IEC 60309 - Industrial connectors

In addition to a comprehensive range of international powercords, Morvan Trading also supply industrial IEC 60309 plugs and connectors.  These are circular connectors with cylindrical pins arranged in a circle, come in different sizes and pin configurations depending on application, and can be supplied as rewireable connectors and/or assembled into power cables.

IEC 60309 (formerly known as BS 4343 in the UK, IEC 309, and CEE 17) and CENELEC EN 60309 is a standard issued for “plugs, socket outlets and connectors for industrial uses”.  The IEC60309-1 document specifies general functional and safety requirements, while IEC60309-2 contains manufacturing specifications for standard connectors.  These are also called Pin and Sleeve plugs, Commando plugs and CEE plugs. 

Aside from industrial use at currents and voltages different from domestic power, they are also found in workshops, agriculture, camping and caravanning, yachting and marinas.  They are also used to prevent domestic appliances being plugged in where they shouldn’t.  As an internationally-recognised standard, these can also be used anywhere in the world.

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Voltage colour-coding IEC60309 couplers are colour-coded by voltage.  Extra low voltage is 20-25V and violet in colour.  Low voltage is 40-50V and white.  100-130V is colour yellow, and often used for building site equipment and power tools, along with North American domestic voltage (110-125V).  200-250V is blue, and used for European domestic voltages (220-240V).  380-480V is red and usually used for three-phase applications.  500-1000V is colour black, and used in marine and shipboard settings.  We can also supply high-frequency green connectors rated up to 500Hz for defence and aviation use.

Voltage keying In addition to the colour-coding, a keying system exists to prevent plugs and sockets of different current voltages being incorrectly connected.  A mating key and keyway on the outer plastic barrels means that plugs and sockets can only be connected one way round, and the pins are rotated for different voltages.  With the keyway at the bottom (or 6 o’clock on an imaged clock face) position of a socket, the larger earth contact aperture of a 3 pole 110V yellow socket is at 4 o’clock, which stops it being used with 240V blue plugs (6 o’clock earth) or 415V red plugs (9 o’clock earth).

Sizing by current rating To prevent connection of different-rated plugs and sockets, connectors with higher Amperages are physically larger.  Visually, connectors of different current ratings look slightly larger, and more importantly cannot be plugged together.  From the original BS 4343 British Standard in 1968, BS4343 16A versions have a pin layout based on the smaller 2A BS546, BS4343 32A is based on larger 5A BS546 and BS4343 64A is based on the largest 15A BS546 plug and socket.  Also, current ratings when used in North America may vary slightly.

IP ratings IEC 60309 are rated IP44 splashproof as minimum, making them ideal for outdoor or wet environments.  They can also be rated IP67 waterproof for harsher environments; the two rating systems are interchangeable. 

The IP rating stands for International Protection and is set out in IEC60529 document, and is sometimes also called the ingress protection rating.  ‘IP’ is followed by two digits, the first being a number from 0 (none) to 6 (dust-tight) for solid particle protection, and the second digit a number from 0 (none) to 8 (water jet) for liquid ingress protection.  The letter ‘X’ is used if insufficient data was available at testing. 

Sockets have a sprung lid to protect the live contacts when not in use, and when open the lid also locks onto the male connector.  Wall mount and panel mount inlets and outlets are mounted facing downwards for added protection.  The pins on the plug are shrouded by the sleeve to limit accidental contact, and contacts on the socket are recessed to make them more ‘finger-proof’.

The standard describes 3 pin (2P+E), 4 pin (3P+E) and 5 pin (3P+N+E) connectors, and a 7 pin non-standard connector is available delta 3 phase wiring.  Some larger plugs may have an extra pilot pin which makes last and breaks first to switch on the current and avoid potentially dangerous arcing.

Morvan Trading can supply the whole range of IEC 309 connectors, along with inter-standard adaptors, e.g. 1 32A plug to 2x 16A sockets.  Also possible are adaptors to and from domestic type plugs and sockets for the whole world, along with adaptors to/from other types of industrial plugs, e.g. Perilex plugs, 3-phase connectors, Swiss typ 15 & typ 25 plugs, and the higher-rated American NEMA plugs and sockets.

Contact us for more information on any of these cable types, either in bulk or with plugs and connectors attached, and we can discuss options and provide quick quotations, call us on 01264 353489 or click here to contact us

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Morvan Trading Ltd has over 40 years experience in the powercord business.

We are a family business established in 1991 who pride ourselves on our knowledge of cord sets and commitment to customer service.

  • Supplier to trade: industry, manufacturing and education
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  • UK, European and Far Eastern manufacture
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