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  5. Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

1/4 x 1 1/4-inch fuse: The standard North American fuse size used in instrumentation applications. This standard is officially recognized by ANSI as the 3AG fuse. See North American Fuses.

1U: Unit of rack measurement equal to 44.45mm on which panel heights are based [EIA (Electronic Industries Association)-310-D.]

5 x 20mm fuse: The standard international fuse size for use in instrumentation applications. It is described in IEC 60127 and is the most commonly used instrumentation fuse throughout the world, with exception to the United States and Canada. The 5x20mm fuse is constructed to different standards than North American fuses. Although less common, the 5x20mm fuse is also available in North American configurations. See International Fuses.

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Accessory Power: Interpower term used to describe a family of interconnection couplers based on the IEC standard. Accessory power components are used to supply power from a primary pIECe of equipment to outlying supporting pIECes of equipment, rather than connecting all the pIECes to separate mains wall outlets. The Accessory Power product line includes socket strips, modules, international power cords and cord sets, an adapter cord, jumper cords, cable connectors, and outlets. See Accessory Power.

Ambient Temperature: The nominal temperature of the air that surrounds devices and systems, prior to the device being powered on.

AEA (American Electronics Association): Trade association for the high-tech industry, which includes software, semiconductors, computers, Internet technology, advanced electronics, and telecommunications. The AEA provides members with information and services aimed at strengthening their position in the industry. For more information, go to their web site at

AWG (American Wire Gauge): Derived from a North American wire and cable sizing standard. The gauge uses an inverse relationship to the size, so the larger the number, the smaller the cable. For example, a small gauge North American cable, with three conductors, might be 3 x 18 AWG. This might also be expressed as 18/3 AWG, but would be the same size cable. A cable sized as 3 x 10 (10/3) would be quite a bit larger, because of the smaller number. See North American Cable.

Amp: Amp is short for ampere. An amp is the basic unit of electric current. Value of one-ampere flows when one volt of potential difference is applied across one ohm of resistance. The symbols used to represent amps are A or I.

ANSI: A private, non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system, promoting acceptance of U.S. standards internationally and the acceptance of international standards nationally, where these meet the needs of the business community. For more information see

Appliance coupler: The combination of a connector and inlet that enables the connection and disconnection of a cord to equipment. See our IEC 60320 Coupler Sheet for more information.

Approval: After a complete product or component part is tested by a testing agency, the test results may be represented in the form of an approval. Agencies which grant approvals on components include SEMKO, FIMKO, NEMKO, DEMKO, KEMA, CEBEC, SEV, OVE, and, in some cases, VDE. See also Certification, Gutachten, and Recognition.

ASTAASTA (Association for Short Circuit Testing Authorities, Inc.) BEAB (British Electrotechnical Approvals Board) Certification Services: British certification agency that primarily deals with approval of components and subassemblies, household offices, and small business sector products. Click for more information on ASTA.

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BASEC (British Approvals Service of Electric Cable): Handles the approval on various types of wire and cable. For more information, go to

Breaking Capacity: The ability of a fuse to interrupt a fault condition without itself being destroyed (i.e. exploding). See Low breaking and High breaking capacity fuses.

Breaking characteristic (Time-Current Characteristic): The conditions under which a fuse will interrupt the flow of current through it; expressed in terms of the time in seconds or minutes required to break the circuit. The current flowing is expressed as a percentage of the rated current in amperes. Breaking characteristics are specified in IEC 60127 and UL 198G. Click to see an example of our Breaking/Time-Current Characteristics chart.

BSIBSI (British Standards Institution): A standards writing organization and a testing agency. BSI typically approves consumer goods and end use products. Click for more information on BSI.

British Ring Wiring System: House and building wiring system used by the British in which circuits leave the local branch protection device, travel out to the loads (outlets or lamps, for example), and then return to the local branch protection device, forming a loop or ring. In comparison, the Continental European and North American wiring systems are done on a linear basis. Why does the United Kingdom/Ireland plug have a fuse?

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Cable: Component made up of multiple conductors, solid or stranded, covered with a protective outer jacket, utilized to join the conductors together. Common synonyms: wire, cordage, line cord, power cord, ac wire, cord. SeeNorth American and International Cable.

CB Scheme (The Certification Body Scheme): A worldwide program for reciprocal recognition of safety testing results of electrical equipment, among participating countries. It is a plan where each member country's national test lab agrees to accept the test data of other member country's test lab for the purpose of assuring reciprocal recognition of test marks by European test agencies. CEE standards are no longer issued. Those that were issued prior to 1985 were to be superseded with IEC standards. However, progress is slow and today the list of IECEE standards is made up of old CEE and newer IEC standards.

CBE (Circuit Breakers for Equipment): Supplementary protection devices for electrical or electronic equipment, where unrestricted short circuits or other over-current events at the equipment are undesirable and need to be stopped in order to protect the equipment.  These devices are supplementary to the branch circuit protection devices and provide protection specifically tailored to the equipment.

CEBECCEBEC (Committee for Electrotechnical Belgium European Community): Independent Belgian service company providing product and system certifications, CE Marking assistance, training, and advice for manufacturers, businesses, and authorities. Click for more information on CEBEC.

CECE Marking: In its simplest form, the CE Marking is an electrical device's passport that allows it to enter Europe. It symbolizes that the equipment complies with all requirements relating to safety, public health, consumer protection or other requirements defined in directives issued by the Council of the European Union. It is neither an agency approval nor a quality mark. It is a self-declared conformity to EU (European Union) directives. It allows the responsible customs official to know at a glance that the equipment is authorized to enter and to circulate freely within the EU. Click for more information on CE Marking.

CEN [Comite European de Normalisation (European Committee for Standardization)]: Promotes voluntary technical harmonization in Europe in conjunction with worldwide bodies and its partners in Europe. For more information, go to their web site at

CENELEC [Comite European de Normalisation Electrotechnique (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization)]: Promotes European harmonization and works with technical experts to publish standards for the European market in support of this goal. For more information, go to their web site at

Certification:Another of the terms used to describe the results of testing by one of the national agencies. Example: CSA certifies products, once tested and found to be satisfactory and consistent with CSA standards. Certification comes in the form of a document and permission to use the CSA mark. See also Approval, Gutachten, or Recognition.

Circuit Breakers for Equipment: Circuit protection device that falls into the supplementary circuit protection category. It is designed to shut off electrical current, before overcurrent damage can occur in the equipment. Sometimes written as CBE.

Class I equipment: Equipment that has parts with functional insulation only and has a provision for grounding. Class I equipment contains a carefully grounded conductive case which is the first line of protection against a hazardous shock. Class I equipment always uses a 3-wire, grounded power supply cord or cordset.

Class II equipment: Equipment that is provided with double insulation and/or reinforced insulation throughout and therefore has no provision for grounding. Class II equipment protects the user from accidental shock through the use of two independent insulation systems and/or the use of reinforced insulation which may consist of increasing the thickness of an insulation system beyond the normal required amount. A 2-wire ungrounded power cord or cordset is used in Class II equipment.

Clearance: The shortest distance (in a straight line) between two conductive surfaces.

Color Coding: Marking of the conductors within cable to define which conductor is line, neutral, and ground. There are two different color codes for international and North American cable. International (harmonized) and some North American cable use the color code: BBG/Y—brown (line), blue (neutral), and green/yellow (ground), while other North American cable utilizes the color code: BWG—black (line), white (neutral), and green (ground).

Common Market: An ideal or common goal worked towards by regional organizations, comprised of member countries or states within that region, in which the members work toward developing their natural and human resources and strengthening their trading position in the world economy.

Conductor: A material in which electrons can move easily from atom to atom (current flow). This term is also used to describe a single wire, solid or stranded, of a multi-wire cable.

Connector: The outlet power end of a cord providing power to equipment through connection to an inlet. Examples include the IEC 60320 C13 connector and female IEC 60309 devices. See our IEC 60320 Coupler Sheet for more information.

Connector lock: Metal component used to secure power cords to IEC 60320 power inlets to prevent accidental power interruption. Each Interpower connector lock is designed for a specific Interpower cordset connector style. See Connector Locks.

Contact: See Terminal.

Contact Protection: Design feature in which an item is designed so that a user can not touch contacts or terminals with their fingers when the device is in normal operation and the power is on. See also Touchproof.

Continental Europe: Continental Europe refers to a large portion of Europe that uses the CEE 7/7 plug/socket pattern. The countries included are Germany, France (plug only), Belgium (plug only), Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, and a few other countries throughout Europe. Interpower has Continental European sections for International cords, plugs, sockets and Connectors, and Socket Strips. Go to our Guide to Worldwide Plug and Socket Patterns for more country information. Click here for more information on Continental Europe.

Continuity: The continuity test verifies that all conductors are connected to the intended terminations of the fittings and there is electrical continuity throughout the length of the assembly. A low voltage current is run through conductive paths verifying the electrical continuity and polarity of the assembly.

Cord:See Power cord

Cord set: A detachable means for supplying electrical energy from the mains supply to an electrical device. It has a male plug on one end and a female appliance coupler or connector on the other end. See International cords.

Creepage: The shortest distance between two conducting parts, measured along the surface of the insulating material between them.

CSACSA (Canadian Standards Association): Provides standard writing, testing, and certification services for Canada. Click for more information on CSA.

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Data Circuits: A centrally protected circuit providing surge protection for computers and other devices that contain sensitive digital circuits. It is desirable that the distribution system excludes non-protected appliances, such as vacuum cleaners, that could potentially reinsert noise and spikes that could negate the central surge protection. The Danish and British both employ such a system.

Delta: Transformer configuration that supplies power to a 3-phase, 4-wire circuit.

DEMKODEMKO: Danish test lab. In 1996, Underwriters Laboratories, Inc purchased DEMKO A/S. In 2000, DEMKO A/S changed its name to UL International DEMKO A/S. Click for more information on DEMKO.

DENAN: Name given to the new Japanese law, Electrical Appliance and Material Safety Law that took effect in April 2001. It replaces the law formerly known as the Electrical Appliance and Material Control Law, DENTORI. For products already approved under DENTORI, product may continue to be sold until the expiration date of the DENTORI approval, at which time the product will need to be approved to the DENAN law. All new products must now be tested to the DENAN law. Two new marks are available under the DENAN law: the PSE diamond mark for specifically listed products, and the PSE circle mark for all other products. Click for more information on PSE.

DentoriDENTORI: The old Japanese law titled Electrical Appliances and Material Control Law, which is being replaced by the new DENAN law Electrical Appliance and Material Safety Law. See DENAN above.

DIN (Deutshes Institut fur Normung): German standards writing organization.

Dust-Resistant: Components that have extra protection against dusty environments are considered dust-resistant. The product, component, or equipment may have an extra gasket or sealant that protects against dust, by-products, and other particles that could damage the component. For more information on IP (Ingress Protection) Rating for dust-resistant components.

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EFTA (European Free Trade Association): Members: Iceland, LIEChtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

EMI/RFI (Electromagnetic Interference/Radio Frequency Interference): Phenomenons that are generated in nature and in electrical equipment as a result of switch closures, and by motors, inductors, and various other complex electrical circuits. EMI/RFI is conducted from the point of origin either through the cables or by radiation through air. In either case, it may present performance problems for adjacent equipment. EMI and RFI are sometimes considered as separate entities, but many companies and organizations tend to combine these terms into one. By definition, EMI and RFI have their own individual frequency ranges, which heavily overlap. For convenience and ease of understanding and specification of parts, Interpower will consider these one and the same.

EN (European Norms) documents: Published by CENELEC. Member nations are required to accept the use of all European Norms over their own similar national standards.

End Termination: See Termination

ENECENEC: Third-party certification mark that indicates a product meets all applicable European EN standards and is accepted in all 18 signatory countries as equivalent to their own national mark. This mark is only attainable by European manufacturers. Click for more information on the ENEC mark.

Europlug: Common name for the CEE 7/16, 2.5A, Class II plug. Countries that use the Europlug are Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, most of Africa, South America, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Russia, and many developing nations. Click for more information on the Europlug.

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Ferrite: Ferrites are magnetic materials that are not conductors, commonly shaped into "beads." These beads can be placed around wires and cable and act as an EMI/RFI suppressor. The magnetic properties of the ferrite material allow it to block some frequency ranges that are commonly associated with EMI/RFI noise.

Ferrule: Wire termination that was standardized by the Europeans. These terminations are in the form of round metal sleeves that slide over the wire and capture the strands. Crimping is achieved with specialized tools. These come insulated or uninsulated. For more information, go to our Ferrule section.

Filler: Term used with cable. Filler consists of a non-conducting material such as jute, plastic strands, or plastic fibers. Filler is used to assure the cable maintains a circular appearance during the extrusion process. It also provides tensile strength to the cable assembly. Tensile strength is important in cable that may be placed in situations where large amounts of stretching may occur. The filler helps to prevent the cable from over stretching and strands from being pulled to a breaking point. See North American and International Cable.

Fillerless: Cable that does not include non-conducting filler material, but does meet tensile strength requirements. See Filler. See North American and International Cable.

Filters: Filters play an important part in equipment design, especially in high frequency and medical equipment applications. The typical frequency filtered is 10,000Hz to 30,000,000Hz for noise picked up and conducted through external wires or power cords. 30,000,000Hz to 1GHz is the frequency filtered for noise that is radiating and being picked up through the air. Low-leakage filters are used for medical purposes, as they provide low levels of leakage current to meet patient safety requirements. See EMI/RFI.

FIMKOAGS FIMKO: Verification, testing, and certification lab in Finland. Formerly known as SETI. Click for more information on FIMKO.

Flange-mount: This mounting style requires a mounting hole and mounting screw holes in the equipment. Screw mounting is advantageous when the panel thickness is greater than the snap-in version of a component will allow.

Flanged Inlets: Inlet with a flanged nylon housing that allows mounting in a panel from the front of the panel, held in place by screws or bolts. See North American plugs and sockets.

Flanged Outlets: Outlet with a flanged nylon housing that allows mounting in a panel from the front of the panel, held in place by screws or bolts. See North American plugs and sockets.

French/Belgian Socket: Variation of the CEE 7 socket, in which there is a grounding pin sticking out on the face of the socket. This pin mates with the grounding pin receiver on the CEE 7/7 plug and makes the combination physically polarized. Click for more information on the France/Belgium socket.

Frequency: The number of cycles-per-second for a waveform with periodic variations. The unit used to express frequency is Hertz (Hz). The standard international frequency is 50Hz and the standard North American frequency is 60Hz.

Fuse: Supplementary circuit protection device in which a conductive element is designed to melt and open the circuit in the event a fault occurs that exceeds the time-current characteristic for that condition. The common sizes for fuses are 1/4 x 1 1/4 inch (North American) and 5 x 20 mm (international and North American). See Fuses and Fuse Holders.

Fuse Holder: A totally enclosed device into which a fuse can be installed so that the equipment user is protected from accidental electrical contact, while allowing easy access to the fuse in the event that it needs checked or changed. All of the Interpower international Fuse Holders are touchproof. See Fuses and Fuse Holders.

Fusing Fatigue Factor: This is a representation of the result of constant heating and cooling of the fuse element during normal usage as the equipment is turned on and off.

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GS Mark (German): A product with the GS Mark shows compliance to the GSG (German Device Safety) Act. Since it is a license mark from the German Government, it can only be authorized by an accredited safety certification agency whose name appears on the mark. It is highly recognized throughout the European Union.

Ground hi-pot: In addition to determining the adequacy of equipment's insulation in the ground or earth conductor to protect against electrical shock, the ground test measures resistance in the ground/earth conductor. Interpower Corporation uses a 25A current.

GOSTGOST: The Russian approval agency. Click for more information on GOST.

Gutachten: A test report or expert opinion issued by VDE covering components or devices which are not otherwise described by VDE or DIN standards. A component that has earned a Gutachten will not normally be allowed to carry the VDE test mark. See Approval, Certification, and Recognition.
Roughly translated, a favorable test report with factory follow-up issued after the successful test of electronic components, in particular, which are not expressly covered by VDE or DIN standards. In this case, the product may carry the familiar VDE triangle with the factory follow-up number inserted in the middle.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI): A GFCI protects users against electrical shock by monitoring current levels in the line and neutral conductors. In normal operation, the current levels in the line and neutral conductors are relatively equal. But, in the event of an electrical short to ground, the current levels will dramatically increase in the conductor shorted to ground. GFCIs are designed to shut the power off if the current levels differ by 5mA. Refer to the U.S. 2005 NEC Handbook (NFPA 70) article 210.8 for examples and specific requirements of GFCIs. Known as residual current devices (RCD) outside of North America.

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<HAR>: A marking on cable to indicate that it is harmonized cable. This means that it was made in Europe. Harmonized cable is made in Europe to the HD 21 and HD 22 standards. Cable made elsewhere can be made to these standards, but will not be allowed to display the harmonized mark. See International Cable information.

Harmonized Cable: Cable that meets the requirements of Harmonized documents HD-21 or HD-22 and will carry at least one safety agency approval that is recognized by other European safety agencies. See International Cable information.

High breaking capacity fuse: Fuse that is designed to withstand high fault condition currents without being destroyed. The fuse envelope may be constructed of either glass or ceramic material, and is always filled with sand or some other non-conductive agent designed to quench the arc that will form during the fault condition. A high breaking capacity IEC 60127 fuse has a maximum breaking capacity of 1500 amps. See also Low breaking capacity fuses See Fuses and Fuse Holders.

High Power Connectors: See Pin and Sleeve Devices.

Hospital-Grade: See Medical Products

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IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission): The IEC writes and distributes consensus standards created through an elaborate network of worldwide committees made up of experts in the areas of concern. In effect, an IEC standard is a treaty, signed by many nations to foster international standardization. The standards on electrical products include references to safety and performance. The IEC does not perform any testing; this function is left to the national testing agencies. National standards are frequently based on IEC publications. See our IEC 60320 Coupler Sheet. For more information on IEC standards, go to the Guide to International Standards Publications.

IECEE (IEC System for Conformity Testing and Certification of Electrical Equipment): Headquartered at the IEC in Geneva, this organization operates and regulates the CB Scheme and the CB-FCS Scheme, (which are based on the principles of mutual recognition by its members of test results for obtaining certification or approval at the national level).

IMQ (Instituto Italiano Del Marchio Di Qualita): Test and approval agency for Italy. Click for more information on IMQ.

Inlet: The input power connection on equipment. Inlets are the male connection devices that provide access for electricity to enter the equipment. An example would be the IEC 60320 C14 inlet. See our IEC 60320 Coupler Sheet.

IP (Ingress Protection) Rating: Indicates the degree of protection provided by the enclosures of electrical equipment and devices, according to IEC 60529. The types of protection covered by this system of classification are: a) protection of persons against contact with or approach to live parts and against contact with moving parts inside the enclosure, and protection against entrance by foreign bodies (dust, filings, etc); and b) protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against harmful intrusion of water. For more information, see IP Codes.

Insertion loss: The value (in dB) determined from a ratio of the voltage passed through the equipment without filtering, versus the voltage passed through the equipment with filtering. Common mode insertion loss is used to express the amount of signal lost on both the line and neutral conductors (when referenced to ground), due to removal of interference or noise by the filter circuit. Differential mode insertion loss is used to express the amount of signal lost on either the line or neutral conductors (when referenced to the other, i.e. between line and neutral), due to removal of interference or noise by the filter circuit. See Filters.

Interconnection Coupler: The combination of a plug connector and an outlet that enables the connection and disconnection of equipment to a cord leading to other equipment.

ISO (International Standards Organization): Quality standards writing agency of standards for business, government, and society. For more information, go to their web site at

ISO 9000: A series of standards concerning Internal Quality Management & Quality Assurance for business and manufacturing companies. Interpower Corporation is an ISO 9000 company. We are ISO 9001:2008 Certified.

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Jacket: Outer coating of cable or conductor, usually made of PVC (Thermoplastic) or rubber, depending on the rating and application of the cable. Some outer jackets are made of TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer), making the cable flexible. See North American and International Cable information .

Japanese Industrial Standards CommitteeJISC (Japanese Industrial Standards Committee): Develops standards and provides certification testing in Japan. Click for more information on JISC.

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KEMAKEMA (Keuring van Electrotechnische Materialen): Test agency of the Netherlands. Click for more information on KEMA.

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LCIELCIE (Laboratorie Central des Industries Electricques): French testing lab. Click for more information on LCIE.

LGA (Landesgerwerbeanstalt Bayem): German Test Lab and consultant for all sectors of industry.

Locking plugs: Configuration of blades on a plug that allow the plug to be locked into a socket, making the connection immovable to force. The NEMA pattern and numbering system places an L in front of the numbers, to indicate a locking configuration. For example, a NEMA L5-15P is a locking plug rated 15amps at 125VAC. See North American plugs and sockets.

Low breaking capacity fuses: Fuses that will open the circuit at 35A or 10 times their rated current during fault conditions without explosion. They are normally constructed with a glass tube and are not filled with sand. See High breaking capacity fuses.

Low-leakage filter: See Filters

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MTO (Made-to-Order): Value added and custom services offered by Interpower Corporation for customers with special requests and needs. From custom cord and cordset needs to custom socket strips to packaging options, we offer many services to add value and options to meet a customer’s needs. See Value-Added and Custom Services.

Medical Products: Products manufactured specifically for use in hospitals, doctor and dentist offices, in-home treatment or used in patient care or recovery. Medical products fall under special standards and have special requirements in some applications. See Medical Products.

METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry): Japanese agency formerly known as MITI.

Module: Multi-functioning, power entry unit comprised of two or more components. Power entry modules control and direct electrical power entering equipment. See Power Entry Modules.

Mold Flash: Mold flash is the excessive material found on a product due to the molding process. Flash is often seen on a product in areas where two halves of the mold come together, vent groove locations, or next to ejector pins. It can appear as a thin or sometimes thick section of plastic detracting from the appearance of the assembly.

Mounting: How a component is placed or attached to equipment. See Snap-in mounting, Flange-mount, and PC-board mounting.

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NEC (National Electric Code): Code of wiring practices and requirements put together by the National Fire Protection Association.

NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association): Provides a forum for the standardization of electrical equipment, shapes public policy, gathers, compiles, and analyzes statistics and data in the marketplace, and monitors legislation that may affect the industry.

NEMA Configurations: NEMA classification system for North American plug and socket patterns. The NEMA patterns vary the blade and pin configuration with each change made in the rating. A 5-15 pattern will be different from a 5-20, which is different from a 6-20 pattern. This eliminates the mating of an inlet and outlet of different ratings, causing a potentially dangerous electrical situation. For rewireable components, see North American plugs and sockets. For molded components, see North American cords. To see a listing of configurations, see the NEMA Configuration Chart.

NEMA Enclosure Ratings: NEMA 250 classifies enclosure ratings for solid objects and moisture and indoor and outdoor use. For example, a NEMA 4 rating indicates an enclosure is constructed for either indoor or outdoor use and provides a degree of protection for personnel and equipment. See NEMA’s White Paper on NEMA enclosures as well as a comparison of NEMA 250 and IEC 60529 at:

NEMKONEMKO (Norges Elekriske Matereillkontrol): Regulatory compliance testing and certification agency in Norway. Click for more information on NEMKO.

Non-rewireable: Describes devices that cannot be taken apart and rewired once they have been molded or assembled to wire or cable.

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Operational Temperature: An operating temperature is the temperature at which an electrical or mechanical device operates. Maximum operating temperature is the sum of the ambient temperature and the maximum allowable heat rise for a device.

OSHA (U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration): This agency was organized to reduce workplace safety hazards. Its equivalent in Germany is TUV. For more information, go to

Outer jacket: See Jacket.

Outlet: The outlet power connection on equipment that provides power to other equipment through a plug connector. An example would be the IEC 60320 Sheet F outlet. See our IEC 60320 Coupler Sheet for more information.

OVEOVE (Osterreichischner Verband fur Elektrotechnik): Standardization, testing, and certification organization of Austria. Click for more information on OVE.

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Panel-mount: Component is mounted to a panel or the equipment, as opposed to cable. Panel-mounting can be screw/flange-mount or snap-in mounting styles.

PC-Board Mounting: PC board tabs (small, flat pins) extending from the back of the component's contact pins. The component is placed on the PC board, the contact pins are inserted into the footprint, and solder is applied to make the electrical connection.

Pin and Sleeve Devices (High Power): Reference to connection devices designed to IEC 60309 and UL 1862 and 1686. These devices are used in applications requiring 16–125A, 125–480VAC. See High Power Pin and Sleeve Devices.

Plug: The input power end of a cord for connecting equipment to power through connection to a socket-outlet. A plug has pins or blades protruding from the face. Internationally accepted as the cable mount portion of an electrical connection or a male contact device. It is also called an attachment plug. Examples include the Continental European plug, NEMA 5-15P, and male IEC 60309. See plugs, sockets, and Cable Connectors for rewireable products. See International cords for molded products.

Plug Connector: The input power end of a jumper cord for connecting additional equipment to power through connection to an outlet. An example would be the IEC 60320 Sheet E. See our IEC 60320 Coupler Sheet for more information.

Polarization: There are two types of polarization to consider when dealing with international plugs and sockets: 1) Physical Polarization—Characteristics of a plug that only allow the plug to be plugged in a certain way. 2) Electrical Polarization—Referring to the Line and Neutral being specified as always being connected to a specific pin location.

Polarization of European plugs and sockets: Some European plug and socket patterns pose a problem in regards to polarization. Plug and socket patterns such as the Italian and the Continental European are physically unpolarized, meaning they can be plugged into a socket in more than one manner. The Continental European standard is especially difficult, as it is not electrically polarized either, meaning the standards governing this pattern do not indicate a specific location for the hook-up of line and neutral. The French/Belgian pattern allows for physical polarization of the plug, but once again the standard does not indicate a specific electrical polarization. In other words, the socket may be wired either way. When designing for export, it is very important to take into account how unpolarized plug and socket patterns will affect your equipment.

Power Distribution: The delivery of power through a network or system for the purpose of supplying equipment and equipment accessories. This includes mains delivery, branch circuits, and accessory power distribution systems. See Accessory Power Distribution.

Power Distribution Units: A product line that is a division of our Accessory Power Strips. Interpower Power Distribution Units are 19" rack-mounting products that distribute power to equipment in a rack environment. See Power Distribution Units.

Power cord: A power cord consists of cable with a plug (either molded or hand wired) on one end and exposed conductor wires, terminated conductors, or blunt/flush cut conductors on the other end. See International cords.

Primary Power Components: Discrete devices such as fuses, Fuse Holders, voltage selectors, transformers, RFI power line filters, inductors, capacitors, indicators, switches, circuit breakers, primary power connectors, cords, and cordsets which are located electrically on the power mains side of the transformer.

Product Liability: The degree to which a manufacturer and their distributors are responsible in the event that someone is injured or killed while using a product. Under the European Liability law, manufacturers and distributors are presumed guilty of making or selling a defective product and trials simply determine the extent of the manufacturer's liability.

PVC [Polyvinyl Chloride (Thermoplastic)]: A common material for cable and conductor jackets and some molded plugs. See also Jacket.

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Quick Disconnects: Blade type connectors, which mate with a simple, formed sheet metal part. Most electrical components are manufactured with the male half of the quick disconnect. The female half is normally mounted on the connecting lead. The most common quick disconnect sizes are as follows:2.8 x 0.8mm = .110 x .032 inches (7/64")4.8 x 0.8mm = .187 x .032 inches (3/16")6.3 x 0.8mm = .250 x 0.32 inches (1/4")

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Rack-mount Power Distribution Units: See Power Distribution Units.

Receptacle: See Connector for in-line and Socket panel-mount receptacles.

Recognition: When UL tests an electrical component, it normally issues a component recognition. This attests to the fact that the agency found the component satisfactory for use in the applications for which it was designed and manufactured. UL also lists complete products (such as complete cordsets) and certain other components. See also Approval, Certification, Gutachten and UL.

Rewireable: Term used to describe a device that can be disassembled and wired again, after its initial assembly to wire or cable. See plugs, sockets, and Cable Connectors.


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SA (Standards Australia): Australian body responsible for writing and publishing Australian standards. Works closely with SNZ (Standards New Zealand) on many standards.

SNZ (Standards New Zealand): New Zealand’s agency in charge of writing and publishing standards.

Schuko: Trade name commonly applied to the Continental European plugs and sockets. This word is derived from the word "shutzkontact," which means protection contact or protected plug. Click for more information on Continental Europe.

SEMKOSEMKO (Svenska Elektriska Materielknotollanstalten AB): Testing and certification lab of Sweden. Click for more information on SEMKO.

SEV (Swiss Electrotechnical Association): Standardization, testing and certification lab of Switzerland. Click for more information on SEV.

Shielded Cable: Consists of conductors wrapped in an electrical property material, usually steel or aluminum, in braid or foil form. Shielded power cables reduce the possibility of electron surface discharge, provide an increase safety factor, and minimize induced potentials from other power lines wile reducing electrical interference. Shielded cables help some products meet international and North American EMC Directives.

Shuttered socket: Shuttering is a safety mechanism that shields the contact points, eliminating the intrusion of foreign objects into the outlets. The foreign objects can include dust, dirt, wires, pencils, paper clips, etc.

Single phase: Electrical circuit containing line, neutral, and ground.

"Splash resistant" socket: Socket covered with a spring-loaded flip-lid to protect the electrical outlet. These "splash resistant" sockets are suited for environments with airborne dirt and splashing liquid. They can be mounted on machinery used in areas where dust or by-products of manufacturing may come in contact with a machine-mounted socket without fear of harming or obstructing the socket.

SIISII (Standards Institution of Israel): Israeli standards and testing organization. Click for more information on SII.

Snap-in mounting: Permits the manufacturer to cut a mounting hole in the equipment and slide the component or product into the hole. The locking tabs snap into place, firmly holding the module to the panel surface.

Socket: Makes electrical connection with plugs via tension connections. They may be spring loaded or metal contacts bent to receive the pin or blade. See plugs and sockets. See High Power Pin and Sleeve Devices.

Socket Strip: Product made up of several key components that guide and control the power. These include power entry, control, protection, and distribution. Socket strips are used to provide multiple sources of power (outlets) in an application with limited (outlet) access. A socket strip can meet the power requirements with minimal connections. See Socket Strips.

Strain Reliefs: The main function of a strain relief is to protect the electrical connection and circuitry inside equipment. It also relieves strain or pressure on the outer jackets of the cable. Strain reliefs can be a part of a molded plug or connector, or a separate component. The body clamps onto the power cord, then connects firmly to the equipment panel. Strain relief componentsare used primarily in power cord applications where crimping, molding, or hand assembly can mount strain reliefs. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and styles. See Strain Reliefs.

Supplementary Circuit Protection: Takes the form of a fuse or circuit breaker for equipment. Both provide current protection to the equipment, reducing the possibility that a short circuit can damage the equipment or harm the user.

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Terminal: Contact point on a component, usually one of the following: quick disconnect, solder/quick disconnect and angled versions of both.

Terminal block: This component is used to join wires together to make electrical connections. The blocks are designed to fit where space is limited. The different parts of the terminal blocks are the insert, screw, and wire protector. The insert is where the wire is placed. It is located underneath each "chimney." The screws are located in each chimney. When the screws are tightened down on the wires, the wire protectors enhance the electrical connections. See Terminal Blocks.

Termination: Components that are molded, wired, or crimped onto the ends of power cords or cable. Some terminations include: straight blade and locking plugs and connectors, international and high power plugs and connectors, IEC 60320 connectors, ring and spade terminals, straight- and flag-style quick disconnects, and ultrasonic welding. Interpower Corporation carries a large selection of terminations to add value to a customer's request. See Made-to-Order Cable Terminations.

Three-Phase: Electrical circuit containing three lines and a ground or three lines, a neutral and a ground where the 3 lines are 120º out of phase with each other.

"Touchproof": Term used to describe the constructional safety feature, which prevents the user from inadvertently making contact with live terminals when a device is in use. This term is more typically used in conjunction with product, especially Fuse Holders and terminal blocks, designed for international use.

Transformer: Device used to isolate circuits and step up or step down voltage to a usable level for the equipment. Transformers transfer energy between the primary and secondary using magnetic field coupling. See also Voltage Changer.

TUV (Technischer Uberwachungs-Verein): German based International Testing and Certification organization. Its equivalent in the United States is OSHA. Click for more information on TUV.

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ULUL (Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.): Standards agency and testing laboratory for the United States. UL also has some limited involvement in international certifications. Click for more information on UL.

"Universal" Jumper Power cords and cordsets: These interconnection devices are used in applications where the power source connection is an IEC outlet device. The male IEC plug can make the connection for power. A jumper power cord application would include multiple pIECes of equipment working together to accomplish one task. The jumper power cord extends from the power source to the accessory equipment. A jumper cordset works like a jumper power cord. The difference is a connection device on both ends of the cable instead of just the plug end. Universal cable is used in the jumper power cords and cordsets assemblies. See "Universal" Jumper Power cords and cordsets and Accessory Power Distribution.

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VDEVDE (Verband Deutscher Electrotechniker): The German national testing agency. VDE is the most common German approval found on components. VDE also does some standards writing for Germany. Click for more information on VDE.

Volt: Unit of measurement for electrical power. The symbol for volts is V.

Voltage: measurement of power flowing through a conductor. Designated as Electromotive Force (emf). The symbol for voltage is VAC.

Volt•Amps: Unit of apparent power, equal to Volts x Amps. Symbol used to indicate volt•amps is VA.

Voltage Changer: A transformer in a container, prewired for customer use. A voltage changer allows the user to select the input voltage (120 to 240VAC), then convert it to 120VAC. Since this is a transformer, there is no frequency change with this unit.

Voltage Selector: An electrical switch that allows the primaries of a transformer to be switched. This way it can accommodate different mains supply voltages that are common in various parts of the world, in order to supply the equipment with a single set voltage (eg. 120VAC), which the equipment must have to function properly. If the equipment is supplied with a power supply capable of running on a range of voltages or a dual voltage (designated 120/240VAC), a voltage selector is not necessary.

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Watts: Unit of measure for actual power used by a pIECe of equipment. VxA=W

Wye: Transformer configuration that supplies power to a 3-phase, 5-wire circuit.