People frequently ask us what the difference between mains power cables is or what the IEC standards are. There are 12 various shapes of IEC connectors, each with a different name for the male or female side. C7, for example, is male, but C8 is female, yet they both have the same shaped connection. The letters after the connector shape tell you which way around those connectors need to be placed into a cable assembly.
All IEC cables share certain characteristics. They all must be able to carry live current and include some form of ground connection. This means that any conductor within the cable should always remain unbroken from tip to tail. Any portion of the cable may not be completely insulated from other portions of the cable. If a path can be created from one end of the cable to the other, there is a chance that enough electricity could flow through someone inadvertently walking in the area or through corrosion over time.
IEC cables also must adhere to specific voltage ratings. This tells people how much electrical energy can be carried by the cable. Power cables are usually specified as either 120 or 240 volts. Data cables may be 100 volts or 240 volts. It's important to know the correct voltage for any given application because you don't want to put yourself in danger by working on equipment that uses too low a voltage. For example, if you were to try to use a 120-volt power cord on a machine designed for 240 volts, you would be risking electrocution.
Power cables are quite diverse, with numerous types of cables and standards determined by their application and the country in which they are utilized. In the United States, there are two major power cable standards: NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission)...
Standard Cable and Wire Dimensions
|International standard wire sizes (IEC 60228)|
|0.5 mm²||0.75 mm²||2.5 mm²|
|6 mm²||10 mm²||35 mm²|
|70 mm²||95 mm²||185 mm²|
|300 mm²||400 mm²||800 mm²|
Voltage and current ratings, form, size, and connection type distinguish electrical plugs and sockets. Around the world, many plug and socket standard systems are utilized. In the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the two most common types of plugs are the 3-wire flat plug and the 2-wire round plug. The other major region where these types of plugs are found is in Europe.
They are not interchangeable, although they work with any type of appliance that uses them. For example, a French household would use 3-wire flat plugs, while an American one would use 2-wire round ones.
The voltage across each pair of wires on a plug system varies depending on the country or region that it is used in. For example, an American 3-wire flat plug has a voltage of 120 volts across the black and white wires, but only 10 volts between the grey and red wires. This means that each item of equipment requiring power must be specifically designed to handle this difference in voltage between its own wiring and those of other appliances. For example, a television would need to have special circuitry to handle the higher voltage on the black and white wires compared to those inside America's houses.
A plug adapter can be used to provide service to homes built for another country's plugs.
Among the various acknowledged standards are IEC XLPE cable systems established by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). IEC standards are thought to reflect a worldwide agreement of view. The following are some examples of commonly used standards: IEC 60228: Insulated cable conductors - Dimensions and cross-sections for electrical wiring installations specifies dimensions and cross sections for insulated copper conductor cables used for domestic electricity supply.
IEC 60529: Industrial enclosures for electrical machinery - Requirements and test methods for dielectric fluids, oils, and greases applies to all industrial facilities where electrical machinery is housed in an enclosure filled with a fluid or oil. This includes factory floors, warehouse racking, tanks, and vehicles. It also covers equipment that is not enclosed, such as outdoor power supplies and mobile radio towers.
IEC 62053: Methods for testing insulation resistance of electrical cables provides guidelines for testing the insulation resistance of two-, three-, and four-wire cables under laboratory conditions. Cables should be supplied with all wires intact and not cut open during testing.
IEC TR 60084: Short circuit currents in power cables when exposed to lightening - Test method defines the procedures for measuring the short circuit current that a power cable will draw when exposed to lightning strikes. Power cables must be able to withstand at least this level of current without damage occurring.