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More Information on IEC 60320 Inlets

The IEC 60320 AC power inlet is the most commonly used means of connecting a detachable cordset to electrical or electronic equipment that consumes up to 16A/250V at operating temperatures up to 120°C. The devices in IEC 60320 standard sheets C13, C14, C15, C16, C19, and C20 are the most commonly specified standards. The IEC 60320 system is used throughout the industrialized world. By designing an IEC 60320 power inlet into a product, the manufacturer can attach an international cordset (e.g. a country-specific plug on one end and an IEC connector on the other end) just prior to shipment. This allows the equipment manufacturer to make one device for sale anywhere in the world.

“Cold” Connectors (65°C)

IEC 60320 C13 describes a 10A, 250VAC connector for Class I equipment for cold conditions (65°C measured at the contact). The 10A rating on power inlet connectors requires that mating international cordsets rated at 10A use the larger 1.00mm2 cable. Interpower Corporation’s cordsets utilize the 1.00mm2 cable, thus permitting the 10A rating (with the exception of some British cordsets where the rating is limited by the fuse in the plug). The international cordsets in the Designer’s Kit of International cordsets are rated at 10A.

“Hot” Connectors (120°C)

For applications in which a 10A rating at 65°C is insufficient, IEC 60320 provides for an ac power connector with a 120°C rating, described in standard sheets C15 and C16. This connector includes a key, which prevents insertion of the international connector intended for “cold” conditions.

Detachable Connections at 16–20A

IEC 60320 C19 and C20 connectors allow the use of detachable cordsets rated at 16A European and 20A in North America (65°C). While not common, IEC 60320 C23 and C24 offer an ungrounded option. Higher power products, which formerly required the use of permanently attached power cords or hard-wired connections via conduit, can now exploit the convenience of a detachable cordset. A complete cordset for use in North America rated for service to 20A/250VAC could be constructed with the cable-terminated portion of this connector system on one end of a length of 3 x 12AWG cable. Suitable wall plugs for connection at 120VAC can include the straight-blade NEMA 5-20P or the locking L5-20P. The product that uses a 20A plug in North America can, for export markets, use a Schuko plug, a British plug, an Italian 16A plug, an Australian 15A plug, or the Indian plug on the end of 1.5mm2 cable equipped with this IEC connector. For Denmark or Switzerland, whose plugs are only rated at 10A, it will be necessary to use IEC 60309 pin and sleeve devices.

2.5A Applications

The IEC 60320 C5 connectors and C6 inlets have three pins, which include a ground contact. Originally intended for use on sewing machines, this coupler is now used on laptop computers. The presence of a ground at the equipment allows designers to incorporate a high performance RFI (radio frequency interference) filter into the inlet. All C5 connectors must be molded onto cable; rewireable versions are not permitted.Devices for Class I applications are intended for small grounded electronic and electrical appliances. These parts are considerably smaller than IEC 60320 C13 devices and will be welcome on small applications where panel space is limited. The devices pictured are rated 2.5A/250VAC.The coupler pair described in standard sheets C7 and C8 is another example of an IEC 60320 configuration with new life. This coupler has no ground contact. C7 and C8 couplers were originally developed for use in devices such as electric razors, radios, and other home entertainment appliances. Now this coupler pair is finding use on laptop computers. In some cases, the power connection is made at the back of the laptop itself. In other cases, it is made via a detached power supply. Also, C7 connectors must be molded onto power cable; rewireable versions are not allowed.Devices for Class II applications are intended for small electronic and electrical appliances that are not grounded. These parts are smaller than more commonly specified IEC 60320 devices and will be welcome on small applications in which panel space is limited. The devices pictured are rated at 2.5A/250VAC.

Accessory Power

Accessory power connections, described in IEC 60320-2-2, can be powered almost anywhere in the world using the accessory power system based on the IEC 60320 connector pattern. Both 10–15A and 16–20A rated models are available.