What Is a Power Cord?

Decorative ceiling lights / hanging lights on dark background with copy space

A power cord is a type of electrical cable used to connect appliances to an electrical supply line. Its ends plug into a wall socket, wall extension board, or an appliance receptacle. Power cords are necessary for battery-backed appliances that need a connection to the main electrical supply line. These cords are made from different materials for different purposes, including indoor and outdoor uses. Power cords carry direct current or alternating current.

In North America, power cords are regulated by the UL and CSA. The standards are developed by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and are maintained by third-party certification bodies such as UL and CSA. Cords designed for use with ITE are labeled with NRTL (National Electrical Manufacturers Association), and UL has an NRTL (National Electrical Testing Laboratory) certification mark. Most countries use IEC 60320 or UL 817 connector standards to ensure safety and compliance.

Today, power cords are used in a variety of applications, including consumer electronics and information technology equipment. They are also used in hazardous locations, including outside. Some cords feature  temporary lighting a ground wire for protection against fire. Ground wire is generally green in North America, but it can be yellow. It is also important to note that some cords may be electrically rated for a specific device. A power cord’s voltage rating is important for your safety and the safety of your equipment.

When purchasing a power cord, take into account its voltage requirements. There are different standards for various voltages and frequencies. While one cord might meet the needs of the device, it may not be the best choice for the intended application. Therefore, it’s important to look for an adapter that matches the voltage in your area. You should be aware of all safety precautions when buying a power cord. This is particularly important for those who are traveling or working.

In addition to voltage ratings, power cords are also classified according to the receptacles they attach to. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) set standards for electrical receptacles and cords in North America. NEMA Types A and B are most common in North America and include a grounding rod. For European plugs, the CEE 7/7 and CEE 15/7 standards apply. There are several variations of this standard, but the basic design remains the same.

The IEC 60320 standard specifies power cords for appliances that use alternating current. While different countries use different standards for power cords, the IEC standard is recognized globally. It specifies the shapes and sizes of connectors for different voltages and currents. The standard includes voltage, current, and temperature, and is reflected in the “C” in the cord’s name. You should look for an adapter that meets your requirements.

A power cord set is made up of a plug, power cable, and connector. The male and female connectors are used for connecting two electrical appliances. An interconnection cord set is an assembly of a male and female connector. This type is used for connecting two or more electrical appliances. In the U.S., appliance couplers follow the IEC 320 standard, also known as IEC 60320. These couplers are common for connecting appliances.