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Power Cords - What are computer power cords called? Alternatively known as a power cable or power cables - mains cable or flex, a power cord is the primary cable that provides power to the computer, printer, monitor, and components within a computer. Established by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (N.E.M.A.), NEMA describes various connectors used on power cords throughout North America and some other countries. NEMA devices range in amperages from 15-60, and in voltages from 125-600. Different, non-interchangeable plug types are created based on specific amperages/voltages, and are each given a NEMA designation. That way, something that calls for 125 volts cannot be mistakenly inserted into a 220 volt receptacle.
There are two main classifications of NEMA devices. One power cord is called a straight-blade, the other is locking. Straight blade power cords are the type most found in regular consumer electronics, whereas locking devices are reserved for more industrial uses where a plug accidentally falling out of a receptacle is a bigger worry. The locking-type power cords will have curved blades that allow the plug to be twisted and locked into the receptacle. An "L" preceding the NEMA code indicates a locking connector. Power Cords -
So, let's discuss these NEMA codes. The most common NEMA power cord connectors are the 5-15 and 5-20 designations. The first number indicates the plug configuration. This includes the number of poles and wires and the voltage. A grounding type device will be described as two-pole, three-wire or four-pole, five-wire etc. A non-grounding power cord device will be two-pole, two wire or three-pole, three-wire etc. The second number in the code indicates the amp rating of the device, and is followed by an "R" for receptacle, or a "P" for a plug.
For example: 5-15R is a 125V, 2-pole, 3-wire receptacle rated at 15 amps and is the most commonly found power outlet in houses in the U.S.for power cords.
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