electrical power cords

When The Voltage Drops

Voltage drop explains how the energy of a voltage source is decreased as electrical current flows through the passive elements (elements that do not supply voltage) of an electrical circuit. The issue becomes important when the length of wire becomes elongated. A common analogy used to explain voltage, current, and voltage drop is a garden hose. Voltage would be the water pressure supplied to the hose. Current would be the water flowing through the hose. And the inherent resistance of the hose is determined by the type and size of the hose, just like how type and size of an electrical wire determine its resistance.volt

Excessive voltage drop can cause loss of efficiency of light, motors, and appliances. This could result in lights that are dim with a decreased life expectancy for motors or appliances. To avoid excessive voltage drop, select a wire size that will minimize voltage drop. You need to know the length of the wire run and the amp load or current that will be on the circuit. To determine amps, add up the wattage of all electrical devices that will be on the circuit and divide that total by the voltage of the circuit, 110 or 220. Continue reading When The Voltage Drops

IEC Has Gone Commando

commando plugHere you are, searching for a quality plug suited for all of your industrial needs. Perhaps you need to provide electricity to your construction site. Maybe you need to power important machinery in your factory. No matter your industrial need, you’re probably looking for a Commando plug, and you may be surprised to realize that there is no listing under Commando Plug! Well, let’s take a second to dive into its history, or more properly, the history of the IEC 60309.

If you’re searching for “Commando plug”, you’re actually referring to the IEC 60309. The “Pin and Sleeve” is another common name for the IEC 60309.  The IEC 60309 is the international standard created by the International Electrotechnical Commission for industrial purposes. After the standard was created, countries began adopting it and slightly changing the name, either for their own standards or their own colloquial terminology. Continue reading IEC Has Gone Commando

Termination: Wire and Cable

Termination – for all of you getting flashbacks to old Arnold Schwarzenegger films, take a deep breath, I’ll be back.

In this blog, we’ll be talking about the different ways to terminate (or end), a cord. People have different reasons for choosing certain ends to cords.

Cords can end in three different ways: First, we have the typical plug and connector. Then, there’s a stripped wire, and following is custom termination. Standard power cords feature a plug and a connector. These types of cords can be used to power computers, appliances, electronics, etc. Both ends can be plugged in or unplugged.

wire and cable

Continue reading Termination: Wire and Cable

Understanding Every Angle

Power cords with angles can be a bit tricky. Understanding one’s left from right involves acute perspective. In a matter to simplify a rather confusing topic (and thereby curing any predisposed dyslexia), I am providing a comprehensive overview of understanding the difference between IEC and NEMA power cord angles.NEMA-LogoIEC-logo

Angled power cords  feature a number of benefits:  they’re ideal for use in confined spaces, as well as eliminating stress placed on the power cord conductors and the strain relief. The space-saving angled power cords provide substantial value when equipment is positioned in atypical ways, such as behind home/office furniture or anywhere with limited clearance.

People often use the term “right angle” to describe a 90-degree angle (or elbow). In reality, this could be four different directions: up, down, left, or right. This post will help you recognize the different power cord angles and how to read them based on their layout.

We will examine two of the most popular plugs and connectors – NEMA and IEC. Both NEMA and IEC cords have a particular way of determining how the power cord angles are named based on cord direction. Continue reading Understanding Every Angle

Molded or Mechanical

When it comes to choosing a power cord for your electronic device, you can either choose between assembled (mechanical) and an over-molded (molded) cord. An over-molded cord is built using an injection molding process, which combines two or more materials with a molded plastic component over them to create a single part. Molding consolidates materials and parts and usually eliminates the need for an additional assembly. Over-molded cords increase reliability and deliver a completely assembled product.molded

An assembled cord consists of components that must be hard-wired prior to use. The connector is manually connected to the cord. Methods such as screw and clamp designs are often labor-intensive procedures used in the manufacturing of assembled connectors. The manufacturing process will also require tools to open the casing and other various electrical assembly, including modification and wiring.

On the other end of the spectrum, the flexibility of an over-molded plug’s design makes adding personalized customization seamless for the consumer. Mold colors and custom wires can coincide with various electronic components to create a more personalized application. The molded design also provides strain relief, which is good for frequent usage and plug-and-play accessibility. Continue reading Molded or Mechanical

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.

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. http://www.acclaimimages.com/_gallery/_pages/0515-1002-0104-1454.htmlDo 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!

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

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?