Depending on the appliance, power cords may be either detachable or fixed. These detachable leads typically feature a female connector to prevent a live pin from protruding from the device. Power cords may have twist-locking features and other attachments. Cord sets may include accessories such as fuses for overcurrent protection, a pilot lamp to indicate voltage, or a leakage current detector. Power cords for sensitive equipment may also feature a shield over the power conductors.
Environmental regulations have a profound impact on power cords. RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) and REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization 60 amp fuse and Restriction of Chemicals) regulations have significantly impacted the use and export of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in power cords. When shopping for power cords, be sure to request one with the appropriate RoHS or REACH declaration to ensure compliance.
Standard regulations for cords include voltage and current ratings, maximum cable temperature, and molded plug and female receptacles. However, manufacturers are free to customize a cord’s construction based on the application. For example, cables in North America are often labeled “SVT” or “SJT” and may be covered by a jacket made of neoprene. The jacket may be waterproof or rated for outdoor use, or it may have an oil-resistant feature.
Power cords come in a variety of colors and styles. Some models feature plug covers to prevent children from sticking objects into the sockets. Plugs may also feature retainers to hold connectors in place to prevent unintended withdrawal. Rewireable connectors are available for industrial applications. Replaceable flexible cords are also available. These features can save you money in the long run. So, if you’re planning on replacing power cords for a specific appliance, consider all the options that are available.
In North America, flexible power cords are certified according to the UL 62/CSA C22-2 No 49-14 standard. In Europe, however, power cords must comply with the EN 60779 standard. The European power cord standards differ slightly, but they do not require the same certification as their North American counterparts. For example, a North American cord may be marked “H03VV-F” while a Japanese one does not.
In the past, many cords were made of bare wires. Today, we’re more likely to find three-wire, PVC-insulated cords that can safely power any appliance. However, they’re still quite fragile, and a quick fix is to replace them. It’s easier to make a cord with less resistance than you might think, and you can choose the exact cord to match your device. Then, plug it in your electrical outlet and enjoy your new device.
Various power cord types have their own uses. A hospital grade power cord is designed specifically for the needs of a hospital, and the hospital-grade plug is used with the NEMA L6-30R receptacle. The cords used in hospitals are subjected to a higher quality standard than non-hospital grade cords. It is therefore important to purchase the correct power cord for your equipment based on the type of electrical outlet.