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Thread: Playing silly pluggers

  1. #1
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    Playing silly pluggers

    Good evening.

    The electrical sockets in my daughter's house have recently been replaced with "Clipsal" brand items. However, although they work perfectly in an electrical sense, it is VERY difficult to insert or remove plugs, which makes them almost impossible to use.

    Needless to say, the problem's been dumped in Dad's lap (oh, the joys of parenthood!), but I'm not sure what to do. I've established that the fault lies definitely with the sockets, not with the plugs.

    Is it safe to simply spray WD40 everywhere? Or has anybody any better ideas?

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Dave A; 20-Nov-10 at 04:00 PM.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I would avoid WD40 or any other spray lubricant. It might attack the plastic components and I'm not sure about the residue on the brass internal contacts etc.

    Socket outlets need to be quite tight to make a good contact with the pins of the plug. If the contact is loose or otherwise poor then it will get very hot and can cause a fire. That said they do wear easier with age usually.

    There are plugs available which have a small handle on the back of them to facilitate easier removal when unplugging. I've also seen a wrap-around plastic thingy (can't really describe it better) which fits over the plug pins and forms a handle behind the plug. I think one of the charity organisations like the Lions was selling them. I'll hunt for more info.
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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Can't find a picture but it kinda looks like this.

    Sorry if its not very clear, it's late and it's not easy to draw. On the left is the thingy flat as it arrives in the packet. On the right is how it wraps around a plug to form a handle. Maybe someone else can remember the name of it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks for taking the time and trouble to respond, AndyD. I'm very impressed with your artwork

    However, this isn't really the answer I was looking for. These plug sockets really are excessively tight, so much so that there's a danger of pulling the sockets out of the wall when trying to remove a plug.

    Is this a general problem with Clipsal sockets? - I thought they were a reputable company.

    If WD40 isn't recommended, could my daughter coat each plug with Vaseline?
    Last edited by Dave A; 20-Nov-10 at 04:01 PM.

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    i think since they are making most of clipsal parts in china ,there standards and tolerances are a bit inconsistent.
    i think its the plastic holes that are too tight and not the brass contacts. i would take a small round file and clean up the edges.
    just make sure the power is off!

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    Wrinkly (11-Nov-10)

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I coincidentally spoke to someone at Clipsal today for another matter and mentioned your tight plug problem. She said this was a known problem with one batch, she wasn't forthcoming with technical details but apparently the problem was ironed out and you can return them where you purchased them for exchange.
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    Wrinkly (11-Nov-10)

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyD View Post
    I coincidentally spoke to someone at Clipsal today for another matter and mentioned your tight plug problem. She said this was a known problem with one batch, she wasn't forthcoming with technical details but apparently the problem was ironed out and you can return them where you purchased them for exchange.
    Thank you very much for that gem of information. I didn't fit the sockets and don't know where they were purchased. However, I see (thanks to Google) that Clipsal have an office/depot in Durban, so I'll ask them if they'll do a swap - the worst they can say is NO.

    Quote Originally Posted by bergie View Post
    i think since they are making most of clipsal parts in china ,there standards and tolerances are a bit inconsistent.
    i think its the plastic holes that are too tight and not the brass contacts. i would take a small round file and clean up the edges.
    just make sure the power is off!
    That's a really helpful point, bergie. Thank you. I'll definitely try this if Clipsal won't replace the sockets.

    My thanks to both of you for your time & trouble.
    Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bergie View Post
    i think since they are making most of clipsal parts in china ,there standards and tolerances are a bit inconsistent.
    i think its the plastic holes that are too tight and not the brass contacts. i would take a small round file and clean up the edges.
    just make sure the power is off!
    I haven't got around to contacting Clipsal yet so I had a closer look at the sockets.

    I dismantled an old plug and, making sure that the power was off (!), tried each individual prong in the new sockets. They all moved in and out quite easily, so the plugs are not sticking because the holes that are too tight - I think it must be the alignment that's slightly out. As bergie suggested, that's definitely a tolerance problem.

    This gives me greater confidence when I get to dealing with Clipsal, because I won't be fobbed off with the excuse that "it's only because the sockets are new".
    Last edited by Wrinkly; 14-Nov-10 at 07:00 AM.

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    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    What has worked for me on occasion was to ream the coverplate entry to the socket outlet. Provided the shutters are not damaged in the process, it does help without compromising the contact pressure inside the outlet. I used my Dremel router bit attached to my cordless drill. A drill bit of which the point has been ground down to a flat face will also work.

  14. #10
    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    You must have more patience than me Sparks

    Problem is that reaming the holes wider is it's a one way street as far as warranty is concerned. I doubt they would take them back if you attack them with a Dremmel or drill. Maybe just try it on one of them first and see the result.
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