electrical standards

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.

Universal Adapters

Uni Receptacle

Ever seen one of these and wondered what in the world that is? It is a universal receptacle used for electrical plugs. But not just any, plugs from all over the world! Which is great for all you travelers out there that bring business with you.

A Universal Receptacle features the insertion opening design, allowing it to accept plugs that conform to any International or North American standard. Here at Quail, we offer all plugs from various countries that are compatible with the universal receptacle.

The image below demonstrates a few different cords featuring a country plug on one side and connected to the Universal receptacle on the other.


Now that you are bringing business along with you, I bet you’re wondering about the outlets in that foreign country. This is where a Universal Adapter comes into play. Continue reading Universal Adapters

International Cord Regulations

EUROPEAN_SEV_OVE_KEMA_CEBECInternational approvals can be difficult to understand. Especially when you see a drawing or a specification sheet and only one end of the power cord is approved and not the other. I mean, how can only one part of a cord be approved while the rest is not? To me, that does not make much sense.

If you look into it, in most cases, a power cord is not approved as a whole but in different sections. The plug, the wire, and the connector are all approved separately. They each have a different set of rules they need to follow. But when all countries are using the same IEC standard connector each approval agency will treat things differently. Such as China and Argentina approving the whole cord set instead of separate pieces.

International_Electrotechnical_Commission_LogoIt all comes down to IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and what they consider as standards. While there are many different approval agencies per country they all use the same IEC connectors. That means they all have to follow IEC regulations. According to IEC 60799 5.2.2., it states “The rated current of the plug shall be not less than the rated current of the connector.” This means the connector cannot have a higher rating than the plug attached. Continue reading International Cord Regulations

Put the Power Cord to the Test

Today we’ll be discussing the various “testing” cords must go through in order to be 100% ready to go and meet the requirements for the UL standards (or international safety agency approvals) of cord sets and power cord supplies.

UL generates standards and test procedures for products and equipment focusing on product safety. Power cords undergo some of the most common tests:insulation

  1. A grounding test. The purpose of a grounding test is to protect the consumer from hazards that can be caused by a faulty ground connection. A ground bond test is a high current AC test that measures resistance of the ground path under high current conditions.
  2. The continuity test is carried out under high current, simulating a fault to earth. This test is performed by applying an AC or DC current between the conductive surface and protective earth.
  3. There is a hi-pot test. This is a stress test of the insulation of a device under test DUT (Device Under Test). This means the voltage used in a hi-pot test can either be AC or DC.

Continue reading Put the Power Cord to the Test

The CE Marking

CE rating 1All electronic devices sold in Europe carry an additional feature, the CE Marking. However, the power cord does not require the marking because it is an electrical component, not the finished product. This mark is the “European Conformity”, or in French known as the “Conformité Européenne.” It is essentially the electronic devices passport that allows it to gain access to Europe. Continue reading The CE Marking

Understanding the Overall Rating of a Power Cord

electricity-1-1024x768When it comes to understanding the rating of a power cord, there are a handful of factors to consider directly related to the amperage and voltage of the cord. Each element of a power cord has a maximum rating as an individual component. The elements are the plug, the wire, and the connector.  The overall rating of a power cord is effectively the weakest link out of these ratings.  Here, we take our popular 2500.072 power cord as an example:

Continue reading Understanding the Overall Rating of a Power Cord

Brazil Standard

FlagBrazil is a wonderful, beautiful country filled with rich history and culture.  However, previous to 2010, the country was lacking in one major area; electrical standardization. There was no formal Brazil standard for any electrical sockets or plugs.  Since there was no standard, that led to a total of eight different kinds of plugs.  That’s right; eight!  The multitude of options caused Brazilian citizens and tourists alike to have a difficult time connecting different plugs and wires for numerous electronic devices. Continue reading Brazil Standard

Hospital Grade Lighted Cords

emergencyHospitals are great. Sure, they get a bad rap sometimes, but think about it. Everyone who works in the hospital, from the doctors to the janitors, each works together in unison, to try and save people’s lives. Yes, even the janitor. They are responsible for cleanliness, which is the cornerstone of fighting disease. But with so many people relying on so many different electronic devices, it’s important to guarantee power at all times, from operating room machines to power cleaners.  That’s where Hospital Grade Lighted power cords come into play! Continue reading Hospital Grade Lighted Cords

Tri-Approval Trifecta!

ApprovalsThere’s a lot that goes into electronics. It’s not as simple as that potato powered clock you made in third grade. One of the most common questions I get about understanding electronics is about standards. Often times, you see stamps on various electrical components, such as VDE, UL, and C-UL. What do these standards mean? And what can they tell us about these electronics? And what is tri-approval?

approval and plugsWe’ll start with an explanation for each. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, which issues safety standards for different products. It is commonly viewed as the North American standard. Founded in 1884, the UL strives to promote safe work and home environments and to support the implementation of products that have guaranteed safety.  C-UL denotes the Canadian listing program implemented by UL. C-UL is most commonly understood as the certification mark for Canada. VDE is also known as the Association for Electrical, Electronic, and Information Technologies, and is based in Germany.  However, VDE is seen as the international standard. The DKE is the standards division of the VDE, whose aim is to foster standards to ensure global safety and the promotion of technological usage. Continue reading Tri-Approval Trifecta!