Never Cut the Ground Pin

Now the title of this post may lead to some initial confusion.  Some of you may be asking, “what is a ground pin?”  For those of you who are more familiar with plugs may be asking, “why would you even cut one off?”  And, unfortunately, some may be asking,  “what’s the big deal with cutting it off?”

Let’s cover some basics.  For those of you who are not up to date on plug anatomy, we’ll start simple.

ground pinFirst, look at a 3-prong plug (this one is called a NEMA 5-15P).  Notice that there are two flat pins shaped similarly with a third rounded one.  The rounded pin is called the ground pin.  Now, look at your outlet.  If your house or office was built after the 1920’s, you should notice that there are three holes (the outlet for a NEMA 5-15P is called the NEMA 5-15R). Two are side by side and one is at the bottom, forming the “mouth” of the outlet’s face.  This mouth is referred to as the grounded hole and perfectly fits the ground pin.

You may notice that two-pronged equipment works just as well as 3-pronged equipment in these outlets.  Maybe you only have access to 2-prong outlets but are stuck with a 3-prong device.  Or perhaps you realized that you bought a 2-prong extension cord instead of one with 3-prongs.  You figure the equipment you are using will work just as well without the ground pin, and decide to cut it off.  What you are doing, however, can be very dangerous. Continue reading Never Cut the Ground Pin

UL Implements New Regulation

The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) regulations are always changing to keep up with the growing electronics industry. As of July 1, 2015, all UL Listed power supply cords are required to show a specific marking on the plug.

There will be three separate markings depending on the region they are used for. For the USA, there will be one Underwriters Lab brand marking. Another branded mark will show a C-UL/UL mark for USA and Canada, and the third mark will be C-UL just for Canada.ul marking

Many products require redesign or modification before meeting the Underwriters Laboratories’ requirements and becoming eligible for the marking. Continue reading UL Implements New Regulation

Power in Style with Colored Cords

Admit it: you are a bit of an obsessive organizer. You like to keep things tidy and in order. Why not do the same with your electrical solutions? Take your personality to the next level with colored cables and power cords.colored cords

To help make your life easier, instead of labeling them, you can use colored cords to distinguish equipment. Colored cords feature quick, low-profile identification of equipment, so there’s no need to frantically search for power connections designed to specific devices.

You can even organize devices based on vitality. Use red power cords for critical equipment. When constantly rearranging devices, green or blue may come in handy. Using colored power cords is an efficient way of color coding your electrical system. No more guessing or accidental disconnects due to cord hegemony.

Continue reading Power in Style with Colored Cords

Locking NEMA: One Twist and You’re Connected!

Locking NEMA

Locking nema plugWhen powering your devices at work, a construction site, or even your at-home appliances, a secure connection is vital in high-voltage applications. If your cord accidentally disconnects, exposed conductors can cause serious electrical hazards. When power cords are used in the most heavy-duty situations, it is important that the plugs and connectors stay attached no matter what. That is why we offer high-voltage, Locking NEMA power cords. Our Locking NEMA plugs lock into place and with just one twist, you are securely connected to the most industrial-grade electrical solutions.

Locking configurations are used in many commercial and residential settings. Among the most popular, is for powering Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) backup hardware. The backup hardware includes data servers with high-voltage connectivity. A UPS provides instant protection in environments where a power outage could be potentially devastating, leading to severe business disruption or data loss. Continue reading Locking NEMA: One Twist and You’re Connected!

Flame Rating. Feel the Burn.

In a blog posted a few months back, when discussing test procedures, we mentioned multiple tests that power cords must undergo before being approved by safety agencies. To refresh your memory, some of the tests we talked about were:

  • Grounding test
  • Continuity test
  • Hi-pot test
  • Polarity test
  • Insulation test
  • Pull-test

ul94-testingToday we will be discussing another important test to be done – flame rating (or flame resistance) test. Fire safety is a huge concern when working with all different types of wires, cables, and cords. All safety measures should be taken to make sure your power cord meets fire prevention requirements for the device. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) focus specifically on product safety. In order for your power cord to be approved by UL Standards, it must first go through multiple flame tests.

First, we’ll start with an FT2 horizontal flame test for flexible cords. This test includes a series of cycles. In the course of each cycle, a burner flame burns a horizontal sample for 15 seconds then is turned off for an additional 15 seconds. Or it will burn until the sample stops smoking before 15 seconds have passed and must not go beyond 100mm from end to end. This process is repeated 5 times. Continue reading Flame Rating. Feel the Burn.

A Knight In Shielded Wire

knightShielded wire may conjure up images of a brave and noble wire wearing armor to scale a castle, slay the dragon and rescue Princess Plug-ella. That could make a wonderful children’s book. However, that is not the case now.  Although shielded wires may not wear armor, it does provide protection, especially in the face of electromagnetic interference.

Electromagnetic interference, or EMI, refers to any electromagnetic disturbance that can inhibit the working of electronic devices. For example, if you have ever placed your cell phone too close to your computer, it probably emitted a static sound. This interference can temporarily or permanently (depending on the device) impact an electronic device. This is very important for people who rely on radios for communication.  If there is too much interference, it can be impossible to hear important updates. Continue reading A Knight In Shielded Wire

Power Cord Not Power Chord, Let’s Rock n Roll!


This is an evaluation image and is Copyright Pamela Perry. Do not publish without acquiring a license. Image number: 0515-1002-0104-1454. you ever find yourself researching information on power cords but end up on a Rolling Stones fan site? Or maybe you’re just trying to shred on the guitar but you keep coming up on computer cord websites.

People are often confused. Is it a power cord, or a power chord? Let me help with a better understanding. First, a power chord is a type of guitar chord used frequently in rock and roll music on electric guitars. Second, a power cord is a cable that supplies electricity to electronic devices.

Before you leave us in search of leather pants and vinyl records, power cords, and power chords are a lot more similar than you think! After all, you cannot rock out on your electric guitar without a power cord. And much like power chords connect a song together, power cords connect much of the world around you! You wouldn’t be able to read this enlightening blog post without a power cord. You can’t even work your microwave without a power cord! Electricity has become a staple feature in our lives, and power cords supply that to us.

To show you how much we think power cords ROCK, here are a few of our favorite uses for power cords!

Our first favorite use for power cords are for computers and laptops. Some people can’t stand the idea of growing technology, saying it weakens human contact and social interaction. Continue reading Power Cord Not Power Chord, Let’s Rock n Roll!

Snap-On and Screw-On Inlets

Snap-On and Screw-On Inlets

For today’s “how-to” topic, we will be discussing how to mount a power inlet/outlet onto a device.

There are two different types of ways to mount a power connector. One way is referred to as a Snap-On inlet (as the IEC-C20 inlet shown below). For example, in the data center located in your office building, the Snap-On inlet would be mounted on by inserting into the server rack. Soldered ends or quick disconnect terminals connect to your equipment’s live wires to the metal tabs at the back of the inlet. The “lips,” (highlighted below) which are small pieces of plastic on the sides, holds the inlet in place once connected to the server.

snap-on c20 - lips

 The second type is called a Screw-On inlet. Continue reading Snap-On and Screw-On Inlets

Power Strip vs. Surge Protector

The common misunderstanding of them being the same thing has led most people confused when learning the differences between power strips and surge protectors. Both come hand in hand more often than people think, however not ALL power strips are surge protected. Allow me to clear up the misunderstanding.

First of all, a power strip (such as Image 1 shown below) is an electrical unit, providing multiple electrical sockets (contained in an electrically shielded case) to be shared while being plugged into one wall outlet. While a surge protector, on the other hand, (see Image 2) is an electrical component, added to the power strip that is designed to protect the devices plugged into the power strip from an electrical surge. A way to tell the difference is that a surge protector will show a light indicator on the unit, indicating that is it protected. An electrical surge occurs when there is a spike, or increase in voltage in an electrical line. Voltage spikes can be caused by lightning strikes, power outages, tripped circuit breakers, short circuits and more. A surge protector will detect when voltage is about to spike, and divert the extra voltage to the grounding wire. Thus, none of your electronic devices will be harmed.

Image 1

image 1

Continue reading Power Strip vs. Surge Protector