Cord sets are detachable from both the power supply and the electrical equipment and consist of a flexible cord with electrical connectors at either end. One end of the cord set is attached to a molded electrical plug; the other is typically a molded electrical receptacle to prevent the possibility of having an exposed live prong or pin which would cause electric shock.
Cord sets are tools used for the conduction of electricity. They involve a conductor, typically a material such as copper, insulative material, and a protective jacket or covering to protect the conductive wire. Other components of a cord set might include: electrical fuses to prevent against surges in voltage, a current leak detection component, a method of checking voltage, and in sensitive equipment, a protective material minimizing the effects of electromagnetic energy.
Cord sets are utilized in a wide variety of applications wherever electrical equipment and appliances are in use, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential. Most cordsets use AC power, meaning they conduct electrical power in the form of an alternating current that periodically reverses direction of flow.
Extension cords are longer cord sets that allow for the provision of electrical supply up to hundreds of feet away from a main power source for appliances such as electrical power tools, lighting and sound equipment etc.
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) is responsible for setting manufacturing and product quality standards for North American cord sets, electrical plugs, cord voltage capabilities, and receptacle configurations to ensure safety of the operator. International standards apply to the different types of electrical cord components found in other countries which use different voltages and electrical plug configurations.
As with any components involved with the transfer of electrical energy, there are risks and dangers to using cord sets. Personal injury, death, and/or property damage could result from the deterioration, damage, or misuse of electrical appliances and components, and there are important safety considerations to take into account. Polarization and grounding are especially important for certain higher voltage appliances, and for electrical equipment that holds a higher risk of causing shock when live. Polarization of plugs at the end of cord sets ensures that the piece of equipment is connected to the neutral, or grounded, side of the circuit. Sensitive electrical equipment should only be used with polarized or grounded cord sets.