All our UK plugs and mainsleads are manufactured to British Standards BS1363, and the fuse to BS1362; both are approved by ASTA-BEAB and/or BSI.
With over 120,000 UK AC powercords in our UK stock ready for next day delivery, mains cable specialist Morvan Trading can fulfil even the largest domestic and import requirements quickly.
We boast a complete range of detachable power cords terminated with IEC connectors: C7 figure-of-eight, the rare C9, C13 ‘kettle’ connector, hot-condition C15, 2-pole C17, 16 Amp C19, and hot-condition 16 Amp C21. Also available are stripped end mainsleads for hard-wiring into equipment, and other connectors, such as IEC60309, Wieland, or international sockets.
In addition to England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, the UK plug is also used in the Isle of Man and Channel Islands, British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies including the Falkland Islands. Other countries include the Republic of Ireland, Malta, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. A number of African and Middle Eastern nations also use it, sometimes in conjunction with other types – see the plug finder page for the full list.
UK BS1363 – United Kingdom and Ireland standard – an overview
The BS1363 standard is rated 13 Amps 250 Volts AC, and was introduced in 1947 as a replacement for the round pin BS546, which is unfused and comes in three different-sized current ratings: 2 Amp, 5 Amp, and the largest 15 Amp. These BS 546 plugs and sockets are still used in specialist settings including the lighting and hotel trades, and are the basis of South African and Indian standards, which we also hold as moulded leads and rewireable plugs.
BS1363 sockets have shutters on the live and neutral as a safety measure to prevent the insertion of foreign objects; the plug’s earth pin is longer and opens the shutter.
The live and neutral pins on the plug are sleeved or part insulated, to limit risk of shock when plugging in, unplugging, or if the plug is left partly inserted. Another safety feature is the plug’s angled cable entry, which prevents the plug from being accidentally disconnected by pulling on the cord.
Being the only plug in the world to be fused, as an extra we stock 100,000 BS1362 cartridge fuses in 3A, 5A, 10A and 13A, along with the rarer 1A, 2A and 7A versions, to cover every possible requirement.
Why is the UK plug fused? Essentially, post-war copper shortages resulted in the 1947 design BS1363 plug requiring a fuse. Premises were wired in the ‘ring’ circuit system, where one fuse on the fuse board would cover all the sockets wired in a ring, usually one floor of a house. This required much less copper cable than wiring each socket back to the fuse board individually.
However, this single fuse would not blow if only one socket was overloaded, potentially allowing the equipment’s power cable to overheat. For this reason replaceable cartridge fuses were included in the plug’s design, to blow at their nominal current rating and prevent the fire hazard from overloaded cables. These fuses also replaced the previous BS546 system where a there existed three different sets of wiring (2A, 5A and 15A). Modern MCB and RCD circuit breakers have now largely made the fuse redundant, but they still play an important role in protecting thinner cables, and preventing overload situations with extension leads etc.
We can also supply other non-standard UK plug tops as rewireables for data, ‘clean earth’ and dedicated circuits, for example with round or T-shaped earth pins, which prevent equipment being plugged into the wrong circuit.
For export sales, depending on availability, we can additionally offer international specifications for other national standards based on the UK plug: NSAI IS401 & IS411 in Eire; PSB SS145 and SS472 by SPRING in Singapore; SASO 2203 in Saudi Arabia; ISC in Cambodia; and SIRIM MS589, MS1577, MS1578 in Malaysia.
Morvan Trading Ltd has over 40 years experience in the powercord business.
We are a family business established in 1991 who pride ourselves on our knowledge of cord sets and commitment to customer service.