Power cords are a primary requirement for both home and work environments. They enable various electronic devices that dictate our lifestyle today to function seamlessly. Over the years, technological advancements have supported the aesthetic evolution of power cords. Not just that, there are several new types of cords that have emerged to ensure efficient power supply combined with outstanding safety features.
Power cords are essential for your everyday gadgets to provide you with continual support. They influence the safety of the operation of a device. Most of us ignore the importance of understanding the capabilities of the cord. We typically look at the receptacle type and purchase any cord that matches it. But important considerations like power delivery, insulation, wattage, or amperage are often overlooked.
Investing in cords after proper consideration of your device’s requirements is critical for safe and efficient usage. Here we will review six types of power cords available in the market for your day-to-day needs. Assess and pick the right choices for your needs to ensure the best experience.
1. AC Cords
AC power cords are among the most common types of power cords typically useful to connect devices to electrical power sources(Alternate Current sources). They are compatible with many appliances such as lights, power tools, household appliances like microwaves, musical instruments.
The cords constitute a stack of wires, rubber or polymer wire sheathing, the insulation that holds the wires together as a single bundle and protects them from outside exposure, and the prongs and connectors at either end connecting the device to the socket. Modern AC cords also have several embedded safety features like polarization or grounding.
AC power cords come in various voltage ranges, each provided with necessary wiring and insulation to hold increasing levels of power transmission. The specifications for purchasing an AC cord include determining the current rating, voltage rating, shape, prong type, size, sheathing material, connector, and length required for your appliance.
Different countries use different voltages and frequencies of AC power supply. Therefore matching the standards with the various plug types that go from A to O is also crucial.
2. Generator Cords
Generator power cords are specifically designed to cater to the intense power demands of generators. They vary in terms of ampere ratings that determine the power delivery capabilities of the equipment. The average range of ratings begins from 15 amps and extends to 30 amp extension cord.
Generator cords come with plugs like TT, 14, L14, 5, L5, and CS. Matching these types with the receptacle labels is essential to ensure safe and efficient operations. For example, an L14- 15P means a twist lock style cord with a 15 amp rating.
Some manufacturers also offer customization capabilities to ensure that the wire size and length reduce voltage losses. While the terms and labels might sound complex for novice users, you can easily learn to identify the best generator cords for use over time.
3. NEMA Cords
NEMA power cords refer to the North American electrical receptacle configuration, plugs, and cord voltage capacity benchmarks. The most common NEMA cords you can find in the market are Type A and Type B.
While Type A consists of two conducting blades, Type B comes with an additional grounding rod for increased safety. The power capacity range of these cords ranges between 15 to 60 amps and 125 to 600 volts.
NEMA-approved devices are generally one or two wired. The naming nomenclature determines the prong and power capacity of the cord. For example, NEMA 1 15 is a two-prong power cord with a 15 amp rating, while NEMA 5 15 is a three-prong, grounded variation of the same ratings.
4. Power Supply Cords
A power supply cord creates the primary connection between the power receptacle of equipment and the main power source. It is the most common type of power cord you will find in your everyday life.
Power supply cords constitute a conducting medium like copper that is thoroughly concealed inside an insulating material. While some cords are detachable from the device, most cords are directly attached to the equipment and simply need to be connected to the wall socket.
Power supply cords can be rounded or flat, coiled or retractable. Typical areas of application of power supply cords are telecommunication, barcode readers, computers, medical equipment, lab equipment.
5. Extension Cords
Extension cords are a common household item widely used for connecting various appliances and gadgets. Also known as power extenders, extension cords serve the critical purpose of providing power in areas lacking wall outlets.
Various types of power extension cords differing in terms of power capacity, length, size are available. There are also specific extension cords for outdoor and indoor use. For example, high wattage power cords provide a seamless connection for heavy load equipment like power saws, drills. The wires present inside the cords are chosen to handle high power delivery for long periods without overheating that could cause damage.
Outdoor extension cords are suitable for connecting lighting, sound, or other systems in gardens or outside the house or workplace. They carry extra insulation and water resistance layers that ensure safe operation despite exposure to extreme weather conditions.
Extension cords may contain two-prong or three-prong receptacles to connect to the device. Three-prongs are a safer choice as they enable grounding as a safety mechanism. Also, cords come in different lengths to cater to connections away from wall sockets. It is essential to review the gauge, length, letter markings like J or S, etc., inscribed on the extension cord while purchasing. These factors determine the power capabilities and appropriate applications of the cord.
6. Cords Sets
Cord sets, like any typical power cord, carry electricity. They are also made up of an insulating material that coats the copper wires running within. The significant difference is that cord sets have a series of other components such as fuses to protect the device and cable against sudden voltage surges. They also have safety features like leakage detectors, voltage checkers, and coating to alleviate electromagnetic energy impact.
Cord sets are appropriate for use with residential and commercial equipment and appliances. They work with AC power and comply with international quality standards set for different cord types.
Power cords play a vital role in our tech-centric life today. Whether you wish to replace an existing cord or buy a new one, knowing the right type, size, and capabilities for your application will enable you to make intelligent purchase decisions. Further, it will provide optimal performance and increase the safety of operation for the best benefits.