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  5. Information on IEC 60320 Products

More Information on IEC 60320 Products

Using IEC 60320 components in electrical product designs can be beneficial when exporting to global markets.

“The IEC stands for the International Electrotechnical Commission. It 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. These standards on electrical products and components include references to safety and performance,” explained Bob Wersen, President of the Interpower Group of Companies.


The IEC 60320 standards are a series of international standards specific to connectors, inlets, plug connectors, and outlets. There are a number of benefits that may be gained for an equipment designer when following IEC 60320 standards.

“The IEC 60320 is the common connector interface throughout the industrialized world. It simplifies the task of specifying a connector to use on a cord set along with a country-specific plug,” Bob said.

“The IEC 60320 also provides a standard framework to work from for product design and testing. These connectors help prevent improper connections by the design configurations themselves. They provide a uniform connector for similar voltages, thus ensuring a safe connection,” he added.

Another benefit is that the IEC 60320 standards are accepted globally. Some countries may add specific deviations per their national requirements, but the basis of them are from the IEC standards.

Product Design for Global Markets

Using globally-accepted power system components, such as IEC 60320 components, in a product design can help to expand business opportunities. The IEC 60320 components can include: a connector, an inlet, a plug connector, and an outlet.

Connector and Inlet

A connector and an inlet (also known as an appliance coupler) enable the use of standard inlets and country-specific cord sets which allows manufacturers to produce the same appliance for many markets, where only the cord set has to be changed for a particular market. Appliance couplers are primarily used for incoming power to a system.

Each type of connector and inlet is identified by the letter “C” followed by a number, where the number for the appliance inlet is one higher than the number for the corresponding connector.

The IEC 60320 AC power inlet is the most commonly used means of connecting a detachable cord set to electrical or electronic equipment that consumes up to 16A/250V (or up to 20A for North America) at operating temperatures up to 120°C. By designing an IEC 60320 power inlet into a product, the manufacturer can attach an international cord set (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 worldwide.

The most commonly used IEC 60320 connectors and inlets at Interpower are:

IEC 60320 Connectors and Inlets

C5 Connector

C6 Inlet

C7 Connector

C8 Inlet

C13 Connector

C14 Inlet

C15 Connector

C16 Inlet

C19 Connector

C20 Inlet

Plug Connector and Outlet

A plug connector and an outlet (also known as interconnection appliance couplers or accessory power) give a means of providing a power supply from one equipment or appliance to be available to other equipment or appliances. These couplers are primarily used for outgoing power from a system.

For each type of plug connector and outlet, it is identified by “Sheet” followed by a letter (e.g. E, F, I, J).

The most commonly used IEC 60320 plug connectors and outlets at Interpower are:

IEC 60320 Plug Connectors and Outlets

Sheet E Plug Connector

Sheet F Outlet


Sheet I Plug Connector

Sheet J Outlet

Current and Temperature Ratings

All devices described under these standards have standardized current and temperature readings.

Different types of connectors (distinguished by shape and size) are specified for different combinations of current, temperature, and grounding requirements. Unlike IEC 60309 connectors, they are not coded for voltage; users must ensure that the voltage of the equipment is compatible with the main supply.

Cold, Hot, and Very Hot Configurations

  • Cold (70°C/158°F)
    For example, the IEC 60320 C13 connector is designated for cold conditions (70°C measured at the pins of the inlet).

  • Hot (120°C/248°F)
    The C15 connector is designated as a hot connector (120°C at the pin). The corresponding C16 inlet includes a key which prevents insertion of the international connector intended for “cold” conditions.

  • Very Hot (155°C/311°F)
    For applications needing a “very hot” rating at 155°C, IEC 60320 provides a C15A connector and C16A inlet and a C21 connector and C22 inlet.

Angled Connectors

Interpower molds five different IEC 60320-1 C13 and C19 connector configurations for global use. The various angles allow for connections to be made to equipment helping to eliminate the possibility of pinched or tangled cable, which can provide a safer routing of the cable. These are ideal for areas where space is limited between the equipment and the wall or where cord lengths need to be kept to a minimum for a tight or clean look, such as on equipment racks.

Common uses for the C13 and C19 connectors include medical equipment, test equipment, and IT equipment, along with commercial appliances, some home appliances, data centers, power distribution devices, and professional food equipment, to name a few. They are also used in indoor equipment fields.

For more details and angle configurations, see “More Information on IEC 60320 C13 and C19 Connectors.”

Additional Resources

IEC 60320 components are found in various Interpower product lines including accessory power, power cords and cord sets, jumper cord sets, modules, and Accessory Power Strips.

See the complete line of IEC 60320 products available at Interpower, along with a complete list of IEC 60320 connectors, inlets, plug connectors, and outlets found on the IEC 60320 Appliance and Interconnection Couplers chart. See also the Featured Product page and view a webcast on the “Overview of the IEC 60320” found on the Interpower website.

Interpower offers value-added services and free technical support. For further assistance, contact Customer Service.