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Can't use all the sockets of your multi-plug at once? Here's an explanation why

16 January 2020 11:24 AM
Why can't the socket-outlets on multi-plugs be used all at once? Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler looks for answers.

"What were you thinking? It doesn't work!"

Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler talks about 'annoying' product designs that aren't very user-friendly.

The most annoying of all? A multi-plug adaptor with sockets that can't be used at the same time.

In her quest to understand why there aren't enough spaces between each of the sockets, Knowler asked the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) to shed some light.

The NRCS is the watchdog that enforces the technical regulations of products to ensure the protection, safety and health of consumers.

Patsy Andrews, manager at NRCS’s Cape Town office, says the design of the multi-plug adaptor is compliant.

She says it's the size of the plugs and charging adaptors that are not suited for the multi-plug.

Regarding the spacing between the sockets - it's designed for plugs whose dimensions comply with the requirements of SANS 164-5, a normal two-pronged plug without earthing and SANS 164-1, sixteen amp three-prong with earthing.

Patsy Andrews, Manager - NRCS’s Cape Town office

The problem comes that you can't use all of those sockets because the design of the adaptors and chargers which you put into the [multiplug] become very bulky.

Patsy Andrews, Manager - NRCS’s Cape Town office

Even though the pin configuration complies with the requirements, the size of the entire unit makes it very difficult to utilise all the socket points.

Patsy Andrews, Manager - NRCS’s Cape Town office

Andrews explains that the NRC is not the best platform to take up this complaint, as it is related to product quality and performance - not safety.

If consumers want to lodge a complaint or make recommendations for changes to the standard dimensions, she says they should take it up with the SA Bureau of Standards (SABS) Technical Committee.

In the meantime, Knowler has urged consumers to be more alert when buying multi-plugs that may not accommodate their needs and Andrews agrees.

When purchasing a multi-plug adapter, I would recommend that consumers need to determine what type of appliances they want to plug into that adapter.

Patsy Andrews, Manager - NRCS’s Cape Town office

Listen to the full discussion on ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler:

Thumbnail image: @wendyknowler on Twitter.

Every Wednesday, on The Pippa Hudson Show, Wendy Knowler provides useful insights and tips on how to make the most of your buying power.

For more stories visit the ConsumerTalk feature page.

Got a consumer case you need help resolving?

Email: consumer@knowler.co.za, put Cape Talk in the subject line, followed by the issue e.g. cellphone contract dispute.


16 January 2020 11:24 AM

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