Applications

International Powercords & Cordsets

    Specifying International Cords

    Selection of the appropriate power cord (plug or connector on cable) or cordset (plug & connector on cable) for each export market is an important step the equipment designer takes to ensure the product can be easily plugged-in and used by their customers.

    Choosing a cord involves four steps:

    1. Identifying the correct plug for the country

    2. Determining the desired current rating of the power cord or cordset

    3. Choosing the correct cable

    4. If a cordset, choosing an appropriate IEC 60320 power connector

    Plug and Socket Standards

    There are 13 standard plug/socket patterns used throughout the world, for Class I and Class II applications, with current ratings from 2.5-16A, depending on the country and agency. Standards refer to Continental Europe, ‘Europlug’, Argentina, Australia, China, Denmark, India/South Africa, Israel, Italy, Japan, North America, Switzerland, and the UK & Ireland.

    IEC 60320 Power Connections

    Whenever a detachable cordset is used, the mating connector must be included in the specification for the equipment. The connectors used throughout most of the world are defined in the IEC publication 60320. A common example is described as the standard sheet C13 connector and C14 inlet.

    The C13 is rated by most approvals agencies at 10A, at 70°C. UL and CSA allow its use up to 15A (220–240Vac). Cordsets, with moulded cable connectors are available for most countries. These detachable cordsets make it easy for manufacturers to export products by using international plugs with the common IEC 60320 C13 connector.

    Power Cord & Cordset Approvals

    Most approvals agencies test and approve moulded plugs and appliance connectors separately. The approval documents normally specify a limited range of cable types, which are acceptable for use with moulded plugs or IEC 60320 connectors. A typical power cord will have ‘two’ separate approval documents and cordset ‘three’. One will describe the moulded plug and the types of acceptable cable. The second will reference the moulded connector, again with types of acceptable cable. The third will cover the cable itself.

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