Power outlets are topsy turvy – but does it matter?

Power outlets are topsy turvy – but does it matter?

The answer may surprise you!

Here’s that follow-up I talked about at the end

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36 Responses

  1. Technology Connections says:


  2. Rob Bulmahn says:

    15:12 Not only does the 45° angle mean you can put two plugs in adjacent sockets in an outlet, it also works if those two sockets are side-by-side instead of stacked! I really wish more plugs came like this; it makes things so much tidier.

    • Mr. Moʀɖɛռ says:

      Me too, I really appreciate a 45 degree angle plug. I can move my furniture closer to the wall without having to worry about smashing a cable and starting a fire. It should be the default plug style without question.

    • Max Halsall says:

      Side by side is pretty much all you see in the uk due to the nature of the cable coming from the plugs extending below them.

    • Juke says:

      or buy 45° degree angle outlets. So you don’t need to care so much about who manufactures the cord.

    • Karl Schmidt says:

      Here in schuko-land it’s common for power strips to have 45° angles for their sockets so you can use 4-8 right angle plugs without interference. Wall sockets are usually vertical, unlike the UK with their giant fuse box/plug hybrids, but it’s less of an issue since neither socket or plug has an up or down orientation and the plugs are much more securely held than the US ones (sockets that actually use the retaining bar holes excepted, not that I ever encountered one when I lived in California).

    • DemonAlchemist says:

      But then it’s annoying to use when the cord points away from where you want it to go.

  3. Tyler Bell says:

    I’m always amazed at how they always know what exactly the wrong orientation is for my application when using 45 degree plugs.

  4. Brian Smith says:

    7:10 This actually happened at my place about a year ago: we had an extension cord behind my mom’s dresser that ran to some Christmas lights in the hall. One night one of her bracelets (a thin metal chain) fell off the back of the dress and shorted it out… needless to say that it made quite a spark show: also ended up partly melting the bracelet to the plug as well.

    • Ed Rose says:

      The fact that someone watched this video and experienced it probably suggests that it’s far more common than is suggested

    • Purple Composition says:

      @Ed Rose People that have had issues with electrical safety are more likely to watch a video on electrical safety and comment on their issue, vs a large amount of people that have not had these issues, more at 10.

    • vladsinger says:

      I also managed to do this as a kid by pushing a paperclip off the back of my desk which fell onto a plug which wasn’t all the way into the receptacle. Shorted out, big soot mark on the wall. But it was a two prong lamp cord so it would have happened either way.

  5. Sky Tek says:

    Electrician here- The Code called for ground up in commercial applications for a very short time, but now officially either orientation is considered correct. Some old fogeys are very, very particular about it, no one else cares.
    Edit: also, aside from someone standing barefoot on a grounded steel floor while getting sprayed down with saltwater, many casual contacts with a piece of metal that happens to touch the live pin result in nothing happening unless you bridge the metal to a grounded surface and make a spark and pop a breaker.

  6. ConeRodrigoSwag says:

    We actually just got an antique lamp with one of them old plugs recently. It really makes you appreciate the changes they’ve made to them since then, even though the plug itself isn’t really safe.

    • buranflakes says:

      Yeah if nothing else the 2-prong plugs on all my vintage electronics just feel flimsier somehow and that doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence (except for the plugs on Hammond organs. For some reason those are quite bulky)

    • Ahex86 says:

      your 80 year old grandpa lived through nearly the entire history of electrification just fine, your parents are fine, you’re fine
      What are you actually scared about.

  7. Sam Brown says:

    As someone who’s been shocked while plugging in Christmas lights, I have to agree with you that our plugs are terrible

  8. Jared Manning says:

    I work at a medical college. A couple years ago, one of our wings went through a major renovation. I noticed that the electricians were installing all of the outlets upside down with the ground pin on top. I asked one of them why. He said, “I dunno, it’s what the boss wants.”

    • Dan L says:

      That’s code for hospitals

    • Jared Manning says:

      @Dan L We’re not a hospital, though. Accordingly, the other outlets in the building are not upside down. That’s why I wonder why they were doing it.

    • nitehawk86 says:

      “I dunno, it’s what the boss wants.” describes most of the coin flip choices at my office.

    • Michael Mccarthy says:

      Probably, the electrical subcontractors had in their contract this very clause. Ground plug up.

    • pbee73 says:

      Code requires the U ground to face up because most people use their thumb on top of a plug to pull it out. In turn your thumb can touch the metal prong so if the outlet is not installed with the U ground facing up a person can potentially touch the hot and neutral prongs with their thumb as they remove a plug.

  9. Too Tall Animations says:

    I love you unintentionally showing the dangers of a flathead and a wall receptacle at 8:30 by immediately jamming the screwdriver into the ground socket.

  10. C V says:

    Story time! My company had an incident where a paperclip caused a short-circuit by falling in an outlet just like you described with the knife.
    Turns out that outlet was a remnant of the old, no good, unsafe, terrible, NEMA outlets that used to be used in Brazil way back when. It prompted an audit and replacement of all leftover outlets to the new, elegant, safe, cheap, IEC standard.

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