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Appliance Couplers

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IEC connectors

Appliance couplers approved according to IEC 60320 are designed as two pole appliance couplers for alternate current with or without a protective conductor with a rated voltage of 250 V and a rated current of 16A for a technical application that is desired for interconnection to flexible cords of electrical equipment for power supply of 50Hz or 60Hz.

Appliance couplers according to the mentioned standard are suitable for operation under environmental temperatures of normally 25° C and do not have to exceed 35° C.

Appliance couplers are designed for use without special moisture protection. So the design of the appliance needs to assure ingress protection if it is designed to be used under these circumstances.

The following figures need to be respected in order to meet standard IEC 60320:

- Rated voltage: 250 VAC

- Rated current according type: 0.2A, 2.5A, 6A, 10A, 16A

The appliance couplers are separated according to the maximum operation temperature at the base of the connector pin:

- Pin temperature up to 70°C: Appliance couplers for cold condition

- Pin temperature up to 120°C: Appliance couplers for warm condition

- Pin temperature up to 155°C: Appliance couplers for hot condition

Their outlines are coded in a way, that appliance couplers for hot conditions may also be used under cold conditions, and appliance couplers for very hot conditions may also be used under cold or hot conditions.

The appliance couplers are separated according to the categories of equipment:

- Appliance couplers for appliances according to protection class I

- Appliance couplers for appliances according to protection class II

- The protection classes are described in standard IEC 61140

Appliance couplers will be additionally separated according to the connection method to a flexible cord:

- Rewireable connectors

- Non-rewireable connectors

IEC appliance couplers

Appliance couplers, interconnection couplers, and power plugs are developed and manufactured in accordance with national and international standards. These standards are issued in order to create a general consensus on the basic dimensions and safety goals of the appliance couplers. Following this approach, safety has been achieved, in the overwhelming majority of cases, when combining components. While the design of power plug systems is governed by the relevant national standards, appliance couplers follow the IEC 60320 standard, including its subsections.

The power supply of various electrical appliances follows country-specific requirements in terms of voltage and current. It is therefore practical for international appliance manufacturers to use IEC appliance couplers and interconnection couplers for their respective appliances’ power supply. SCHURTER, i.e. its strategic division, provides a wide range of products for such purposes. In order to ensure full compliance with the given standards, SCHURTER products are tested by independent testing organizations (See ).

Application area

Two-pole AC-only appliance couplers, with or without earthing contact, rated for voltages up to 250VAC and nominal currents of up to 16A, used for connecting a flexible power supply cord to electrical appliances or other electrical installations at 50 or 60Hz (cf. ).

Two-pole AC-only interconnection couplers, with or without earthing contact, rated for voltages up to 250VAC and nominal currents of up to 16A, used for interconnecting the power supply and appliances or installations at 50Hz or 60Hz (cf. ).

Pin temperature

The requirements placed on connectors are contingent on the maximum temperature of the corresponding appliance inlets, i.e:

Plug Temperature

corresponds to



Appliance couplers for cold conditions

(colloquially referred to as a ‘cold condition’ appliance couplers)


Appliance couplers for hot conditions

(colloquially referred to as a ‘worm condition’ appliance couplers acc. translation of a German terminology)


Appliance couplers for very hot conditions

(colloquially referred to as a ‘hot condition’ appliance couplers)

‘Cold condition’ appliance inlets may not be used in appliances with exterior parts whose temperature increase can exceed 75K and which, when used properly, can come into contact with the movable power cord.

Nominal currents

According to IEC 60320, the following nominal currents apply: 2.5A / 6A / 10A /16A. The nominal current ratings of SCHURTER’s components are based on the relevant approval standards which may differ from one country to another (see ). The table below shows the differences between the IEC’s nominal current ratings and those approved by VDE, UL, and CSA (SCHURTER reference components). IEC 60320, to prevent improper use, provides for contour coding for the nominal currents listed above.





2.5 A

2.5 A max.

2.5 A

6 A max.

6 A

6 A max.



10 A

10 A max.

15 A max.

16 A max.

16 A

16 A max.

20 A max.

21 A max.

Circuit breakers for equipment

In addition to switching, a Circuit Breaker for Equipment (CBE) ensures protection against overload. You will find detailed information on CBE as well as a product overview of Power Entry Modules with CBE in the product overview under Circuit Breakers for Equipment.

Special designs

Appliance couplers in compliance with the present standards are designed to connect appliances without special protection against humidity (see ). Appliances whose operation, when used properly, may involve overflowing liquids or dust emissions must themselves be protected against humidity. IEC standard 60320-2-3 provides that the power supply’s IP protection rating must be at least identical to that of the appliance.

Special designs may also become necessary in environments involving special conditions (e.g. on ships or in motor vehicles) and in dangerous locations (e.g. involving explosives).

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