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New Brazilian Standard of Plugs and Sockets

The standard for plugs and sockets in Brazil is the Norma Brasileira (NBR) 14136. Sometimes referred to as the N socket and plug, this design uses two pins with a grounding pin to connect to the wall. These plugs offer two variations, the 10 amp version which has a 4 mm diameter and a 19 mm length. A second option that is designed for larger appliances uses a 4.8 mm diameter and also has a 19 mm length.

For these plugs, there is a design that is unique from others. While closely resembling the Swiss J standard plug, the main difference is the earth pin is placed closer to the center with just 3 mm of distance, rather than a full 5 mm.

Brazil’s Type N plug is designed around the International Electrotechnical Commission’s IEC 60906-1 a 230 V household plug system. This has been the standard set by the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards in order to cut down on the many different styles of plugs that were being frequently used at the time. At one point, as many as 10 different plugs and sockets were in used, including type C plugs. This led to a number of electrical problems that began to go away after the new standards were put into place.

While the power cords and sockets have been standardized, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a risk. While you can tell an N standard plug based on its compact and simple design and the sockets for them area fairly obvious, there is still a concern that has to be addressed.

Currently, Brazil does not have a standardized voltage. This means that you could have a variance of between 127 V and 220 V with a 60 hz frequency in a socket. While many states are now standardizing their voltage to 127 V, those traveling within the country need to be cautious about their electrical use. While a majority of the states still using 220 V are mostly in the North Eastern section of the country, it is still best to check.

A radio that was purchased in Minas Gerais designed for 127 V would virtually become destroyed if plugged into a socket in somewhere like Distrito Federal. While many manufacturers are ensuring their power cords can accommodate both voltage levels, it is important that you know the current levels if are visiting the area. This will help to ensure that you experience less damage. 

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