What You Need to Know About Power Cords

The construction of power cords is subject to many regulations, including their voltage rating, maximum cable temperature, jacket material, and molded plug or female receptacle type. Manufacturers can customize their cords to meet specific requirements, however, and their gauge, wire, and insulation may differ depending on the type of application. For example, rugged outdoor applications often require waterproof jackets, while those placed near radio frequency equipment may need additional shielding.

The plug and receptacle used with power cords are often labeled with the NEMA standard. Most power outlets in North America are NEMA 5-15R, and they are three-wire circuits rated at 15 amps. Another common cord is a NEMA 5-15P to NEMA 15R power cord. You may also see NEMA 5-15P to C13 or NEMA 5-15P to  l14-30 C15 power cord.

In general, a power cord needs to be about three to six feet long. The length of the cord is directly proportional to the amperage, and the gauge, or AWG, must be higher for more power. Fortunately, there are wire gauge standards for convenience and safety. Generally speaking, the lower the gauge, the thinner the wire. Thick wires can carry more electrical power, but they also have less resistance. Regardless of where you use your power cord, the quality of the cord is important.

Power cords also have to be made to meet the IEC 60320 standard, which sets the international standard for power cords. The IEC 60320 standard specifies a wide range of voltages, currents, and temperatures, but not all countries recognize this international standard. Generally, power cords that have IEC 60320 standards are designated with a “C” code, which represents the connector code standard. The IEC 60320 standard specifies different types of connectors for various combinations of voltage, current, and temperature.

Interpower manufactures various types of power cords and cord sets. Interpower follows North American and international standards and regulations. The company uses a method to determine the amperage rating on cords over fifty feet. The method also derates cables for the cable used in assembly. The length of power cords is generally measured from the face of the connector to the plug, excluding the pins. The manufacturer also follows a standard of measurement when preparing power cords.

In the United States, cord sets are commonly referred to as a cord set. These sets are generally made of two different materials, a conductive wire and an insulating material. Copper wire is used in most cord sets, and a wire jacket is a protective layer. The jacketing material is made from thermoplastic or rubber. In addition, cords are covered with silicone and neoprene. This protection is essential for safety.