To remedy this potentially unsafe disparity in voltages and lack of earthing, the Thai government decided to introduce a new style plug. The TIS166 was essentially reverse-engineered to fit the hybrid sockets, so has the live and neutral pins of a European plug (4.8mm diameter, 19mm long, 19mm apart, partially insulated) with the earth pin of a USA plug (4.8mm diameter, 21.4mm long, offset by 11.9mm).
This ensures an earth connection and removes the voltage issue. As well as an improvement in electrical safety, the introduction has also been seen as a protectionist measure to aid the Thai manufacturing economy by reducing its reliance on imported mains cables and related other products.
The plug and socket were originally described in Thai Industrial Standard TIS 166:2547, but the plug has been revised and updated to TIS 166:2549. These were issued by the Thai Industrial Standards Institute or TISI. Dates for Thailand are given in the Buddhist Era, and 2549 equates to 2006 in the Gregorian calendar. TIS 166-2547 also includes a provision for a solely round pin socket, to eventually phase out the 2 pin and 3 pin flat blade USA plugs in preference for the new style.
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