tips on how-to

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

Don’t Be Shocked What The Holidays Bring!

It is crucial to practice electrical safety. Especially during the holidays! Here is an easy way to remember to be extra cautious this year, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” style!

On the first day of Christmas, my true love said to me, “Check for bare wires… before you wrap the tree!”


On the second day of Christmas, my true love said to me, “Avoid overloading outlets… only plug one device… into each!” Continue reading Don’t Be Shocked What The Holidays Bring!

Identifying Male and Female

For electrical power cords, technicians refer to the ends as male and female. The male being the plug and the female being the receptacle or socket.

Almost every electronic device that you use in your home or office or anywhere for that matter, have ends that come in male and female components. I bet you’re a little confused as to what that means. This standard design ensures that one end fits only with the opposite gender, helping to regulate cables for power and digital signals.

The male differs from the female in that it has one or more projecting pins designed as a live contact, a neutral contact, and an optional earth (ground) contact, separated by a plastic insulator. The female has one or more sockets just big enough to accept the male pins and provides a connection point that delivers electricity once the plug is placed into it. Males can also have 2-3 conductors (pins) and females also, can have 2-3 holes (sockets).

The images below show an IEC connector that refers to the power supply inlet which is commonly seen on desktop PC power supplies.

C14 (male) power inlet, the gender of the end is defined by the pins within the hood – either 2 or 3 conductors

c14 end

Continue reading Identifying Male and Female

Coiled VS. Coiled

Picture this: you’re in need of some power cords. You call Quail Electronics requesting a coiled cord. The sales representative asks you, “would you like a coiled cord or for your cords to be packaged in a coiled form?” Well, now you’re confused, thinking ‘what’s the difference?’ Today I will be explaining coiled vs. coiled.

First, we have coiled as in the way it’s packaged. For example, you can have your cords packaged in a form which can either be hanked (often described as a figure 8 wrapping) see Image 1,   hanked

OR you can have them coiled as a “loop,” as shown in Image 2image 2

Continue reading Coiled VS. Coiled

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

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

Halloween Electrical Safety

HalloweenPowerCordIt’s that time of year again, when things get a little spooky.  The stairs creak a louder, there seems to be more sounds in the dark, and even though you know it’s your neighbor’s dog, you can’t help but think “Werewolf” when you hear it howl at night.  The spookiest thing for me, though, is Halloween electrical safety.

With all of your lighting and blow up vampires and ghastly decorations, it’s very easy to get swept up in the holiday spirit.  However, Halloween electrical safety is very important.  The first thing to check when unloading old decorations is that there are no frayed or exposed wires.  Decorations can sit in storage for so long that you never know what little creatures may have chewed through the wire, or what kind of damage they may have suffered. Continue reading Halloween Electrical Safety