I have this cable pictured below. It's an IEC C5 "mickey mouse" cable. What's very strange is that the wall connector should be 3-pin, with an earth, whereas this cable has a 2-pin wall connector.

Some context: this cable is from the power supply of a second-hand Dell laptop I bought on eBay. Just to give you an idea, it was sold as an AZERTY laptop, while it's actually an UK QWERTY keyboard, and the vendor switched some keys without saying… So, we know the laptop is from the UK.

FWIW, the cable is 120 cm long.

So, I can't find such a cable anywhere on the web. I'm searching for info about it. Is it a legit Dell cable? (they often do proprietary cables/connectors, so you are forced to buy from them) Has it been manually made?

Bonus question: is it fine/safe to use this earthless cable for my laptop power supply? I'm already using it for more than a year without noticeable issue, and the 2-pin wall connector is more convenient (more compact, broader compatibility).

wtf cable

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is perfectly usable since you can connect schuko to an ungrounded sockets anyways. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeroen3
    Aug 12, 2018 at 13:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good thinking, thanks. I always forget it this way, as I can't even remember the last time I saw an ungrounded wall socket… \$\endgroup\$ Aug 12, 2018 at 13:13

3 Answers 3


I doubt it's an original part.

Note that whilst the others are right, and this should be perfectly usable, since the laptop doesn't need a ground connection and neither does its supply, you might be setting yourself up for a supply that generates unnecessary much noise: in systems where it's not clear what conductor is live and which is neutral, RF is often shorted to PE/ground using appropriate filters. Since notebook chargers are supposed to work in multiple markets, including e.g. Germany, where the Schuko plug doesn't guarantee live / neutral "polarity", RF filters are often integrated into the plugs, leading away RF energy through the protective third connector.

Dell, just like anyone else out there will try to save as much money and space as possible. It's unlikely they'd have a mickey mouse connector without reason.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Indeed, I have a ground loop (buzzing with wired headphones when the laptop is plugged in the wall, and the buzzing is higher when I'm touching the laptop). Would a grounded cable improve this buzzing issue? Also, would this cable extend the lifespan of the components? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 12, 2018 at 13:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GrasDouble I can't give an answer to either of these questions. Luckily, most people know someone who has a laptop charger with a cable that one can borrow to test the humming :) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 12, 2018 at 13:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ I did some researches, it seems the ground is useless for laptop power adapters, and is a recent addition in order to comply with some RF regulations. About the humming issue, it seems adding a ground wouldn't solve it, and might even worsen it. Too bad I can't just try a said 3-pin cable. So, I guess I'll simply stick to this 2-pin cable. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 12, 2018 at 17:48
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ "comply with some RF regulations" is pretty much the opposite of "useless". \$\endgroup\$ Aug 12, 2018 at 20:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry for the extended chat, but yeah, I'll consider again trying a grounded cable. I like pretty much the idea of having less radio waves around me. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 12, 2018 at 21:38

It's very likely that it's not the original lead. Dell wouldn't supply a lead with a Europlug with a UK laptop.

Any lead with a 2 pin plug supplying a 3 pin socket should be considered suspect. If that lead is ever used to supply an earthed appliance, then that would be dangerous.

These cheap aftermarket leads can be very poor quality, using extremely thin copper wire, or else steel or aluminium, to save cost.


That's a CEE 7/16 Alternative II "Europlug" (Type C) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europlug

The power supply for your laptop is likely to be double insulated and does not need a earth connection.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. Indeed it's an europlug. But what is strange is that we find either C5 cables (3 pins on each side) or C7 cables (2 pins on each side), but never a mix of both, as the pictured cable. This thing is definitely not standard, I'm searching for where it's coming from… \$\endgroup\$ Aug 12, 2018 at 13:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ europlugs.com/product-category/iec_c5 \$\endgroup\$
    – D Duck
    Aug 12, 2018 at 13:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice! Are you a google wizard? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 12, 2018 at 13:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nope - just enter: europlug to iec c5 \$\endgroup\$
    – D Duck
    Aug 12, 2018 at 13:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ This being said, these cables seem to be very rare. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 12, 2018 at 13:25

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