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IEC 60309: The New U.S. Standard for Wiring Devices?

There’s a new standard popping up all across the United States, but not everyone understands what it means. The U.S. is one of only three countries in the world to use the imperial system instead of switching to the metric system. Likewise, most countries also use a different body of standards for wiring and electrical engineering. In America, we use the standards and practices enforced by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). Other countries refer to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards for wiring devices.

Recently, we’ve starting to see significantly more utilization of the IEC standards in the U.S. Particularly, IEC 60309 — and with good reason!

NEMA standards only cover rated outputs up to 60 amps in non-locking ranges and 30 amps in critical locking ranges. If an electrical engineer is working with higher outputs, they use expensive proprietary products but, what’s the point when it’s easier and less expensive to order an IEC 60309 product online?

IEC60309 specifies general functional and safety requirements for any form of industrial, high-current plugs or socket-outlets with ampacities that range between 16 and 125 amps. The U.S. isn’t exactly “switching” to this IEC standard, but we will continue to seegrowth in IEC 60309 products. Beyond the capacity and availability, these products offer numerous benefits.

IP Solids and Liquids

Benefits of IEC 60309

IEC 60309 devices are RoHS, REACH, and CE compliant, making them a safe option for countries across the globe.

IEC 60309 devices are produced in many varieties, including different pin-counts, plug diameters, and voltages to accommodate all sorts of applications.

These devices are designed in such a way that a plug of one type can only be mated with a socket of the same kind, which takes the guesswork out of installation and increases safety.

IEC 60309 parts are IP rated for protection against harsh environmental elements.

IEC 60309 and IP Ratings

In meeting the requirements outlined by the IEC, an end-product can achieve a high Ingress Protection rating (IP). An IP rating indicates how well an electrical enclosure is protected from penetration by dust, water, and other liquid contaminants. The rating always begins with IP followed by two numbers. The first number represents the level of protection from solids. The second number represents the level of protection from liquids.

IEC 60309 can result in an IP44 rating, which indicates splash- and weather-proof resistance, or IP67, which indicates that the device is submersible for short periods.

Decoding IEC Part Numbers

All IEC 60309 plugs, connectors, inlets, and receptacles are interoperable; however (as mentioned above) interoperability is only possible when the part number is the same for each component. For example, a 360P6W will insert and lock into any 360C6W/360R6W or insert but will not lock with any 360C6/360R6.

Sound confusing? Understanding part numbers may look daunting, but the breakdown is actually quite easy to learn. In the above example — 360P6W:

3: indicates the number of pins or holes on the deviceDecoding IEC Parts

60: indicates the amperage rating (this number can be one, two, or three digits)

P: is the first alpha character, which represents the device type:
P = Plug
C = Connector
B = Inlet
R = Receptacle
6: indicates the clock position of the ground pin and the voltage rating.

W: may or may not be present, and indicates that the device is watertight (rated IP67).

Even with a simple explanation of the nomenclature, choosing the right IEC 30609 device for your application can be perplexing. To ensure you make the proper selection, we created this easy-to-use IEC 30609 Reference Chart. As a global reseller with the largest in-stock selection in the world, StayOnline has an entire inventory of IEC 30609 connectors, plugs, and power cords. Visit our website to browse through a variety of options.

To learn more about how our IEC 30609 products are fit to power your data center, check out our interactive page that will show you the ins and outs of what that looks like.