Plug adapters, also referred to as plug converters, are electrical devices that allow for plugs to connect to sockets that are otherwise incompatible with each other. The incompatibility lies in both the configuration, if the electrical receptacle is not the same configuration as the plug, the plug will not fit, and the same goes for the voltage currents.
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Uses and Applications of Plug Adapters
While plug adapters do not convert electricity, they can be paired with voltage converters that step voltage currents up or down to even out the electrical differences. Voltage converters are necessary because higher or lower voltage systems than electrical equipment are designed to function on will either overload the device or not give it enough power to function properly. However, with a voltage converter, if an individual from the US went on vacation to Europe, they would be able to use their hairdryer without worry, even though Europe runs on a much higher voltage current than the US.
As a result, plug adapters can be useful for a wide range of international and domestic applications in industries such as:
- Home Entertainment
Specifications and Design of Plug Adapters
Plug adapters can differ in terms depending on the country they are designed for. Those specifications may include:
- Tensile Strength
- Wire Sizes
- Color Coding of Conductors
However, at their most basic design, plug adapters consist of a socket and a plug. The socket enables the device requiring electricity to connect to the adapter, while the plug is configured to match the power source, usually a wall outlet. While some plug adapters are specifically configured to match one country to another, such as the US to South Korea, universal plug adapters are available.
Universal plug adapters have a socket that can accept plug configurations of almost any country in the world, although South Africa is often an exception. Some examples of different plug configurations are Italy, which has three tubular metal prongs of equal length in a straight line across the plug, and Argentina, which has three square metal prongs that are flat, of equal length and arranged in a triangular configuration on the plug. In addition, examples of different voltage systems would be Bulgaria, which has a standard voltage of 220, and Nicaragua, which has a standard voltage of 120. In light of the numerous different plug configurations and voltage systems, it is easy to see why plug adapters are a necessary product for an increasingly globalized world.
Saving the Planet with Plug Adapter Take-Back Programs
Today’s electronic items use a wider variety of cords and plug adapters than ever. Hundreds of manufacturing companies may adapt for companies like Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, and others. Many companies create unlicensed adapters that have recently caused problems in the consumer market.
A few Apple knock-off adapters manufactured in China were responsible for electrocuting users.
In response to this issue, Apple and other electronic companies have created take-back programs for unused and unwanted adapters. The programs work by accepting any unused or unwanted adapters and disposing of them in an environmentally-responsible way in recycling centers and other safe disposal areas.
This plan helps eliminate electronic waste in landfills and other recycling centers around the world. The electronic disposal of products increases every day and is poised to soon outweigh typical pollutants such as plastic. One of the most dangerous issues with disposing of electronic power cords in landfills is the content of the cords. Most adapters have batteries and other materials that can leech into the ground, nearby water, and even into other products surrounding the electronic adapter itself.
This poses a danger to the environment, unlike others. By companies creating take-back programs, they are benefiting the environment and the safety of their customers around the world. Some companies are even offering discounts on new power adapters and cords with the disposal of unwanted models. This also benefits industrial factories by providing them with the recycled parts used in old adapters.