Today, power cords are used for numerous domestic and commercial applications. With the increase in use, an extensive collection of power cords is available in the market today. Due to the variety of options, it’s not easy to make the right choice.
If you want to buy a good quality power cord, you should be aware of all the aspects of the power cord. Therefore, this post will shed light on four fundamental things to know about power cords and how you can choose the right option for your electrical needs.
- 1. What is a Power Cord?
A power cord is an electrical component for connecting electrical appliances to a power supply or electrical utility. Most power cord manufacturers utilize copper to produce power cables. These wires are fabricated from insulated non-conducive cables with one or both ends fitted with connectors.
A male plug or connector goes into the extension cord, electrical receptacle, or switch power cord on one end. The other end has a female connector that you attach to the electrical appliance or a different male connector. The female connector is often left out in electrical appliances; instead, a fixed cable replaces it.
Power cords are used in almost every electrical appliance, including TVs, refrigerators, computers, air conditioners, and whatnot. Let’s discuss the different types of power cords.
- Types of Power Cords
The electrical cord market is highly diverse; therefore, you can find various options. Here are some common types of electrical cords you can choose.
International Standards (IEC 60320)
IEC 60320 is the globally accepted standard for electrical cord appliances that carry a maximum of 250 volts. Although many countries worldwide utilize various types of electrical cords, governed by unique requirements for those countries, they still recognize IEC 60320’s international needs.
Different connectors have diverse combinations of current, voltage, and temperature. The most popular connectors are C19, C15, and C13. These connectors are mainly found at data centers.
Furthermore, electrical cords that comply with IEC 60320 utilize odd numbers for the plug numbers and mating receptacle.
AC power cords
AC power cords are primarily designed to supply electrical current from an AC power source to appliances such as power tools, music instruments, etc. Cables carrying alternating currents are typically assembled with wires, insulation of polymer or rubber, and plugs such as casing, prongs, and wire terminals.
Since AC electrical sources have different voltages, manufacturers usually conform to robust specifications like current rating, voltage rating, wire length, size, and sheathing material. The connector attaches to the electrical device, and the plug adheres to the electrical receptacle or power supply.
Generator power cords
These electrical cords are primarily designed to meet a generator’s power demands. You can choose either from 15-amp to 30-amp cables. Generator power cords have different connectors, including 5, TT, L5, L14, and 14. You can identify these labels by looking at the receptacle labels.
Like the standard power cord, cord sets conduct electrical current and have copper and protective insulative material to provide a coating. However, they have electrical fuses to protect your appliance from voltage surges. Other unique features of cord sets include a leak detector and voltage checkers. They also have a protective material to minimize the effects of electromagnetic energy.
Cord sets are mainly used in areas that require several electric appliances and equipment, like a large commercial, residential, industrial, and retail premises. These power cords typically use AC power and resemble extension cords in various ways. Let’s discuss extension cords in more detail.
Also known as extension leads or power extenders, extension cords are available in different lengths and sizes. They provide power to appliances with no nearby reliable source or power outlet.
The standard extension cord has a lengthy cable with a two or three-pin plug on one end and a socket on the other to connect to a power supply.
- Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Power Cord
In many instances, you may need to use your power cord in an area relatively unprotected from environmental elements. The sun, rain, wind, and perhaps even snow can affect the cord. Therefore, ensuring your cable can withstand the weather in the long term is essential.
Adequate length and size
Do you plan on using your power cord from a distant power outlet? You need to ensure you pick the appropriate length to suit your needs. If you’re uncertain about the right size, it’s best to choose a longer cable than a shorter one.
Many power cords are pretty stiff. Although this may not be a big deal, it can be daunting to deal with them frequently. You may find it difficult to plug them properly and wrap them after use. Therefore, ensure you find a cord that can fit your electrical needs.
- Tips for Selecting and Using Power Cords Safely
- Only buy power cords approved by an independent testing laboratory.
- Before using the power cord read the instruction manual in detail.
- Select the cord rated to handle the particular wattage device you will use.
Anyone handling electricity must have an electrical cord. However, the power cord you need will rely on factors such as current, voltage, and where you intend to use them. You can find a broad range of power cords in the market with different grades, sizes, colors, and more. Therefore, it is vital to prioritize safety and quality when choosing the right power cords.