A power cord is a cable that connects electrical appliances. It can be called a power connector, line cord, or mains cable. The ends of the cord plug into a wall socket or extension board, and the other end plugs into the receptacle on the appliance. They are necessary for many applications, including battery-backed appliances that need to connect to the electrical power supply line. Cords carry either direct current or alternating current, and are designed to provide the proper amount of power to operate certain devices.
There are three types of power cords: NEMA 5-15P and C14. NEMA 5-15P cords have three prongs and can be either side-facing or flush with the wall. Some have more outlets than others, and a side-facing head. Each type has three wires: neutral, hot, and ground. The polarity of the plug is indicated by a green or yellow stripe on the ground wire. The maximum voltage of a cord is 250V.
When purchasing power cords, remember that the number of international countries in which the product is sold increases. The more countries a product is sold in, the more stringent the regulations are. In North America, for instance, most electronic devices operate on 100-130V/50-60Hz, while Japan and other countries operate on 220-240V/50Hz. Similarly, subsets of these regions may use different voltages and frequencies.
Depending on the application, power cords may have retaining generator power cord clamps to prevent them from being pulled loose. Some cords have twist-locking or other attachments. Some cord sets contain accessories such as fuses or pilot lights for indicating voltage levels. They may also have an IEC lock for sensitive equipment. And in case the electrical current in a power cord is a bit high, it might be safer to use a detachable lead.
The AC power cords are most common and are designed to provide electrical energy from an AC source. The cords can be permanently attached to the device or removable. Different voltages are needed for different devices, and they have many different types. Manufacturers have rigid specifications for the cords they create. When buying an AC power cord, be sure to check its polarity. Normally, it should be able to work with the electrical outlets in the country where the device is located.
In North America, NEMA standards govern electrical receptacles and cords. The NEMA 5-15P plug is one of the most common types of power cords, and it is rated for 15 A at 250 V. Another common type of NEMA cord is the NEMA 5-15P to NEMA 5-15R cord. The C13 cords come with an additional grounding rod. The IEC standards have different standards for plugs and receptacles used around the world.
Amperage rating and wire gauge are also important. The more voltage a cord can supply, the higher its amperage. If the cords are not rated correctly, they could cause an electrical fire. In North America, 125Vac/10A power cords are the standard. There are also higher ratings available if necessary. If you need a higher power cord, check the specifications listed with the manufacturer. There are basic guidelines for choosing a power cord, but there is always something to consider.