My Broadband's Vermeulen questions why USB power sockets must have switches

If you're thinking of fitting out your house with new plug points to get them up-to-date in terms of the new plug standard and USB charging outlets, you may want to pause just one moment.

Some available on the market at electrical supply shops and at hardware stores feature the 5V USB outlet but do not have a switch.

The South African Bureau of Standards (Sabs) has a new requirement that electrical outlets which have built-in USB ports must now have a power switch.

My Broadband's Jan Vermeulen explains to Lester Kiewit new requirements for power outlets in South Africa have been introduced and how to ensure your home is compliant.

It goes further than the Europlug. We have adopted a global standard which is only being used in South Africa because of kickback from the rest of the 220 volts 50 Herz community.

Jan Vermeulen - My Broadband

South Africa has therefore adopted a hexagonal plug, he explains. While it looks similar to the diamond-shaped Europlug, it has three pins in it. This is in order to allow earthed appliances to be plugged into it.

I like to call it the ZA plug rather than the Europlug.

Jan Vermeulen - My Broadband

It has the option of including a USB port and Sabs requires this contains a switch.

He explains the switch can have one of three options: A dedicated switch to disconnect the AC power to the USB outlet, a shared switch, or an automatic switch.

I honestly do not know why it has introduced this. The switch can give one a false sense of security.

Jan Vermeulen - My Broadband

The new regulation will not be retroactive. it will only apply to new installations.

There has been some criticism of the new socket standard but I'm all for it because it is so widely compatible with the plugs we already use for our computers, our cell phone chargers...it takes up less room on the wall socket. The only thing that is weird is the need for the switch.

Jan Vermeulen - My Broadband

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