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I know this is a basic question, but I havent found an answer online. I am lost regarding the electrical wall boxes sizes and form factors in my country vs the world.

I have the luck and misfortune to live in Argentina, a country where imports and exports are regulated by the government. I want to upgrade my home to be smart, so I am looking for smart switches, lights, motion sensors, etc.

There are almost zero products available locally so I'm forced to buy abroad via AliExpress or Amazon. The problem I face is that I have no clue if these devices will fit in my walls. In Argentina there is only one standard size for electrical boxes which is 5cm by 10cm:

Argentina 5cm by 10cm electrical box

For example: This product looks like needs a square box, but I am not sure.

enter image description here

How do I find out which devices fit in my wall boxes? Is there a standard? worldwide? Is there a way I can tell, some spec in the product description to find out? Or should I assume anything 'rectangular' should fit?

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  • In the us device boxes are sized by 1 gang / single gang or 2 gang / double gang our devices fit by these specifications. There are differences as some boxes are slightly wider than others so the devices for UK are usually not a clean match a 4x4 box with a 2 gang device cover will fit 2 of our devices. There are different types of covers but many are based on the ampacity of the receptacle so without specific sizes of the devices it would be hard to tell.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 22 at 14:50
  • Although this kind of looks like the slots could layout for two US 2-gang mud ring the device is too small, the exposed shoulders of a mud ring are 3.72" . hubbellcdn.com/salesdrawings/769B.pdf Jun 22 at 15:02
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    Your 5x10cm box looks very much to be the US standard 2x4 inch single-gang "handy box". My guess would be that any product designed for the US "single-gang" box would fit in that. So long as you have a liberal (and affordable) return policy, it may not hurt to purchase 1 of each item you're contemplating to see if it will, indeed fit, then return the ones that don't. Alternatively, contact the manufacturer to ask - possibly provide them link to the kind of box that you have available to you to ask them if it will mate.
    – FreeMan
    Jun 22 at 15:29
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    You need to really watch out for safety. You're dealing with 220V-240V (based on a quick search for Argentina). In particular, while Amazon stuff may be 100% or may not, the AliExpress stuff is guaranteed to not be certified to any real (e.g., UL or ETL) standards. Which could kill you or burn your house down (or both). Argentina's a big country, I'd be shocked (pun intended) if there wasn't a Home Depot or equivalent with appropriate products. Or an electrical supply house or an ordinary hardware store. Jun 22 at 15:42
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    @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact You will be shocked. People voted for socialism and it means no imports, no availability for smart home devices, unless you pay double on a few available units available on mercadolibre ( a kind of latam amazon/ebay ) Jun 23 at 16:19
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TLDR: use UL, CSA or ETL listed North American gear that is labeled for a range of voltages inclusive of yours.

For instance North America uses 277V a lot for lighting, so many smart switches are UL-listed for 120-277V.

Argentina uses North American junction box sizes.

That box is exactly the form factor of the common US/Canada/Mexico junction box. (120V countries).

I am told Australia/New Zealand use the same box size (230V countries).

So, I think probably anything for the AuNZ market should fit your boxes and work.

And definitely anything made for the USA/Canada market will fit your boxes... the 230V question is, "Will it work on 230V???" For that, you'll have to go item by item. Many items will. See third section.

DON'T buy cheap Cheese junk!!!!

Amazon and Alibaba sell equipment that is dangerous. It isn't guarded to avoid shocking or starting a fire. It's made of the wrong plastic so arcing inside it will catch it on fire, and it will emit toxic smoke as it burns. It'll kill you in your sleep. They do these things because it's cheaper.

Any marks of "CE", "CCC", "FCC" or "RoHS" are fake, and do not reflect quality. CE only has force inside the European Union, so it means nothing unless you physically drive to the EU (i.e. French Guinea) and buy it inside a reputable bricks-and-mortar store.

Google "NRTL" for a list of reliable marks which can be counted on: generally; UL, CSA and ETL.

Searching for competent, listed US/CA-market smart devices capable of operating on 230V seems to be the smart play here.

Many genuine NRTL-approved products work on 220V

Because 220V is a North American voltage (well, 240V, but no real difference). And we also use 277V for lighting.

And it's better than ThreePhaseEel says. I randomly checked consumer tier products, and mind you, these are the very first two I randomly checked, I did not cherry pick, so I didn't check 15 to find 2, I checked 2 and found 2.

enter image description here

enter image description here

So yeah. Insteon or Leviton will work fine for you at the least, and I am sure you will find many more if you look.

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    Yeah, commercial-grade North American "smart" stuff will run on anything in the 120-277V range Jun 23 at 11:41
  • I can witness that American sized boxes are used in AU and NZ, but only the screw spacing and opening size is the same. other details are different, due to differences in electrical code.
    – Jasen
    Jun 23 at 12:14
  • Just to clarify, Argentina uses US-compatible single gang boxes exclusively for light switches or plugs, and octagonal in the ceilings or for wall-mounted lights near the ceiling. No square boxes, so square devices won´t fit. Jun 23 at 14:31
  • @GerardoGrignoli because there's no such thing as a square switch box in US CA MX AU NZ wiring. What did I tell you? Don't buy Chinese crud. Square box = chinese crud intended for European markets. Not your thing. As ThreePhaseEel points out, a lot of North American gear is rated for multi-voltage 120-277V, and your voltage is inside that range! Jun 23 at 21:27
  • Most US smart-home products are 110v only. Smart plugs are the US-type, obviously not compatible. So I shop worldwide, as in Amazon Europe. I have no other option. Then, I have to be aware of other countries form factors too and I commented for further readers. Thanks for your advise on Chinese products, I'll be careful with certifications and brands, no need to preach. Jun 24 at 14:18
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UK standard single back boxes are 70x70mm (about 2 3/4 inch square). The fixing lugs are around 60mm (2 3/8 inch) apart. They are available in a variety of depths.

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