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How To Use The Sri Lankan 3 Prong Euro Style Plug

Weird Sri Lanka 3 Prong Outlet
The strange three prong outlet of Sri Lanka, how do you plug in here?

It took a while, but eventually I figured it out. The Sri Lankan outlets were unlike any I’ve seen in any other country. They looked as though my Euro 2 round prongs adapter should work, however it would not fit in the socket. After unplugging everything in my room and not being able to plug it back in I began to get frustrated. The lamps and TV were plugged in as you’d expect, just leaving the upper 3rd prong empty, similar to a lot of US plugs where they have the optional ground hole. I tried a lot of things, including brute force, but nothing worked. Eventually it hit me, that maybe I should plug it in diagonally because there was another outlet in my bathroom which had 3 holes as well, but for a US style plug, and if you used the left 2 it was 110 volts, and if you used the right 2 it was 220 volts. I gave it a shot, and accidentally shorted something and shut down power in my whole section of the hotel (not the first time I’ve done this abroad messing around with strange power adapter configurations).

After the power went out I decided it was time for dinner and took a break. An hour later I returned, very tentatively, to figure this out. The power was back on, and I was scared to short it again, but I went for it. I noticed most of the larger upper round holes had strange marks around them, but assumed it was from sparks or something. Then it clicked, I looked close at the bottom holes, and the reason the plug did not fit, was because they were covered just beyond the shadows. In Sri Lanka they have some sort of safety precaution where you have to put something in the top hole in order to open the bottom 2. I pushed the round prong of my laptop cord into the top hole, opening the bottom 2, then plugged my adapter in no problem. Afterwards I realized the marks above the top hole on all the outlets was pen, from people using their pens to unlock the socket. The next hotel I stayed at used lamps with 3 prongs, the top prong was longer than the others so it could open the socket smoothly as you plugged it in.

If you find yourself using this trick in Sri Lanka, please make sure the socket is switched off before messing around like this.

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