contact your electrical supplier or a qualified electrician if in doubt about any electrical repairs.If you discover a fault in any electrical appliance do not attempt to repair it yourself. Instead, call in the experts.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
It is important to check that the item will work on the UK electricity supply.If you are replacing the plug on an item from abroad, you need to check that it will work at 240V and 50Hz and indeed will not draw more than 13Amps.Just have a look at the manufacturers plate.You may need to flick a switch, but most good items are dual voltage/frequency these days, so hopefully things will be ok.
Andy - 3-Sep-15 @ 9:41 AM
As you say, it's an easy job. You do need to make sure, though, that none of the bare wires are touching each other (can't emphasise that enough!) and that they're firmly screwed in place so they can't slip out later. Also vital is having the correct fuse in the plug. Choose one that's too big and you've got a potential fire risk, while too small could lead to the fuse blowing too often. Get those things down and you're sorted!
Tim - 6-Jun-12 @ 10:46 AM
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