Is this the correct convention for providing power to IEC cables/connectors in USA?

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If your immediate reaction is "google it", I'm finding many diagrams online use somewhat ambiguous drawings instead of actual pictures of these things. It seems the "plug/pins/male" and "receptacle/sockets/female" words are often used incorrectly or it's unclear.


The star indicates the N may be Hot with L2 while L is always Line.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This only works if the other end of the cable has a polarized connector, too. E.g. Schuko isn't, and it's the most used "other end". \$\endgroup\$ – Janka Feb 14 '18 at 21:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's another meaning for the star for 50Hz bipolar plugs \$\endgroup\$ – Sunnyskyguy EE75 Feb 14 '18 at 21:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ What I meant is these IEC connectors, when used in the US, have both outer contacts hot in 230V applications. And when they are used in Europe, the user may use an IEC/Schuko cable, so any of the two outer pins may be hot. \$\endgroup\$ – Janka Feb 14 '18 at 21:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ So the Hot can actually be neutral? the reverse was my statement \$\endgroup\$ – Sunnyskyguy EE75 Feb 14 '18 at 21:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, whereever Schuko outlets and plugs are in use, you can reverse the plug in those, and then L and N on the connected IEC plug also reverse. \$\endgroup\$ – Janka Feb 14 '18 at 21:33

Devices with these IEC connectors must not make any assumptions about hot and neutral. In U.S. 230V applications, both are hot anyway, as the U.S. uses a split-phase for creating 115V+115V from 230V.

The longer middle pin is ground.

  • \$\begingroup\$ US 230v applications don't use typically use that plug. \$\endgroup\$ – dandavis Feb 14 '18 at 22:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh? Better not export the device to Europe then. \$\endgroup\$ – Janka Feb 14 '18 at 23:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ In theory it should be connected like the OP posted but you are right that those devices should work safely both ways since some places (even in Europe) have 230V between fases (so N might be "hot" as well) and lots of wall sockets can be plugged both way (except French and UK). In Belgium we use the French type which can only be plugged one way but our regulations do not enforce which pin is neutral or line. \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel P Feb 15 '18 at 1:13

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