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If I look at the power cord plugged from the wall socket to desktop computers, monitors, etc. at the office, it looks like (North America):

AC power cord

Now, if I look at the power cord plugged into my laptop's power supply (North America again):

Laptop AC power cord

I checked with my colleagues and it seems all the laptops (from many different manufacturers) use the same power cord, while the other appliances (desktop, monitors, etc.) use the first model.

Is there a standard governing this? If yes, what are the electrical reasons for this? Maybe the laptop version fits more snugly in the socket and is thus less prone to being unplugged by accident?

I am eager to improve my knowledge of electronic design so...

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The top picture is an IEC standard line cord, used with equipment that can support 110V or 220V standard mains power. The second photo is a smaller 3 conductor cord. \$\endgroup\$ – MarkU Aug 27 '15 at 19:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ The wonderful thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from. \$\endgroup\$ – Dwayne Reid Aug 27 '15 at 19:04
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Yes. IEC 60320 covers these connectors. The Mickey Mouse connector is C5/C6 (Female/Male). The boxier connector is C13/C14. The reason for one over the other is mainly size and Amperage (and therefor temperature). C5 is rated for 2.5 Amps Main Voltage. C13 is rated for 10 Amps Main Voltage. Any power supply over 300W will not be able to use the C5. Most laptops are under 100W.

Additionally the ATX computer form standard calls for the C13 connector. Even smaller than 300W power supplies in ATX format uses them.

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