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How to wire a UK Plug

How to wire a UK Plug

Have you ever wanted to know what’s inside one of those plugs you use every day? Whether you need to do an emergency repair on your appliance, or just want to know how a UK plug actually works, this tutorial will help.

WARNING: The UK mains electricity supply is normally about 230V AC and can easily kill if not used safely. This task is dangerous and can go very badly if wired incorrectly, and death/serious injury can occur. It would be a good idea to get us or another electrician check if you have completed it correctly or just let them do it for you (probably in half the time). We are not responsible for your death/injuries or problems resulting in you  following this tutorial.

You will need:

  • Plug (including an appropriate fuse)
  • Cable from appliance to wire plug onto
  • Philips Screwdriver
  • Flat-head Screwdriver
  • Electrical Cutters/Scissors
  • Wire Strippers (optional but recommended)

Step 1

Strip the outer sheath (normally white/black) of the cable coming from the appliance to the plug. Use wire strippers. Take off about 3cm of the sheath. You will be left with three thinner cables.

Step 2

On the side with the three pins, undo the screw in the center of the plug. Then remove the back cover of the plug which should now be lose.

Step 3

Take the end of the cable and separate the three wires inside it. Strip about 0.5 to 1 centimeter off of the ends of each wire, so that the copper strands are clearly visible. Now twist the copper strands you just revealed, to bind them together and prevent any strands from making connection.

Step 4

Loosen (don’t unscrew fully) the cable grip inside the plug (plastic part with 2 screws). Bring all the wires underneath the cable grip, along with the outer sheath, until you can securely tighten the grip onto the outer sheath.

Step 5

Undo the screws on the tops of the 3 brass metal connectors, to allow the wires to go into the holes and get a good connection.

Step 6

Push the wires into the appropriate metal connectors and tighten them up. Blue (neutral) wire into the bottom left connector (when the three pins of the front of the plug are facing away from you). Brown (live) wire into the bottom right connector, connected to the fuse (which should be clipped in). Memory aid: blue bl – bottom left, brown br – bottom right. Finally, the green/yellow wire (earth) goes through the middle up to the connector at the top.

Step 7

Double check all the wires are in the correct location and are tight. Make sure none of the wires are overlapping the center screw hole for the lid. Put back on the back cover of the plug. You’re all finished. Plug it and enjoy your newly wired UK plug.

Some Interesting Facts

  • The casing is tough plastic or rubber, to act as good electrical insulators.
  • The three pins are normally made of brass.
  • There must be a fuse between the live screw terminal and the live pin.
  • The fuse should break/blow the circuit if the appliance draws too much current.
  • The cable must be secured in the plug by a cable grip. It should grip onto the cable’s outer sheath, not the individual wires inside.