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IEC C14 Madness

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frank kayser:
Thanks, guys.  That's the conclusion I came to, but it befuddled me that information, and that information consistently, was so difficult to extract from the internet.
Not so much a question but a series of observations as I made the journey.  So be it.

Jonathan Johnson:
In my opinon, any device that uses an IEC C13/C14 power connection, especially if it's a multivoltage power supply and equipped with a line switch, should have a double-pole switch that opens both lines simultaneously.

The reason is that in North America, if the device is connected to a 208V or 240V power supply, then both sides are "hot" relative to ground. Opening only one line could still leave components energized.

If it's not equipped with a switch (or a "death"/stinger cap), which one is neutral and which one is line/live/hot should be irrelevant.

Jeff Bankston:
The larger blade/slot is always suppose to be the ground. The next larger blade/slot is always suppose to be the neutral. The smallest blade(s)/slots(s) are suppose to be the hot. This is so its foolproof or suppose to be and the ground connection has the largest connection followed by the neutral. The hot is never suppose to be on the largest connection. On all the connectors I had ever wired the ground blade/slot screw is always green color. The neutral silver. The hot gold. Always check how a device is wired if in doubt. I am a retired commercial journey/foreman electrician.

Steve M Smith:

--- Quote from: Jeff Bankston on December 16, 2020, 12:38:25 AM ---The larger blade/slot is always suppose to be the ground. The next larger blade/slot is always suppose to be the neutral. The smallest blade(s)/slots(s) are suppose to be the hot.

--- End quote ---
Live and neutral are the same size for IEC.


John Roberts {JR}:

--- Quote from: frank kayser on November 13, 2020, 06:35:58 PM ---I was looking for what I thought would have been an a simple answer to a simple question.  Seems neither are simple.  On an IEC C14 panel connector, which side is hot, and which side is neutral? 

Much has changer over the years since Fender design where they were the power switch switched not the hot, but switched the neutral to turn the amp on and off. They also deployed the polarity switch and the "death cap".  I'm guessing modern circuits switch both the neutral and hot these days.  I would like to put it back as I found it.  Of course, if the wall outlet had hot and neutral reversed, how the socket is wired would be moot.
Some of the confusion is that the C14 is a multi-purpose, international connector, each with varying color codes, use for both 120v and 240v applications.
Some confusion comes from "language", not so much German, Spanish, or regional languages, but the use of words like plug and socket.

Part of the problem is one of definition I've had personally.  Male vs female connectors.  For example, one can see the outer, smaller shell plugging into another larger connector shell could be characterized as male to female connection.  Now I know it is not.  It is about the pins, not the shell.  Pins are male.

In case of NEMA, they use plug and receptacle - that logically translates to male and female parts of the connection.

Just as I was writing this, I came across this: IEC 60320 Reference Information.

This adds some official clarity of terms - from the  reference "Each Plug, Connector, Inlet is unique and can only be mated with a component with comparable voltage and amperage ratings. One consistent distinction between the names of each, is the male is an even number and the female is an odd number.

"Unfortunately, they use three terms, not two, in the bolded section above.  The document does explain the use of odd and even numbers. (second bold section), but fails to link Plug to Male, and Inlet to female - for good reason.  We can agree that exposed pins, blades, etc are never energized, except when in a safe female device.  Otherwise, death is not far away.

IEC C13 is at times a female cord-end device that supplies power to computers, amps, mixers, etc.  Most would refer to this device as a plug.  Contrast that to a NEMA 5-15p for example - one "plug" is male, built "P" into its name, and one device, many of us also call a plug, is female.  NEMA calls the other 5-15r end a receptacle, where the we would assume panel-mount C14 an inlet, receptacle, or socket.  And what is a connector? A C13/C14 pair?

This male-female, plug/inlet connector receptacle and socket language makes finding information on the web, shall we say, interesting. One answer to a the question started along the lines of the "socket, being female...".  Furthermore just about every explanation includes a picture - one being a C13 head on, and one being a C14 head on.  Hello, they both look the same from that angle!  Of course since they all look the same, one of the drawings or explanations had to be right - like a stopped analog clock being right twice a day.

Of course, a 120v circuit most likely has 120v hot, and 0v on the neutral, while 230v would have 115v on the hot, and 115v on the neutral.  To further confuse the matter, the small Honda gennies put 60v on hot, and 60v on neutral.

--- End quote ---
I am not the wiring terminology expert but I think I have seen 240 hot legs called L1 and L2, neutral is historically bonded to ground at the panel. Old school 240V wiring may have even included a neutral and a ground. IIRC when I installed my wall oven it had two hots and a neutral terminal tied to chassis ground. I tried to hire an electrician to wire in a proper 4 wire power drop, but he never answered my phone calls, so I ended up wiring in my oven myself. (don't tell anybody).


--- Quote ---My conclusion regarding the C13/C14 wiring, it appears there is not a "right" answer.  It appears it does not matter which side is wired hot. 

However I did get a clue on how *some* cords are wired from a picture of a C13 end that was marked "H" and ground.  Still a bit concerned, I plugged in an "IEC cable"  and with a neon tester, found which side was hot.  I wired the plug accordingly.

However, this entire exercise was a circular waste of time.  Thought I'd share.

--- End quote ---
From my experience with UL specs they tend to treat hot and neutral as if both are energized. They are both current carrying conductors.



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