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Talking about AMEA socket system and 120V.

High power demand devices like A/Cs do have bigger plugs with some switches on them.

What exactly is their purpose?

Seems like a fuse but isn't the socket cirquit fused against overload?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you show a picture of the "switches" you're talking about? Yes, high-current plugs are larger, and the pins are arranged so that they can't be confused with lower-current plugs. And yes, the branch circuit in the building that feeds the corresopnding socket is fused appropriately, but that doesn't mean that there's any reason to eliminate additional application-specific fuses in the equipment (or its plug). \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Tweed Aug 5 '14 at 13:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think I've noticed such plugs with switches or fuses. There are a few sizes used for electric stoves, 220V A/C units, electric dryers, kilns etc. and different ones generally used for industrial (twist-lock), but I've never seen a North American one with a switch. \$\endgroup\$ – Spehro Pefhany Aug 5 '14 at 14:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are these amazon.com/s/… the sort of plugs you're talking about? \$\endgroup\$ – WhatRoughBeast Aug 5 '14 at 18:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi, YES. These link plugs are the ones I tried to describe.... (hard to find if you don't know the name). \$\endgroup\$ – Robetto Aug 6 '14 at 10:24
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High power demand devices like A/Cs do have bigger plugs with some switches on them.

It sounds like you are talking about the plugs with a built in Ground Fault Interruptor designed to automatically disconnect the circuit if current flow from the "hot" line is diverted anywhere other than the "neutral".

It's not really the "high power" which suggests their presence, but rather the possibility of a current leakage path developing.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe. Sounds probable to me. However there are usually no touchable metal parts. Despite... with split devices the outdoor part with the compressor may be vulnerable to creeping water -- should be IP65, though. \$\endgroup\$ – Robetto Aug 6 '14 at 10:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually This guess is RIGHT \$\endgroup\$ – Robetto Aug 7 '14 at 8:49
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If you mean these types of plugs, they are to indicate what type of current the device needs/is rated for.

enter image description here

Image from Wikipedia

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If this is what you're talking about, It's called an "IEC power entry module" and it's fused internally and supplied with internal switches in order to switch between various mains voltages,

enter image description here

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  • \$\begingroup\$ No, sorry. It is at the end (or beginning) of the cable. One compund with the pins. \$\endgroup\$ – Robetto Aug 6 '14 at 10:16

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