Why do some plugs have obviously inefficient designs, e.g. cover multiple outlets, or only fit in the very last spot because they bend at a right angle downward?


Why do some plugs have obviously inefficient designs, e.g. cover multiple outlets, or only fit in the very last spot because they bend at a right angle downward?

In: 57

A lot of the larger ones have things in them that allow them to control the flow of electricity more efficiently or keep it from fluctuating as much. The janky bent ones are sometimes because they are often plugged up behind things. I.e. TV and Xbox plugs are at angles so they’re easier to fit behind entertainment centers and such

Some plugs (like on an air fryer we own) has a plate that covers the other outlets so you can’t plug in anything else while using it and accidentally trip a breaker.

Part of it depends on the type of power the device needs. The power in your wall is alternating current (AC) but some things need direct current (DC). The latter needs something to convert the AC power to DC, which is why many power cords come with a bulky box that often covers multiple outlets.

I feel like this is directed toward in-home 120vAC wall outlets, which i feel has been adequately addressed by others.

But if we’re going for “bent at a right angle downward” plugs, might i present for your review the 3- (and 4-) prong outlets used for welding and other heavy-duty, 3-phase, high voltage (277vAC & 480vAC) outlets.

These are designed with a bent segment in one of the plug tangs so as to act as a “key” so you don’t accidentally plug it in incorrectly and blow the transformer on the equipment. 3-phase systems require a bare copper ground and 3 hot wires that are individually half of the total effective voltage, but when measured across 2 hot lines equal the total voltage. Confusing, right? Lol.

That’s because they are run slightly out of phase, so that alternating current (AC) can behave similarly to direct current (DC). AC has peaks and valleys and flows in both directions, but is also susceptible to demand fluctuations. DC is a constant supply, but only flows in one direction, but is unaffected by demand fluctuations.

3-phase combines both of these attributes by providing 3 individual lines of AC that are milliseconds apart (out of phase) so that each of their valleys are covered up by the peak of the next phase, essentially turning AC into a constant line of peaks with no valleys (aka: DC), but able to flow in both directions with no risk from fluctuations.

Hopefully this left you with more questions than answers. Lol.

the real answer is, “efficient” for you is not what was optimized for: wallwarts were optimized purely for cost: it’s “efficient” in that way: a wall wart is extremely cheap and they’re so common it made them even cheaper

the fact that they’re inconvenient as hell doesn’t matter, it’s CHEAP

Because many companies are not investing money in designing ergonomic power supplies. Instead they tell an engineering intern “Spend all day flipping through catalogs until you find the cheapest available supply that deliver X Amps at Y Volts” and that’s what we’ll use.

In a word? Cost.

What you’re seeing is a power supply/power adaptor, and it does various things like change the current from AC to DC, and some monitor/regulate the voltage and amperage, contain capacitors, things like that. They do a variety of functions.

Higher quality power supplies (laptops, game consoles, etc.) have a “brick” further down the cord, while the cheaper ones put it right there on the plug, making it inconvienent as hell. Cost is a factor in manufacturing, so they cut corners wherever they can.