IEC stands for the International Electrotechnical Commission. It was founded in London in 1906 to promote the exchange of technical standards and information among various technical societies. Prior, each country had its own technology organization and standards. The hope was to create some standardization that would allow for real international trade. The IEC is responsible for developing standards on a global basis. The IEC 60320 coupler standard is the international standard for appliance interconnections and connections to the mains. It reduces costs, it simplifies the process, and it does make the international approval process easier as well.
The IEC standards are divided into: general requirements, groups with a specific need, and standard sheets and gauges that provide people with the standard devices they’re going to use to test to determine whether or not a particular connector meets requirements.
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.
The C7 C8 is a class II device is rated at 2 1/2 amps, cold. The other device in this family is the C5 and C6. It’s a class I grounded connector.
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. The most common IEC 60320 coupler family is the C13 C14. It is again class I, is grounded, and it is cold. It’s rated internationally under IEC 60320, 10 amps, and is tested by UL and CSA at 15 amps. The C17 C18 is a class II device, ungrounded with similar current ratings.
Hot devices are intended for use on heating type appliances that exceed 100 degrees Celsius. C15-16 is a class I, grounded connector. The C13 will not fit into a C16 inlet. The Class I, very hot is the C15A C16A, class I connector with ground.
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. It’s the C19 C20 coupler family, and the first C19 C20 is a class I with the ground and it’s cold. A second connector in this family is the class II, no ground, cold. This is the so-called C23-24 combinationThe C21 C22 is a class I and very hot, rated at 16 amps internationally, and it is a class I type connector. These devices are all rated at 16 amps internationally, UL and CSA test them at 20 amps.
The first coupler rated at 2.5 amps is a class I device with a ground. These are called standard sheets A and B. 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, the 10 amp/15 amp coupler family. Standard sheets E and F are very commonly used particularly in computers, 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.
The appliance coupler is basically a system that enables the connection and disconnection of the mains power from the equipment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The outlet provides basically accessory power. It mounts directly on the equipment and it will mate with the plug connector.