A Guide to Electrical Connectors
Data Center Power Series – 3
From the two previous whitepapers published in this series we’ve learned about power selection in Data Center Power Series – Part 1 – Choosing the Right Voltage, and about power and cooling calculations in Data Center Power Series – Part 2 – Voltage, Amps, Watts and BTUs. In this installment of the series, we’ll learn more about power connectors and cables, the various types typically used in data center environments, and specifications for each including diagrams to help you identify and choose the right connectors and cables for your environment.
Why Are There So Many Different Power Connectors?
Power connectors must be designed to meet many requirements including safety regulations, heat rating, efficient power delivery, functionality, intended use, wiring scheme, and circuit specifications. Each cable and connector configuration is designed to meet these and other applicable requirements which determine the number of wires, wire jacket colors, wire and blade material and gauge, insulation, shielding, connector size, plug casing, etc. With the many variations in power configurations and requirements, standards organizations have developed to provide specifications for manufacturers to ensure cables, connectors, and devices are designed accordingly. The power connectors shown below are designated by standard codes as defined by the leading industry standards organizations, International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA).
As you can see from the information presented here, there are many factors and options to consider when selecting power cables and connectors. Selecting the wrong cable type or connectors can result in significant delays, unplanned downtime, and subsequent loss of revenue and/or productivity.
Fortunately, manufacturers generally make it reasonably straightforward to select the right combination of cables and connectors for your devices if you know the basics presented here and can clearly identify your requirements.