Power Cables

IEC 60320 power cables come in normal and high-temperature variants, as well as various rated currents. The connectors have slightly different shapes to ensure thatit is not possible to substitute a cable with a lower temperature orcurrent rating, but that it is possible to use an over-rated cable. Cords also have different types of exterior jackets available toaccommodate environmental variables such as moisture, temperature, oils, sunlight, flexibility, and heavy wear. For example, a heating appliancemay come with a cord designed to withstand accidental contact withheated surfaces.

Worldwide, more than a dozen different types of connectors are usedfor fixed building wiring. Products sold in many different markets can use a standardized IEC 60320 connector and then use a detachable powercord to match the local electrical outlets.

IEC 60320 is a set of international standards specifying non-locking electrical power couplers for the connection of power supply cords to electrical appliance up to 250 V. Couplers described under thesestandards have standardized current and temperature ratings. Use ofstandard inlets and country-specific cord sets allows manufacturers to produce the same appliance for many markets, where only the cord set has to be changed for a particular market. Compatible connectors are also made for equipment that requires power outlets for interconnection.

Different types of connector (distinguished by shape and size) arespecified for different combinations of current, temperature andearthing requirements. Unlike IEC 60309 connectors, they are not coded for voltage; users must ensure that the voltage rating of the equipmentis compatible with the mains supply.

Each type is identified by a standard sheet number, consisting of theletter C followed by a number, where the standard sheet for the inletis 1 higher than the sheet for the corresponding cable connector. As well as the codes given in the specification many types have commonnames. The most common names are IEC connector for the common C13/C14 and the figure eight connector for C7/C8.

C7/C8 Coupler

The non-polarized coupler is commonly known as a figure-8 or shotgunconnector due to the shape of it's cross-section. It is also known as aeuro-connector in electronic shops. The polarized C7 (C7-PW) is asymmetrical; with one side rounded (neutral) and the other side squared off (live).

This coupler are often used for small cassette recorders, battery/mains operated radios, some full size audio-visual equipment,laptop computer power supplies, video game consoles, and similardouble-insulated appliances. Non-polarized C7 connectors can be inserted into polarized C8 inlets; however, doing so might be a safety risk ifthe device is designed to expect polarized power. A C8B inlet type isdefined by the standard, for use by dual-voltage appliances; it can hold a C7 connector in either of two positions, allowing the user to select voltage by choosing the position the connector is inserted.

C13/C14 Coupler

Most desktop computers use the C14 inlet to attach the power cord to the power supply, as do many monitors, printers and other peripherals.

A power cord with a suitable power plug for the locality in which the appliance is used on one end and a C13 connector on the other iscommonly called an IEC cord. IEC cords are used to power many pieces of electronic equipment, including computers, instrument amplifiers and professional audio equipment.