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Definition of IEC Power Cables and the Benefits of IEC Cabling Usage

IEC Connectors

The majority of people interact with electrical appliances in their homes and offices that utilise IEC type connections. Whether it’s a desktop computer, notebook, printer or an electric kettle, at least one of these devices will have an IEC type interface. This enables manufacturers to produce the same product for numerous countries, as a result, only requires the country to conform to the correct IEC power cord set.

The acronym IEC is abbreviated from International Electrotechnical Commission. Furthermore the IEC 60320 set of standards governs the IEC power cords outlined in this article. These standards have established specifications such as operating current and voltage, maximum temperature and if earth pins are required. Since some appliances are double insulated several IEC types don’t have earth pins.

An IEC power cord fundamentally is a mains lead that supplies electricity to electrical appliances rated up to 250 volts maximum, that utilise specific couplers and connectors for interconnection, such as for, computers, servers, notebooks, printers and power distribution units’.

The IEC 60320-1 standards define appliance couplers and connectors with a letter and subsequent number for easy identification, such as the C5 and C6 appliance couplers. Furthermore the appliance couplers are known as either an appliance inlet with male gender or a connector with female gender.

There are numerous IEC appliance couplers specified in the 60320-1 standards suitable for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, as well as, hospital medical equipment. ICT power cords predominantly utilise IEC C5 / C6C13 / C14C15 / C16 and C19 / C20 interfaces for interconnecting their power supply. Whereas the orange medical power leads interconnected with sensitive medical equipment mainly utilise C13 / C14 couplers.

A computer desktop power supply is made to interconnect with a power cord set such as C13 / C14. If the ICT staff tries to connect with a different plug then they won’t be able to. This ensures the appropriate cables are interconnected to the correct computer hardware every time.

On laptops and notebooks you’ll find power cord sets are different because they utilise step-down transformers for low voltage, as well as, the physical size of laptops is smaller. The C5 / C6 couplers are widely used for the DC power supply to AC adapters’ connectivity. However there has been controversy with IEC endeavors to introduce a new common standard in 2013 for power adaptors. Moreover relevant stakeholders have been reluctant to agree on a universal standard.

There are several key benefits for interconnecting Electrotechnical devices with IEC Connectors:

1. Specifications for energy rating are established for these products, for example, current rating, maximum voltage, pin temperature and earth requirements are known standards.

2. Couplers and connectors are manufactured to a universally recognised size for secure connection to Electrotechnical devices. Since there are many inferior products on the market its ideal to utilise products made to the high standards.

3. Best practice collaboration by manufacturers, test laboratories, regulators and industry usually design and develop high-quality products.

4. Industrialised countries governing bodies and regulators, in general, ensure these products are certified to IEC International Standards when being imported into their country.

5. You’ll find these standardisation items are much safer to utilise and prevent hazards.

As aforementioned the appliance couplers standards mitigate the manufacturers’ difficulties in selling the same product globally. This is ultimately advantageous for consumers operating Electrotechnical devices with IEC Connectors.