My office room in my apartment has only sockets with 2 pin (USA).

However, my Macbook requires a 3 pin socket so does the external monitor and other electrical equipments.

Will the use of power surge protector (using 3pin to 2pin socket converter) help make for the lack of safety due to missing ground pin in the wall socket?

Power surge protector that I have is from Belkin.

3pin to 2pin converter is an international adapter.


closed as off-topic by Dmitry Grigoryev, PeterJ, winny, uint128_t, Dave Tweed Sep 15 '17 at 11:37

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  • \$\begingroup\$ err, no, you might want to read up about what both are for... a street barrier also doesn't make up for missing seat belts... \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Aug 16 '17 at 14:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your macbook does not "require" a grounded/3-pin socket, it will still power up and function with a non grounded/2-pin socket. Your macbook is most likley a class II part of an overall class I system (the power adapter) and protected accordingly. What "safety" are you missing or aim to get by any surge protector? \$\endgroup\$ – winny Aug 16 '17 at 14:05

Does the use of power surge protector makes up for the lack of the ground pin?

No it does not. The ground or earth connection is a safety feature. The ground pin connects to the (metal) case of a product and/or any other parts the user (you) could touch. If for whatever reason those metal parts try to become live (connect to mains due to a fault) then it cannot as it is grounded. In a modern installation the RCD would trip and switch off the mains for your safety.

It is very likely that your equipment is double isolated and has this logo: enter image description here

In this case even when it has a ground connection, it does not strictly need to be connected.

In rooms with carpet or wood floors it can be assumed that even a live voltage on the case will not immediately electrocute the user because of the (electrical) insulating properties of said carpet or wood. So then often the mains sockets have no ground connection.

Having said that, in an office environment the ground is really required and not having it is not a very good idea.

The surge protector only tries to block voltage spikes on the mains. Most modern equipment also has similar circuitry build-in already so in my opinion, surge protectors are a waste of money.

Some people claim surge protectors claim that these protect when lightning strikes. That might be true if the lightning strikes reasonably far away but then the build-in protection can handle that as well.

When lightning really strikes close by on your mains wires, no surge protectors can protect your equipment agains that. There are examples where even the mains wiring evaporated after a lightning strike. Not much a surge protector can do against that kind of force.


The third wire in a NEMA 5-15 type (or similar) receptacle (as opposed to the two blade hot/neutral NEMA 1-15 type in your apartment) is a ground. This ground serves two purposes: 1) personal safety and 2) electrical noise mitigation.

1) Safety: The third connection, ground, is a safety feature which isn't easily replicated by a 3-2 adapter or surge protector. The three wires are hot, neutral and ground. The ground in a simple installation is actually bonded together with the neutral and tied to earth near the service entrance. The ground is primarily there in case the neutral wire is damaged and provides a low impedance path for current to return to earth. The low impedance of this path means that in a fault the electrical current will prefer running back through the ground wire rather than running back through another path that might include your body. NFPA 70 (national electrical code) allows for the replacement of non-grounding receptacles with three prong GFCI protected receptacles. The GFCI senses if the fault condition of current not all returning through the neutral is happening and disconnects power to keep you safe.

2) Electrical Noise - The filters in your computer power supply that prevent it from radiating and conducting electromagnetic interference depend on the ground wire to function properly. Your laptop will probably work fine if connected to a two wire source with a cheater plug (3-2 adapter) but it may start inducing unwanted electromagnetic interference into nearby devices because the ground is not available as a place to drain off the energy the filters are trying to remove.




The device that makes up for a missing ground connection is a ground fault current interrupter. In the US this is usually built into sockets usually in the kitchen and bathroom.

You can purchase stand-alone devices that also provide this protection.

However check the markings on the devices, if they all contain a nested square then they are class II "double insulated" devices and don't need the ground pin.


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