Serving industries such as commercial, retail, industrial, residential, electronics, and entertainment, AC power cords are used with applications like electrical power tools, lighting, household appliances, musical instruments, shop equipment, and numerous personal uses. AC power cord manufacturers and AC power cable suppliers offer all kinds of AC power cord options to accommodate this broad range of applications.
AC power cords use alternating currents of electrical energy, movements, or flows in which electric charges periodically reverse direction. This movement of energy transmits energy from a power supply source to equipment through a connecting cord.
The connecting cord itself is a cable assembly comprised of a conducting medium, typically copper, surrounded by cord covers, insulating material and an outer polymer or rubber jacket which protects the wire. AC power cords consist of a flexible cord with electrical plugs at each end, one male and one female.
Most power cords are AC power cords, and there are many different possible types and voltages, depending on the country. NEMA power cords are the standard for North American electrical plugs, cord voltage capacities, and electrical receptacle configuration. The two most commonly used NEMA plug types are Type A, which have two conducting blades or prongs, and Type B, which have an additional third grounding rod. Other regions throughout the world have alternate standards to which international power cords and cord sets adhere.
Manufacturers of AC power cords follow various specifications in their construction, including voltage rating, current rating, wire shape and size, length and jacket material as well as the type of molded plug and female connector. The female connector attaches to the appliance or electrical equipment. The male plug connects to the electrical receptacle, electrical outlet or power supply.
Since many countries use different voltage and frequencies in their AC power, AC power cords must fit those standards in order to perform correctly. There are AC plug types A through M and the types can break down into further categories depending on slight variations.
As with any component that handles the transfer of electrical energy, there are important safety considerations to be taken into account. Grounding, or polarization, is especially important for certain higher voltage appliances and electrical equipment that could have a higher risk of shock when live. Polarization of an electric plug ensures that the equipment is connected to the neutral, or grounded, side of the circuit, and reduces the risk of potential electric shock to anyone handling the equipment. Sensitive electrical equipment and products should only be used with polarized or grounding type AC power cords.