What is a Strain Relief?

We all know that an electrical power cord is made up of two or more wires running side by side to form an assembly, in which the ends can connect to two devices, allowing electrical signals to flow from one device to another. However, most of us wonder what that big molded thing at the end of a connector is. That big “thing” is called a strain relief. Sounds pretty self-explanatory, right? Just like its name, a strain relief relieves a cable of stresses and tensions that could break the conductor inside or even the connection between the plug and the cable.

There are different types of strain relief too. The first one always comes molded to the jacket and part of the plug. This type of strain relief is mainly designed to avoid any damage to the conductors and separation of the plug from the cord itself.

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Second, we have a type of strain relief called Cable Glands. Continue reading What is a Strain Relief?

How to Crimp Terminals

I bet you’re wondering what an electrical terminal is. A terminal is the point at which the conductor of an electrical component comes to an end and provides connection to external circuits.

And how do we crimp terminals, you ask?
Let me explain. The word crimping, in this context, means to combine two pieces of metal together by deforming one (or both) to hold the other. It’s called “crimp” because of the deformity.

You’ll need a crimping tool in order to correctly crimp connectors onto the wire. Please remember that pliers are NOT crimpers! To verify that you have the right crimper, the crimper Continue reading How to Crimp Terminals

Hospital-Grade Label

HG LABEL 1Cords used in North America medical equipment must be labeled “Hospital-
Grade.” The plug of this cord is what makes it hospital-grade.

These cords are subject to special requirements in the following standards: Medical Equipment Standards, Power Supply Cord Standards, and Attachment Plug and Receptacle Standards. The special requirement for these standards is that they must be UL and CAN/CSA approved, shown to the right in Figure 1. Continue reading Hospital-Grade Label

Label Your Power Cords: Vol. 2

bread-tie-label-for-cordsFact: behind every computer desk lies multiple power cords and connecting peripheral cables.  Usually, not all of them are neat, and in fact- most are a complete mess.  Some may even pose a shock and fire hazard. In Part 1 of this series, we learned how to make useful labels for power cords out of file folder labels. This form of organization works to de-clutter and minimize your workspace, allowing for clarity and peace of mind. In this next installment, we’ll take a look at how to make power cord labels out of even more readily available household items: plastic bread tags and duct tape.

Continue reading Label Your Power Cords: Vol. 2

Ferrite Beads: What are they?

IEC-60320-C13 GREY WITH FERRITE_GREYYou see them all the time on your power cords. They may look like a little mini donuts or tubes close to one end of the power cord but what are they and why do we need them? Those are called ferrite beads and they are very useful in reducing electromagnet interference (EFI) and radio frequency (RFI). This can be important when you don’t want your machines to have any disruptions or interference of other kinds of signals. The beads can also be referred to by different names such as blocks, cores, rings, EMI filters and chokes.

Continue reading Ferrite Beads: What are they?