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  7. IEC 60320 Overview

IEC 60320 Overview

Ralph:
Welcome to the Interpower webcast – an Overview of the IEC 60320.

My name is Ralph Bright and I am the Vice President of Marketing at Interpower. Today I am talking with Bob Wersen, President of the Interpower Group of Companies. Welcome, Bob!

Bob:
Thank you, Ralph!

Ralph:
Will you please give us a brief history of the IEC?

Bob:
The IEC stands for the International Electrotechnical Commission which was founded in June 1906 in London, England to promote the cooperation of technical societies around the world. A commission was established to address questions of standardization for electrical equipment. The IEC is also known for establishing numerous electrical units, including such terms as “hertz” for the unit of electrical frequency. Today the IEC headquarters is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ralph:
What is the IEC responsible for?

Bob:
The IEC is responsible for writing and distributing standards created through a network of worldwide committees made up of experts from a variety of expertise. In effect, an IEC standard is a treaty signed by many nations to foster international standardization. The standards on electrical products and components include references to safety and performance. Many national standards, however, are frequently based on IEC publications.

Ralph:
Does the IEC do any of the testing for these standards?

Bob:
No, the IEC does not perform any testing. That function is left to the national testing agencies. To learn more, you can visit the IEC website at www.iec.ch.

Ralph:
Bob, you served as the Technical Advisor to SC23G for several years and in that capacity represented the U.S. on SC23G, the sub-committee responsible for IEC 60320.  What can you share with us about how new connector configurations come about?

Bob:
I served as Technical Advisor from 1988 until 2010.  My immediate predecessor was employed by Singer Sewing Machine Company and he led the process of creating the C5/C6 configuration for use in sewing machines.  Today, this configuration has many other uses but is still referred to as the sewing machine connector.  The first IEC 60320 configuration is another example.  The C1/C2 class 2 configuration was designed initially for use in electric razors.  There are several other examples however they all illustrate the practice of defining a configuration to meet the needs of a specific electrical application and then developing detailed specifications consistent with the IEC 60320 standard. 

 

Ralph:
While there are numerous IEC standards, today we want to focus on the IEC 60320 standards which are a series of international standards specific to connectors, inlets, plug connectors, and outlets.

To begin with, Bob, will you please briefly explain what the IEC 60320 standards include?

Bob:

Two of the IEC 60320 standards that we will focus on are the 60320-1 and the 60320-3. Both of these standards include grounded couplers which we refer to as Class I and ungrounded couplers as Class II. Appliance couplers are primarily used for incoming power to a system.  I won’t be discussing the couplers dependent on appliance weight for engagement except to say that they are used in electric tea kettles. 

Ralph:
There are five coupler families we would like to highlight. Let’s start with the 0.2A coupler family.

Bob:

The 0.2A coupler family includes the Class II C1 connector and the C2 inlet.        

Ralph:
What does the 2.5A coupler family include?

Bob:

The 2.5A coupler family includes for Class I the C5 connector and C6 inlet. For Class II it includes the C7 connector and the C8 inlet. This family of connectors is commonly seen on laptop power supplies, portable projectors, and video games. The C5 connector is commonly referred to as a Mickey Mouse connector because of its profile.

Ralph:
What does the 6A coupler family include?

Bob:
The 6A coupler family includes the Class II C9 connector and the C10 inlet.

Ralph:
The next one we would like to talk about is the 10A/15A coupler family. These connectors are rated at 10A for international use and 15A for North American use.

Bob:

This family includes the Class I C13, C15, and C15A connectors along with the C14, C16, and C16A inlets. The Class II includes the C17 connector and the C18 inlet. You may recognize this family of couplers as the ones being used for desktop personal computer power supplies and video games.

Ralph:
And the last appliance coupler family that we would like to highlight is the one rated 16A for international use and 20A for North American use.

Bob:

The 16A/20A coupler family includes the Class I C19 and C21 connectors with the C20 and C22 inlets. The Class II includes the C23 connector with the C24 inlet. Common applications include UPS systems, power distribution, and server room applications.

 

Ralph:
We would like to now shift our focus to the interconnection couplers starting with the 2.5A family, also found in the IEC 60320 standard.

Bob:
The plug connectors and outlets are primarily used for outgoing power from a system. The 2.5A family includes Class I Sheet A plug connector and Sheet B outlet and also Class II Sheet C plug connector and Sheet D outlet.

Ralph:
The next one we would like to talk about is the 10A/15A coupler family.

Bob:
The 10A is for international use and the 15A is for North American use which includes for Class I Sheet E plug connector and the Sheet F outlet and for Class II the Sheet G plug connector and Sheet H outlet.

Ralph:
The last interconnection coupler family we like to look at is the 16A/20A family.

Bob:

The 15A is for international use and the 20A is for North American use which includes for Class I Sheet I plug connector and the Sheet J outlet and for Class II the Sheet K plug connector and Sheet L outlet.

Ralph:
Thank you, Bob, for explaining the different IEC connectors, inlets, plug connectors and outlets. Now let’s focus on terminology that is specific to the IEC 60320 standard, starting with appliance coupler.

Bob:
An appliance coupler is the combination of a connector and an inlet that enables the connection and disconnection from the equipment.

Ralph:
Please give us the definition for a connector.

Bob:
A connector is the outlet power end of a cord providing power to the equipment through connection to an inlet.

Ralph:
And the definition for an inlet?

Bob:
An inlet is the input power connection on equipment. An inlet is the connection device that provides access for electricity to enter the equipment.

Ralph:
And the definition for an interconnection coupler?

Bob:
The interconnection coupler is the combination of a plug connector and an outlet that enables the connection and disconnection of equipment to a cord leading to other equipment.

Ralph:
What is a plug connector?

Bob:
The plug connector is the input power end of a jumper cord for connecting additional equipment to power through a connection to an outlet.

Ralph:
And the last definition to cover for today – outlet.

Bob:
An outlet is the outlet power connection on equipment that provides power to other equipment through a plug connector.

Ralph:
There are a number of benefits to be gained for an equipment designer to follow the IEC 60320 standards. Bob, will you please explain some of them?

Bob:
The IEC 60320 is the common connector interface throughout the industrialized world and simplifies the task of specifying a connector to use on a cord set along with a country-specific plug. Also, the IEC 60320 provides a standard framework to work from for product design and testing. The IEC 60320 connectors help prevent improper connections by the design configurations themselves. They also provide a uniform connector for similar voltages, thus ensuring a safe connection.

Ralph:
Is the IEC 60320 standard accepted internationally?

Bob:
Yes, this standard is accepted internationally with some countries adding specific deviations per their national requirements.

Ralph:
Thank you, Bob, for all of this information.

You can find a downloadable chart on our website that lists the IEC 60320 connectors, inlets, plug connectors, and outlets on our website at www.interpower.com under the Product Design Library – Guides and Charts.

At Interpower, we have no minimum orders and carry over 4 million parts in stock. We offer same day shipments on in-stock products and have a 1-week U.S. manufacturing lead-time on most non-stock products.

Thank you for joining us today.