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Flip flattens the British three-pronged plug

Flip flattens the British thre...
The Flip plug opens like a pair of jaws to reveal the prongs
The Flip plug opens like a pair of jaws to reveal the prongs
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The Flip line
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The Flip line
The Flip prototype
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The Flip prototype
The Flip plug opens like a pair of jaws to reveal the prongs
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The Flip plug opens like a pair of jaws to reveal the prongs
The Flip Power
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The Flip Power
The Flip Quad
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The Flip Quad
The Flip Duo
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The Flip Duo
The Flip is thinner than conventional plugs when folded, and won't scratch devices
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The Flip is thinner than conventional plugs when folded, and won't scratch devices
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The British electrical plug may be a design classic, but it's also very bulky and doesn't exactly fit in with the ultra-mobile digital age. To save some tablets from an undeserved scratching, Hong Kong-based OneAdaptr has come up with its Flip folding plug. The focus of a Kickstarter campaign running through December 18, the Flip opens like a pair of jaws and combines USB charging ports with an optional internal battery.

Designed in the 1940s, the British mains plug was meant to put a heavy emphasis on safety while taking into account post-war copper shortages. The reason for its infamous size is due to the three bulky prongs combined with a matching wall socket. These are designed to make an accidental shock extremely difficult without a great deal of effort.

Another factor is built-In fuses to make up for a shortage of copper wiring after the Second World War (by putting the fuses as close to the appliances as possible), and a circuit designed so that tugging and fraying causes damage to the live wires before the ground wire.

It works, but it was designed for lamps and electric kettles, not tablets and smartphones. It doesn't do much good to have a wafer-thin laptop when its power cable ends in a bulky plug with three huge prongs that are perfect for scratching things up in a messenger bag, so OneAdaptr came up with an alternative.

The Flip prototype
The Flip prototype

Folding plugs aren't new, but they tend to be on the basic side and to end their careers in the back of drawers. With sizes ranging from 48 x 18 x 78 mm to 48 x 18 x 126 mm (1.9 x 0.7 x 3 in to 48 x 18 x 5 in) and an output of 5 V, the Flip is designed for digital devices as well as with compactness in mind. Folded, the Flip is a third the size of a standard British plug. This not only reduces the thickness of the unit, but also hides the tongs away, so they can't scratch anything else they happen to be rubbing up against.

In addition to its folding design, the Flip includes multiple USB charging ports. The Duo, the smallest of the line, has two ports. The next larger, the Quad, has four ports and five amps of power, and the largest, the Power, has four ports and includes an internal battery to charge devices when away from the mains.

The Flip is available via the Kickstarter campaign, with early bird prices starting at £7 (US$11) for the Duo. Delivery is estimated for next February, if all goes according to plan.

Source: Kickstarter

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6 comments
Wombat56
Below is the Kickstarter link to the animated GIF(450KB) which shows it in action. The bottom part flips down and the pins are extended forward from the body at the same time. Neat idea, I'd like to see it applied to my country's plug design.
https://ksr-ugc.imgix.net/assets/004/895/204/6c48e4a26c9e3a30b04493e8182a392f_original.gif?v=1447324332&w=680&fit=max&q=92&s=725924c2a95aaee11ccac0e8c699a257
RobSaxton
The plug that comes with most nokia phones is far simpler and just a small, the earth pin just collapses down. This is just crazily over engineered...
DetJohnMcClane
So, that huge, bulky thing in the picture is the part that gets plugged into the wall? Is that the size of a standard plug used in England? After all these years, they couldn't have modified the standard to a more reasonable design? That is absolutely ridiculous. The plug itself is bigger than some of the devices that it supplies power to.
pmshah
@DetJohnMcClane You probably are unaware that this plug supports all kinds of equipment up to 16 amp (4 KW load) current and generally also incorporates a fuse. It happens to be the safest plug design in the world, bar none, from the point of view of personal, equipment and internal wiring. BTW it is also polarised. The UK wiring is ring or circular and not star.
MQ
Good that the article acknowledges that this isn't a radical concept, but somehow it is better than previous folding UK plugs.
With the size of the pins on the UK plug, I would think that it would be good for at least 30 Amps. Can't see that it is any safer than other 3-pin plugs (due to the plug design), except that it will blow its fuse at rated load, on un-fused circuits (gated sockets are probably the main safety feature in UK power supply, though that eliminates the possibility for a more compact 2 pin plug).