The Relationship between the Plug and Receptacle

Posted by Stephanie Junek on

In the business world, people become very busy. Some businesses will start out small and grow. In this growth, you will need to find yourself a sidekick. This person is a close companion or colleague who is your subordinate, but you would probably not be able to run your business smoothly without your sidekick.

This is the exact same relationship you have between a PLUG and RECEPTACLE.  A plug is a pronged connecting device, which needs a sidekick, also known as a socket.  A receptacle is a contact device allowing the connection of an attachment plug or receptacle.

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You may have read a NEMA configuration or code on an adapter which includes a P or an R after a set of numbers and letters. (Example ASL1430P) NEMA codes are the standard industry electrical connection language used in the U.S.  Some people get confused by the P and the R or by the relationship between the two of them.

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Plugs have metal prongs or pins, allowing them to fit into a connector or female socket which is referred to as a receptacle. Each connector will have a matching sidekick in the form of a plug.

In the office today, you noticed your sidekick didn't have a lunch. You brought a lot of extra food today, so you decided to warm some extra food for your sidekick. You need to power on your microwave to warm lunch for you both. Although, your microwave is brand new so, how do you get power to the device, allowing you to cook?

REAL SOLUTIONS: You cannot get power to your microwave unless you push the plug on the end of the microwave cord into its sidekick, technically referred to as an electrical socket (receptacle) on your wall.

The idea of an office sidekick or powering a microwave, I will admit, is very basic. It does, however, teach us the relationship and differences between the Plug and the Socket. Our customers most commonly asked question is "What do the P and the R mean?" so I wanted to take the time to give a basic understanding of the topic.  

If there are other topics you would enjoy learning about, please comment below. 


Stephanie Junek | Marketing Manager | AC Works Connector

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  • Hello Doug, please see your email. We have provided you with a solution for sending us your image so we can help. Have a great day.

    AC WORKS™ Connector on
  • OK, you are talking about the relationship between a PLUG and RECEPTACLE. I need to find a plug and receptacle that is a special relationship. It is a molded plug and receptacle that has the connection between the neutral of the plug and receptacle open with wires running out the side so they can be connected to a switch. That way the device connected to the receptacle can be switched on and off. I would attach a photo but these is no way to do that. Any ideas? Thanks for your advice.

    Doug on

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