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IEC stands for International Electrotechnical Commission. It is a global organization that defines the standard specifications for electronic components and technical equipment. Many nations around the world, including the UK, are members of the IEC. The IEC standards make way for a more consistent approach in manufacturing electronic components while maintaining a set of standard specifications.

IEC promotes standards for electronic and technical components while complementing other globally recognized standards such as from ISO (International Organization for Standards), ITU (International Telecommunication Union), etc. These organisations work independently but in sync with each other in order to have a uniformity in the standards.

What are the IEC Standards?

A component that is compliant with IEC standards can be identified by the IEC code on the component. IEC standards have numbers in the range of 60000 to 79999. If the number is preceded by EN, it shows that the IEC standard has also been adopted by CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) as a European standard.

How are the IEC connectors named?

Connectors can be classified as male connectors and female connectors depending on how they are mated. In the nomenclature for IEC standards, an odd number is for the female connector. The succeeding even number is for the male connector that is compatible with it.

For example, if C1 is the female connector, C2 is the male connector that can be mated with it. There are a total of thirteen IEC connector combinations with different ratings. They are as given below:

C1 & C2:

They have two conductors. Current rating is of 0.2A. They are able to withstand temperatures up to 70 deg C.

C3 & C4:

They have two conductors and come with a current rating of 2.5A. They can withstand a maximum temperature of 70 deg C.

C5 & C6:

These connectors come with three conductors. They have a current rating of 2.5A and a temperature rating of up to 70 deg C.

C7 & C8:

They come with two conductors and a current rating of 2.5A. Maximum temperature allowed is 70 deg C. They allow a cable length of up to 4 meters as opposed to a cable length of up to 2 meters for the connector sets above.

C9 & C10:

With a current rating of 6A, this connector set comes with two conductors and allows temperatures of up to 70 deg C.

C11 & C12:

This set with a rated current of 10A and two conductors is no longer a part of the standard specifications.

C13 & C14:

This set comes with a current rating of 10A and three conductors. It allows cable length of up to 10 meters. It is also known as the IEC cold connector since it allows operation at temperatures of up to 70 deg C.

C15 & C16:

This set is known as the IEC hot connector or kettle leads since it allows operating temperatures of up to 120 deg C. It has a current rating of 10A and has three conductors.

C15A & C16A:

This set withstands even higher operating temperatures of up to 155 deg C. It comes with three conductors and rated current of 10A.

C17 & C18:

This set has two conductors with a current rating of 10A.

C19 & C20:

It has a rated current of 16 A and three conductors. Temperature rating is 70 deg C.

C21 & C22:

These connectors have a rated current of 16A and three conductors with a temperature rating of 155 deg C.

C23 & C24:

These connectors have a rated current of 16 A, two conductors, and temperature rating of 70 deg C.

Other IEC Components.

Apart from rugged connectors compliant with IEC specifications, Bulgin also manufactures inlets and outlets. These components have approvals from other regulatory organisations such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories), CSA (Canadian Standards Association), and VDE (Verband Der Elektrotechnik).

The full range of Bulgin IEC components can be accessed here.


To view the full catalogue of connectors and all other products please visit the Bulgin Website.

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