What are the most common generic phrases for connecting something into a power supply? I'm translating a description of a lab procedure, and there's a lot of phrases like this:

Connect the microplate reader to a power supply.

The Russian phase actually says "to the power grid" (в сеть), but that's not important, the main purpose here is to indicate that the unit is to be connected to a source of power. "Включить в сеть" (connect to the power grid/network) is just a stock phrase in Russian; the "grid" may be a battery-based autonomous power source just as well (while, of course, it's a power grid 99.99% of the time).

  • If a manual says you should connect it to an electrical power source that is not a power supply then I recommend you not to use power supplies and instead use electrical outlet or wall outlet. – SovereignSun Jul 25 '17 at 13:28

On DIY forums, you'll often see the phrase "connect the X to the mains" which is an analogue of your "to the power grid". But it won't mean "to a battery".

Since lab equipment can be plugged into a number of things in addition to an electrical outlet, plug in is probably not the optimal word here. It's idiomatic but imprecise in context.

  • Lab equipment is usually plugged into a wall outlet with the AC power. Most manuals say not to connect lab equipment to power strips, power supplies, or power feeds. – SovereignSun Jul 25 '17 at 13:24
  • 1
    "The mains" refers to the power coming in from the street, the "grid" of the electric company. I don't work much with lab equipment, and have no sense of what "most manuals" say, but I'd bet that some equipment is sensitive enough and expensive enough that you'd want to plug it into a line conditioner of some kind, not directly into a wall outlet. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 25 '17 at 13:37
  • It much depends on what lab equipment one is talking about. Most of the equipment to examine human eyes in clinics is plugged into a wall outlet. In the university where my wife works all their lab equipment and devices are plugged into the electrical outlets. – SovereignSun Jul 25 '17 at 13:42

The most common ones I know are:

  • Plug into or in
  • Connect to
  • Insert the plug into or in
  • Feed (informal as far as I remember)

In Russian "сеть" is actually any electrical power source that provides electricity, such as an electrical outlet for instance. In informal Russian we would never say "Включи в сеть", we would say "Запитай".

In English we would say:

  • Plug in the microphone.
  • Plug the microphone into the power supply.
  • Plug the microphone into the electrical outlet.
  • Connect the microphone to an electrical power source.

You could also consider using the words AC and DC.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.