Charging Cable Types: 6 Things to Consider Before Buying One

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

Power adapters are a need for many applications. To ensure a smooth energy flow, you may require inspecting your needs and choosing the charging cable appropriately. Let’s dig into the charging cable types.

Charging Cord Types Understanding

We can see charging cords in two types.

AC Wall Cords and Plugs

There are two criteria for selecting the AC wall plug.

  • In which region where you need to apply the power system?
  • What do you need for the application, two conductors or three?

Most countries use standard plugs in electric connections. These plugs have a limit on passing current and voltage. Thus, they will have the insulation according to the need.

As you look into wall plugs and adapters, you will see that the desktop adapter is just a cord, but builders integrate the wall plugs into a building, and they remain in one place. Desktop adapters work best in cases where you can connect different sockets with the wall plug.

Charging Cable Types 1

Caption: 3-pin power cord

Two Conductor VS Three Conductor

In many markets, three conductors deliver single-phase ac, but you cannot use every three conductors in applications. One of these three conductors is the protective earth, safety ground, or Frame ground pin. While these two power conductors carry the electricity, the ground pin keeps people safe.

Most modern electrical current designs that use two-conductor plugs have enough insulation to keep the design safe without needing a ground conductor.

The Line and Neutral Vs. Line 1 and Line 2

TLine and Neutral or Line 1 and 2 are standard designations for the power conductors in single-phase ac power systems. Some people consider neutral voltage more “safe” than live voltage since manufacturers design it to have a potential voltage near the local ground. Type-A plugs from North America use wider spades to transport electricity from the neutral pin and a more miniature spade for the line conductor. 

Thanks to the matching slots in North American wall sockets, the line, and neutral wires are visible at the load. Moreover, different ac power plugs and sockets can reversibly connect with the Line and Neutral pins. Hence, most companies in the international marketplace do not distinguish between the Line 1 and Line 2 AC input conductors.

Using Line 1 and Line 2 pins is common to provide a balanced voltage over both lines. It is unnecessary to use a neutral connection when electricity flows between conductors, Line 1 and 2.

DC Power Connectors

There are three standard connectors that most industries use in their applications. These are:

Barrel Connectors

Barrel Connectors are standard DC power connectors since they are inexpensive in manufacturing. Moreover, it has loose mechanical tolerances, and you do not need to follow any specific direction to connect it.

Barrel Connectors are based on the pin and plug design. The jack has a pin that inserts into the plug’s inner sleeves. Such a design ensures a solid electrical connection with lesser chances of losing plugs and sockets.

Although these features make the barrel connectors a good fit, the design has some issues. There is no standard mechanical tolerance between the pin and sleeve. The force you have to push the pin is not specified. Without standardization, there are chances of wear and tear on the pin and sleeve.

DIN Connectors

In a circular enclosure, DIN power connections have four pins or sockets that can be connected. IEC 60130-9 defines these connectors, initially defined by the German standards body (Deutsches Institut fur Normung) and named DIN connectors.

DIN connections are frequently employed in medium power systems where barrel connectors cannot transmit the requisite current. However, the majority confuses the power and signal DIN connectors.

Convention dictates that power DIN connectors contain four contacts arranged at about 90 degrees around the center of the connector. Documentation on pin and connector dimensions is scarce, although 4-pin DIN power plugs and jacks are expected to be compatible. With a threaded locking mechanism, you can also find power DIN connectors.

USB Connectors

Types of USB cables were designed to deliver dc power and data. Mobile devices widely accept them. Type-A is the most commonly used for devices requiring 5V (DC) and load currents under 2 A. However, Type-A features a single orientation for portable devices. Thus, you have to determine the correct direction, either visually or through some attempts.

As a solution, a smaller USB Type-C connector has two-way insertion. USB-C Cable can deliver up to 20 V at 5A, higher than the earlier USB connector’s capacity. 

While product designers can utilize any dc power connector, many electronic devices employ USB input power connectors to receive 5V (DC). Because of this, it is better to only use USB plugs on power sources rated at 5V (DC) without damaging the high-power electronic device. However, as an exception, standards may allow the supply and load to work between 5V to 20V.

6 Key Considerations for Selecting a Charging Cable

Let’s get into some critical considerations for choosing a suitable charging cable.

System Power Requirements

The first thing you have to consider is the wattage, amperage, and voltage. Thus, you must thoroughly inspect power leakage and operations to see the minimum and maximum power needs.

Package Type – Desktop or Wall Plug

The external power supply usually chooses between the desktop plug or wall plug. Both of these setups can work well for most applications. However, one may be better than the other in cases like

  • Different wattage ranges: Choosing desktop adapters instead of wall plugs with a high wattage application is better. But, in the case of low-power devices, a wall plug may be a winner. The desktop adapters have significant cases and thus can offer high output power.
  • Global Market: You can use multi-blade wall plugs or desktop plugs as you plan to sell your products internationally. Different countries have different standards. To meet them, you will only require to change the blade or cord.
  • Grounding: Desktop adapters offer three ground-referenced conductors or two floating output voltage ac input cords. Whereas wall plugs only offer ac input cords.
  • Portability: If you want your device to be portable or minimal as possible, you have to consider the side of the adapter. The heavier the adapter is, the lesser the portability factor of your gadget.

Dc Plug and Cable Options

External adapters can supply current to your design if you plug in it correctly. You need to choose the jack and receptacle combination that works well with larger devices.  

Additionally, make sure the dc cord satisfies your requirements like the dc plug. Here, you need to see whether it is long enough to connect the appliance to the socket. Changing the dc cord incompatible devices without any measure might impact efficiency and safety laws.

Efficiency Regulations, Safety Standards, and Agency Marks

Many countries have regulations on the limit of energy that can be ‘wasted’ by outside power sources. These standards are called efficiency standards.

Thus, ensure that the adapter meets regulatory standards for the end-user. For example, IEC 60601-1 certification for medical products: and IEC 62368-1 for ICT/AV products.

Moreover, many places require agency marks only used in that country, and these marks must be distinctive to that region. These country-specific certifications may require a lot of unique design and testing. 

EMI and EMC

Some applications may also require the products to pass the EMI and EMC regulations. These standards ensure that the device’s working is not disturbed by any external interference or other products working around it.

Branding and System Integration

Suppose the charger sets fit into your design and are working correctly. If not, you can always experiment with the other adapter types.

Conclusion

Selecting a suitable charging cable ensures a reliable connection between two devices. Here at Bloom, we offer wiring harnesses and cable assemblies. Your connection is made with attention to detail.

Get a free Cable Assembly Quote.