he Anatomy of the Common Power Cord, and its Associated Regulatory Issues
A power supply cord is an essential element of all cord connected electrical equipment; it supplies the connection between the equipment and the electrical mains. The power cord can be hard wired to the equipment or it can be detachable. The hard wired (non-detachable) power cord consists of a plug, the cordage, and a strain relief device to secure the cord to the equipment enclosure. The detachable power cord, also known as a power cord set, consists of a plug, cordage and a connector or receptacle. Though seemingly a simple component, when it comes to regulatory approvals, it can become an exceedingly complicated component.
Power supply cords typically have two or three wires. These wires are “line,” “neutral” and “ground.” The International Electrotechnical Commission’s standard IEC 60446 uses the following color codes:
In North America, the line wire is black in color, while it is either brown or grey in the rest of the world;
In North America, the neutral wire is white, while it is blue elsewhere; and
In North America, the ground wire is typically green, while it is green with yellow stripes in the rest of the world.
It is crucial to ensure that the electrical rating of the power cord supplied with the product is higher than that of the product being powered. Most product standards require the plug to be rated at least 125 percent of the rated current of the equipment. An under-rated power cord can result in the power cord overheating, and possibly causing an electrical fire. Power cords designed for use with ITE equipment in North America are rated as 125Vac/10A, but other higher ratings are also available.
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