What are the production processes and steps involved in producing a mains powered device that plugs into a standard mains socket (like a smart plug for example). Mains plug pins are usually made of brass or steel, afaik. And for most countries, there is a plastic sleeve at the end of L&N pins to prevent fingers from reaching live pins as they are inserted / removed. This would require an insert to the injection mold.

Alternatively, since engineering is about lateral as well as brute force thinking, can you just buy brass plug socket parts of the shelf rather than manufacture them to order. How would this impact on the process?

Please elaborate with as much detail as possible!


1 Answer 1


The AC power plugs vary a lot country to country. You will need to know how you plan to attach the pins to your circuit; ex wire solder cup, wire crimp, pcb surface mount solder, or pcb through hole solder. The exact manufacturing methods vary greatly based on those choices.

Unless you have unique requirements, I would definitely recommend sourcing pins rather than manufacturing them yourself. Alibaba is probably the best place to source ready made pins. Generally above $2000 order value the vendors will be able to do some customization.
Alibaba Vendor 1
Alibaba Vendor 2

Another nice thing about the vendors on Alibaba is that they generally share a video educating you on the manufacturing process. One shows the stamping process while the other shows the plastic over molding process.

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting point on attachment to PCB. Direct PCB connection would seem the least labour intensive. Or is that a poor assumption? It seems that the Surface mount approach would require an additional manual stage anyway, so might as well do through hole for robustness? I'd be fascinated to hear your thoughts on pros and cons of the various approaches in terms of impact on manufacturing process. $\endgroup$
    – monkey
    Feb 28, 2021 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ Generally surface mount is cheaper because it is easier to automate. You will have to check with the capabilities of the fabrication company you choose. There is also a process called wave soldering where through hole components can also be soldered automatically. Again you will have to check with your fabricator and they will be able to advise. Either will be sufficiently strong since the over molded plastic will take majority of the physical loads on the pins $\endgroup$
    – ericnutsch
    Feb 28, 2021 at 23:30

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