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  7. IEC 60320 Overview

IEC 60320 Overview

Welcome to Interpower's webcast, An Overview of the IEC 60320. Well the IEC stands for the International Electrotechnical Commission. It was founded in London in 1906. And it was founded to promote the exchange of technical standards and information among the various technical societies around the world. And prior to that time, each country had its own technology organization. They set their own standards. They even define their own electrical units and things like that- so that if you developed a product in England you probably couldn't sell it in France without major modifications. So the hope was to create some standardization that would allow for real international trade. And this included electrical unit; such as hertz, which is a measure of frequency for example. Okay, and what is the IEC responsible for? Well, they develop standards on a global basis. The work is carried on by various technical committees and subcommittees. That are organized around specific mandates. So the one that we'll talk about today concerns appliance couplers, and that's called 23 G, SC 23 G, just a subcommittee, but it's composed of experts from all around the world that meet under rules , very much like the United Nations to develop a standard that everybody can live with. So does the IEC do any testing toward these standards? The IEC doesn't do any testing at all. They simply write standards, and the national test agencies do the testing. Okay, so Bob you have served on that committee that you referenced earlier, the SC 23 G, for several years in the capacity of the technical advisor. So when you were on the subcommittee for the IEC 60320, could you share with us how you went about, how a new configuration came about? Sure. Well first of all, I served beginning about 1988. My first meeting was at the general assembly in Adelaide 1988, and my predecessor had been an electrical standards person from the Singer Sewing Machine company. And his charge was to develop or to get a worldwide standard on a grounded connector that could be used at 2 1/2 amps for use on sewing machines. And he worked that for several years and the end result was what we'll call the C5 connection system, coupler system, and we'll look at that more closely in a couple of minutes. But that's a good example of an industry group driving the creation of a new standard. Another example is the very first combination standard sheets 1 & 2 which were designed specifically for use with electrical razors and this goes back to the dark ages of the coupler standard. It was then called CW22 and it was based on a work of a European organization, but each of these subsequent connectors were driven, the development was driven by an industry group with a definite need. Okay now, there are numerous IEC standards. So today we just want to focus on the IEC 60320 standards and a series of international standards specific to connectors, inlets, outlets, plugs, plug connectors. So to begin with, could you briefly explain what the IEC 60320 standards are? Well, it's divided into 3 separate booklets actually. The first is the general requirements. That's section one. The third section, I'll come back to the middle section, the third section is standard sheets and gauges that provide people who have to do the testing with the the standard devices they're going to use to test to determine whether or not a particular connector actually meets the requirements. The middle section is called part 2 - 4 and this is a good example of a coupler standard configuration if you will. It's being driven by a group with a specific need. In this case it's appliances with a base that's heavy. And for example, an electric tea pot is clearly the best example, and this is not surprisingly coming out of the United Kingdom. And so the standard this part of the standard is new. It hasn't been incorporated into the overall piece so this stands by itself at the present time. But over time, these new pieces get just incorporated into the existing standard. Now there are five coupler families that we would like to highlight today. So let's start off with the with the 0.2 amp coupler family. Okay, the first of the of the connector configurations is the known as the C1 C2 range, and it was designed originally for use with electric razors. It has a current limit of 0.2 amps, and is designed for class II or ungrounded applications, and it's rated as cold. And what does the 2.5 amp coupler family include? Well there are two different configurations in the 2.5 amp family. The first is another class II device which is rated at 2 1/2 amps of course. It's also cold, and it is called the C7 and C8. It's used in very high volume primarily in Europe on entertainment industry appliances. The other device in this family is the C5 and C6. It's a class one or grounded connector, and this was the device that was originally developed for use on sewing machines, and to this day is referred to as a sewing machine coupler. However, not many sewing machines use it anymore. They've gone on to other methods of connection, and it's most commonly used in the computer industry for laptop power supplies and things of that nature. Okay now what does the 6th amp coupler family include? The 6 amp coupler family includes both class II and class I type devices. The first of them is the C9 C10 class II cold-rated coupler family. And this one is not one that we see used very commonly in North America. It's not unheard of, but it's not commonly used. A second device is a class I which is much more common. In fact, it is the most common IEC 60320 coupler family, and it's the C13 C14. It is again class I, is grounded, and it is cold, and again very, very commonly used. It's rated internationally under IEC 60320, 10 amps, and interestingly enough in North America, is tested by UL and CSA at 15 amps. And just to keep us all on our toes, I think. There's a class II device. A C17 and C18. Again, this is an ungrounded device which has similar current ratings. And then we've talked about cold devices. The next are the so-called hot devices. And these are ones, these are devices that are intended for use on heating type appliances where there are surface temperatures usually in excess of 100 degrees Celsius. And the first of these is the C15-16 it's a class I, grounded connector, and it is hot and it is designed in such a way that the C13 will not fit into a C16 inlet. So it's very cleverly designed. The Class I, very hot is the C15A C16A. This is rated at a still higher temperature class I connector again with ground. And again, this has a lot of interlocking capability that prevents its use with lower rated appliance connectors. Now the last coupler family we'd like to discuss is the one rated at 16 amps for international use and 20 amps for North American use. Right. This is becoming increasingly common. It's the C19 C20 coupler family, and the first C19 C20 is a class I with the ground and it's cold. It's not uncommonly used now on relatively high-end electronic equipment, particularly the kind of equipment that might have a heater in it for some reason. I'm thinking about scientific instrumentation, is a good example of an application. A second connector in this family is the class II with no ground. It's cold again and this is the so-called C23-24 combination. And this is a device that we don't see much of in North America. It's not very commonly used, but it does allow designers who have class II appliances that drop quite as a current have a connection family that will work for them. And the last of these is the class I very hot which is the C21 C22. This again is rated at 16 amps internationally, and it is a class I type connector. And it was designed originally for use on home appliances like electric irons and things of that nature. And again, this is not one that we see very often in the U.S. Now, it's fair to point out here that while these devices are all rated at 16 amps internationally, UL and CSA test them at 20 amps. Okay, now let's shift our focus to the interconnection couplers starting with the 2.5 amp family which is also found in the IEC 60320 standard. Right, the first of these is a class I device, again rated at 2.5 amps. It's a class I device with a ground, and we call, the nomenclature here changes a bit, and these are called standard sheets A and B. And we don't see these often but they would be used in computer type applications where the current drain is fairly low. A second one is a class II device. Standard sheet C and D, and again 2 1/2 amps class II with no ground. And this is occasionally seen with very low current type devices. Now let's talk about the next one. Which is the 10 amp/15 amp coupler family. All right yeah, here where standard sheets E and F are very commonly used particularly in computers. And they're used to provide an opportunity for people to plug accessory power into an appliance. And this is a class I grounded device that's rated at 10 amps internationally, and by the way can be used at 15 amps in North America. The class 2 version of this same connection system is the sheets G and H. And they had the same current ratings, but no grounds. And we just don't see these very frequently in North America. Okay in the end, the last interconnection coupler family we'd like to discuss is the 16 amp/20 amp family. Right. This standard sheets I and J describe a class I connector. It is a class I. It means it has a ground again, and we're seeing this more and more frequently for people want a fairly significant amount of accessory power in an electrical appliance. The class II version of the same device is a sheet K and the sheet L. And again, this class II means it has no ground connection, and we very rarely see a requirement for this connector. Now thank you, Bob for explaining all the different IEC connectors inlets and plug connectors and outlets. Now let's focus a little bit on the terminology of the specific to the IEC 60320 standard. Let's start of with the appliance coupler, and then use some definitions down the road. Well, we call the appliance coupler just about any combination of IEC 60320 devices. And it is basically a system that enables the connection and disconnection of the mains power from the equipment. And how about the the definition of the connector? A connector is the output power that's attached directly to a piece of cable. So you have the output power end on one side and a piece of cable on the other, and it just connects directly into the appliance inlet on the device being powered. Okay now, how about the inlet? Oh the inlet mounts directly on the appliance and we'll have male pins and it will accept a connector basically supplying the power to it. And what about the interconnection coupler? An interconnection coupler is that device that provides the accessory power, so it would be mounted, the outlet would be mounted directly on the equipment. And the plug connector would mate with that outlet to provide a connection to a cable that would then run to an accessory device for example. What about the definition of a plug connector? The plug connector, is again, you have male contacts on one side, and you will have a cable on the other side. And this will again carry the net power to the accessory device. And the last definition that we would have would be the outlet. The outlet provides basically accessory power. It mounts directly on the equipment and it will mate with the plug connector. So Bob, there are a number of benefits to be gained for a design engineer to follow the IEC 60320 standards. Could you explain some of these benefits? Certainly. The alternative to the IEC 60320 connection system coupler system is to make power cords that are unique for each country and for each piece of equipment. So now let's say that you're manufacturing in a single factory anyplace in the world really and you want to ship to several different countries. If you're using power cords that means you've got to customize the appliance for each market. Using the IEC 60320 interconnection system, everything from the the mains plug (not including the mains plug but from the mains plug back into the equipment) is covered by the IEC 60320 system. So you design that right from the beginning with that in mind, and then the only thing that changes is going to do the chord set that plugs into the power mains. Today, they're probably twelve different cords that you would need to cover the entire world, but the only thing that changes are those cord sets. Alternatively, you've got to rewire your product for each of these markets. So it reduces costs, it simplifies the process, and it does make the international approval process easier as well. So the IEC 60320 is accepted internationally? The IEC 60320 coupler standard is the international standard for appliance interconnections and connections to the mains.