Contrary to popular belief there are a few different types of sockets available and being used in the UK at this time. The most common is the now standard 13 amp square pinned socket to fit the standard 13 amp plug. These can be used for any device sold in the UK today so why are there different sockets anyway.
The 5 amp small round pin socket is now primarily only used for lighting circuits. Most of us will have our standard or table lamps wired into a normal 13 amp plug, with a 3 or 5 amp fuse to protect it, and plugged into a standard 13 amp socket. These would then be switched on and off when required as the sockets are permanently connected to the power.
However let us imagine that you have a rather large house( or hotel) with a big lounge and although you have a couple of main lights in the room you might also have a few wall lights, to create a different lighting mood, also switched on by the light switches beside the door. To then create yet a different mood you might have a few standard lamps and a few table lights dotted around the room but also want to turn them all on with a light switch rather than spending a few minutes running around. For this purpose the 5 amp round pin plug and socket is still very much in use.
Another light switch would then be wired directly to these 5 amp sockets so that when you plugged in these lights, all with the special 5 amp round pinned plugs, they could all be switched or in fact dimmed together.
The main reason for this is that the cabling used for lighting is 1.5mm cable and wouldn’t be able to take the power that could be drawn through it should someone then accidentally put in a couple of 13 amp heaters or something as this would normally require 2.5mm cabling.
Well the rare 15 amp socket which is a large round pinned socket looks similar the smaller 5 amp (so as one won’t fit in another) is now only found in theatres for the specialized lighting that they may use there or in older factories..
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