Power Cable –The Ultimate Guide You Need to Know

Virtually, if not all environment uses power cable, how many homes or work environment functions well without the aid of electricity? The answer is NONE.

For an electrical expert, it is easy to identify the different power cables and their uses. To an inexperienced fellow, it is a difficult task. A wrong choice of power cable poses a threat to individuals both in homes and public places.

To understand how power cables work, Read on!

Chapter One: Understanding Power Cables

What is the power cable?

Another name for power cable is the portable cord. Power cables are cables with two electrical conductors that aid the transmission of electrical power. They usually connect to a wall socket or extension cord to transmit electricity.

How does it work?

They serve different purposes and are compatible with several varying construction and materials. Power cables are suitable in the electric utility, industrial and commercial markets. These cables work for miming, lighting, welding applications, and so much more.

These cable types are fit for a temporary power supply rather than a permanent basis. Although some power cables function as a permanent means of electrical supply in buildings. In supplying electricity to motors and appliances, a power cable becomes a service cord.

Jacket material types: PVC jacket and rubber jacket

Both jacket material types are power cable insulation materials. The PVC jacket is a low voltage insulation material. PVC means Polyvinyl chloride. It is easy to maintain and is oil resistant. PVC jackets also resist the effect of other chemicals. Sadly, when the PVC jacket burns, it induces harmful gases into the air. These gases, such as dense smoke and hydrogen chloride gas, are detrimental to human health. In addition, the PVC jacket is prone to lose its insulating properties if it is made open to sunlight.

The rubber jacket is an organic insulation material. Just like the PVC jacket, it is also oil resistant. This material makes power cables very flexible. However, as it ages, it becomes hard and brittle. But, as soon as the rubber cracks, it loses its insulating properties. Another interesting feature of the rubber jacket is that it is resistant to ultraviolet radiation and ozone presence. All these qualities are dependent on the formation of the rubber jacket. Therefore, it is also suitable for heavy-duty applications.

Features of the power cable

Power cables possess a female conductor that connects to any appliance in the case of detachable leads. Therefore, it helps to avert the dangers of having a live protruding pin as it is a great threat to life.

It possesses a retaining clamp that protects it from cases of rough handling of the power cable. They make it easier for equipment to function by the safety requirement. As such, electrical currents reach distant places.

Furthermore, these cables possess cords. These cords are fuses, a pilot lamp, and a current detector. The cords are a shield to curb the effect of electromagnetic interference. More so, these cords help to prevent wrongful disconnection on any side of the cable.

Therefore, power cables possess suitable features that make the environment hazard-free as long as the connection is built correctly to the right channel.

An image of cable in a protective PVC buried under

Chapter Two: Power Cable Types

AC power cable

What is an AC power cable?

AC power cable means alternating cable. This power cable type aids connection to electrical equipment at buildings and various places. It comes in various voltage, current rating, shape, and size. AC power cable consists of the main plug, which connects to a flexible cord.

How does it work?

To work effectively, the power ON/OFF must be in the right setting. More so, the cord of AC power cable connects to any appliance whatsoever that needs electricity to work. Thus, it facilitates the trade of electrical appliances. In addition, though, the AC power cable is also part of an electrical appliance in some cases. That is, it stays with the appliance on a permanent connection.

Additionally, it works well for the comfort of consumers and the benefit of people who import electrical goods. It also suits building wiring. This power cable is relatively safe and helps in electrical noise reduction.

Also, it reduces heat generation, and with the AC power cable, replacement is quite easy.

An image of an electric socket connected to the red power cable

DC power cable

What is the DC power cable?

DC power cable is an acronym for the direct current power cable. It allows electric charge flow in one direction. It flows easily through a conductor, semiconductors, or insulators. An example of a DC power cable is a battery.

How does it work?

It allows conversion into an alternating current such as an inverter. Thus, it aids the production of aluminum and electrochemical processes. Additionally, in making railways in urban areas, this power cable type is beneficial.

It helps in changing batteries of electronic systems and motors to large power supplies.

Transmitting a large amount of power from a remote environment to an alternating power grid is possible with the DC power cable.

Automotive applications, telecommunications, and high voltage power transmission use DC power cable.

Summarily, both the AC power cables and DC power cables help transmission of information. But, they transmit electricity using different voltages.

Chapter Three: Power Cable Connector Types-International Standard IEC60320

What is IEC 60320?

IEC means International Electrotechnical Commission. It is a set of standard that specifies nonlocking appliances which connect power cables to electrical appliances within the range of 250 voltages. IEC 60320 is a standard that a lot of countries favor. The ‘C’ in IEC 60320 signifies the code standard of the connectors of IEC 60320.

C1/C2 coupler

What is?

The C1/C2 coupler is a connector and appliance inlet that is compatible with electrical appliances.


C1 / C2 coupler for power-operated electric shavers

C5/C6 coupler

What is?

It looks like a Mickey Mouse character. Another name of the C5/C6 coupler is the cloverleaf coupler.


It is compatible with laptops, power supplies, projectors, desktops, and some recent LCD television models from LG.

C7/C8 coupler

What is?

Another name for this coupler is figure -8. Again, it is a result of the crisscross shape of the connector.

It possesses three pins and allows the user to chooses the position of connector he/she fancies. In addition, it permits the use of dual voltage appliances.


This coupler suits cassette recorders, battery radio, battery charger, laptop computer power supply, full-size audiovisual equipment, and other appliances.

C13/C14 coupler

What is?

It makes use of a power cable with a suitable power plug that connects to one end of the appliance and the other end to the C13 coupler.


They are suitable for computers, routers, servers, and even switches. More so, the C13/C14 couplers assist in providing power from a power distribution unit to a server.

C15/C16 coupler

What is?

They share similar characteristics with the C13/C14 coupler except for slight differences. A unique difference between the C13/C14 coupler and the C15/C16 coupler is the temperature rating.


C15/C16 couplers are very compatible with hot household appliances such as kettles.

C15A/C16A coupler

What is?

These couplers are similar to the C15/C16 couplers, except that they possess higher temperature ratings. The temperature rating of C15A/C16A is 155°C.


They are suitable for boiling household appliances.

C17/C18 coupler

What is?

This coupler is very similar to C13/C14 coupler, but they are unearthed.


It fits the IBM Wheelwriter series of the electronic typewriter, audio applications, power supply of Xbox 360 game consoles, and large CRT televisions of the 1990s.
C19/C20 coupler

What is?

It is rectangular and earthed. Its pins are parallel to the long axis of the coupler face.


The C19/C20 couplers are suitable for IT applications that use high currents such as high power workstations and servers, uninterrupted power supplies, large network routers, PDU, switches, blades enclosures, and other equipment.

C21/C22 Coupler

What is?

It is a coupler type that makes use of a high IEC heat rating. It is not a very common type of coupler, but there are high future expectations of it. A lot of power systems find this coupler very useful. In situations of very high temperature, C21/C22 coupler handles the heat ratings effectively.


These couplers work well for high current equipment such as data or blade servers.
C23/C24 coupler

What is?

It is an ungrounded variant of C19/C20, and they have two conductors.


This coupler does not work well in high-temperature ratings like the C23/C24 couplers. They operate on a maximum of 70°c.

It is important to use couplers for productivity purposes. However, the wrong choice of couplers is enough to mar the much-expected result in production.

Chapter Four: Power Cable Plug Types-The Different Country Has Different Standard

Different countries make varying preferences as long as it concerns the choice of plugs. These choices are dependent on certain factors that affect them. There is a lot of power cable type plug available to choose from. They include:

North American Plug: NEMA 5-15P (Type B)

Is an acronym for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. It Is have also known as a three-prong grounded plug. It possesses two flat parallel blades with a round flat pin placed above and below them.

The female form of NEMA 5- 15P is NEMA 5- 15R.


NEMA 5- 15P suits electronic devices such as laptops. Countries like North America, Canada, Panama, and Mexico favor this plug.

Europe plug: CEE 7/7 (Type E, Type F)

What is?

CEE is an acronym for International Commission on Rules for the Approval of Electrical Equipment. Europe plug is common in European counties.

It possesses around- like shape with two rounded pins and a socket.


All European countries that favor the CENELEC standard make use of this plug. However, countries like Denmark, Ireland, Cyprus, Malta, Italy, Switzerland, and Gibraltar do not use this plug.

UK plug (Type G)

What is?

The UK plug is a rectangular-shaped blade in a triangular pattern. It possesses an incorporated fuse as well.


The plug is of immense use in UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and so many other countries.

AC power plug flat two pole round pin

Other standards: JIS C8303 (Type I), AS/NZS 3112 (Type A.B), etc.

What is?

It is a plug type that some other country favors. Whatever be the case, the choice of power cable plug type of these countries is in line with IEC 60320 standard.


Countries like Australia, Brazil, and the Japanese make use of other standards of plugs.

Chapter Five: More about Power Cables

The power cable has more than the eye sees. Some other components of the power cables include:

Extension power cable

What is?

There are different ways to classify extension power cables. It is also known as extension plug, extension cord, power extension cords, locking extension cords, and heavy-duty extension cords.


Extension power cable suits indoor, outdoor, and waterproof extension cord uses.

An image of a UK plug

Flexible cable

What is?

Flexible cable is another name for flexible cord, flexible cordage, and flexible cord wire.


Flexible cables are essential for producing PVC materials and rubber cables for any use whatsoever.

Cable Reel

What is?

Other names for cable reel are cord reel, wire reel, extension reel, and plastic reel.


This cable helps roll long extension cables with two to four sockets.

Power cables do not exist in isolation. They require the contribution of various other components like flexible cable, cable reel, and extension power cables.

Chapter Six: Cloom Tech-Custom Power Cable Tech

Cloom Tech is a name synonymous with excellence in cable-related topics. We are a reliable cable service provider that can customize cable services to your needs.
With just the right information, we can help you get the cable service that meets your needs.

With Cloom Tech, you can enjoy the exquisite service with confidence. Feel free to provide details of your wiring diagram, such as choice of connector, plug, and the material of jacket that tickles your fancy, and leave the rest to us.

Power cables just got easier with us. Remember, we are always at your service.


There are a variety of cable types. But, power cables are the most common cables that are almost everywhere. The presence of these cables makes it difficult to identify the various types and connectors that are compatible with each other.
Since this is undisputable, power cables are not as complex as it seems. It only requires attention to the littlest detail. If you desire perfection, contact us!

Hey, I am John, General manager of Cloom and OurPCB.

I am a responsible, intelligent and experienced business professional with an extensive background in the electronics industry.

Reach me at [email protected] to get a quote for your projects.


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