Tuesday, February 15, 2011


The European Telecommunications Standards Institute has developed a standard for phone chargers: pity though it only tackles half of the problem.

A charger has an input and an output: agreeing on the output does not solve the major problem that plagues all electrical appliances in Europe:
the power plug.

I wonder why, despite previous attempts, the EU has not been able to force the European electrical manufacturers to agree on a common plug.

We will have a single charger for the phones, but we will have to carry half a dozen adapters for each appliance.
In some cases, UK for instance, the adapter is bulkier and bigger than the device itself, not to mention the charger.
Moreover the adapters are dangerous: they can take fire because of poor contacts creating a resistance, as it happened to me once. I was lucky I was saved by our cat, which noticed the fire inside a kitcken cabinet and started to meow.

It is ironic that Europe has been capable of creating a common currency, but not a common electric plug.

1 comment:

Beppe Attardi said...

I received the following answer from a European Officer.

Dear Mr Attardi,

Indeed it would be good but the harmonisation of plugs is a different issue as the harmonisation of a charging capability for mobile phones with a very different scope.

In practice partial harmonisation has been achieved. The Europlug designed for voltages up to 250 V and currents up to 2.5 A is defined in European Standard EN 50075 and already used in most of the Member States. Full harmonisation could lower some costs for manufacturers and consumers, but given the very large installed base of sockets, the Commission considers that it would not be economic to force it.

With best regards,

European Commission
DG Entreprise - Electrotechnical sector