Technical Articles

Continental Europe Power Plug Standards

CEE 7/4 and CEE 7/7



The standard, Class I grounded mains, plugs used in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Russia are the CEE 7/4 and CEE 7/7 plugs. Because this standard is used so commonly throughout Europe, we refer to it as the "Continental European" standard. Both styles have two 4.8mm round contacts on 19mm centers. Grounding is achieved through the grounding clips on the sides of the plug body. The CEE 7/7 plug also has a female receptacle, which permits it to be plugged into the French/Belgian sockets that have a male grounding pin. The standard wall outlet in Europe provides consumers with 230V single-phase power. The standard practice for delivering this voltage differs from the North American method for providing 250V to the outlet. In North America, a 250V outlet would be connected to two live legs, each having 125V potential with reference to ground. The European system has one live leg carrying 230V with reference to ground, a neutral (the system ground), and a safety ground. Consequently, the European 230V system is wired similar to North American 125V house wiring.

Note: EAC requires the CEE 7/7 plug be used for 16A applications.

Practices differ mainly in the area of polarization. Typically, Europeans do not maintain consistent identification of line and neutral throughout their power system as is the practice in North America. Consistent with this practice, the Continental European plug can be rotated to either of two positions and plugged into the socket. Thus, the common electrical system in Europe is unpolarized (i.e., line and neutral are connected at random). In fact, most plug types used in Europe are not polarized.

Continental European cord sets are available in three stocked cable sizes. Depending on cable used the cords and cord sets are rated for service between 2.5–16 amps at 250 VAC.

Countries that occasionally use the CEE 7/7 plugs: Portugal and Spain.

Note: The Continental European plug will fit 10A sockets in Italy and Denmark. However, the Continental European plug will not be grounded . Therefore, we recommend specific plugs for Denmark and Italy.



Contact: Eason Wang

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