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Monthly Archives: March 2019

  1. Counterfeit Cables

    Cables are the backbone of most modern technology. From simple ethernet cables keeping office computers online to heavy-duty power cables running hospital equipment, cables are involved with every aspect of technology. Even wireless devices like cell phones and tablets can only work by connecting to other devices like modems and routers that use cables themselves.

    With cables being so critical, it is important to think economically when making purchases. However, once prices get too low it should set off a red flag. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Where cables are concerned, that can mean counterfeit cables that do not meet industry standards. These cables are unsafe and can damage themselves, the equipment they are connected to, and people unfortunate enough to be handling them.

    Identifying Counterfeit Cables

    Simply put, a counterfeit cable is any cable that does not meet industry standards. This often means using subpar materials to make the cable. Many counterfeit cables also go the extra step to try to deceive customers with false certification marks.

    There are a few common counterfeit cable scams to look out for. At the foremost is cables made using inferior materials. One of the most common is copper-clad aluminum (CCA). Most cables use pure copper lines, with the exception of some coax cables that use copper-clad steel. CCA is no longer considered an industry standard but it is not entirely obsolete. Sometimes it is passed off as a cheap solution for jobs it is not qualified for.

    Another common scam is faking certification labels. Many cables are tested to standards set by federally acknowledged facilities

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  2. Hospital-Grade Power Cords

    In North America and Japan, special power cords are required for use with any equipment in a hospital or medical setting. Some other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and Denmark use similar recommendations, but they are not technically required by law. This article will focus on power cords required for medical equipment in North America, most notably the United States and Canada.

    In Technical Terms

    Under regulatory and safety committees in the US and Canada, hospital-grade power cord requirements are highlighted under the following sections:

    • UL 60601-1 and CAN/CSA C22.2 no. 21 (medical equipment standards)
    • UL 817 and CAN/CSA 22.2 no. 21 (power supply cord standards)
    • UL 498 and CAN/CSA 22.2 no. 42 (attachment plug and receptacle standards)

    Additionally, they must conform to NEMA WD-6 and UL 817 by meeting the following requirements:

    1. The blade plugs must be made of solid brass, not folded brass.
    2. The blade plugs are nickel-plated.
    3. The plug includes a strain relief or similar device to reduce stress on internal components.
    4. The plug is marked with a “green dot” to signify it is hospital-grade.

    These standards can apply to any cord that uses a NEMA 5-15, 5-20, 6-15, or 6-20 plug.


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  3. Power Cord Organization: Color Coding

    Ensuring an organized workspace and knowing the functions provided by a specific colored cable are critically important in any electrical setting. Putting the effort into planning out cable management ahead of time is always a good idea. A neat, organized structure makes it much easier to find the cable you are looking for whenever something needs to be unplugged or when trying to simplify knowing which cables perform what operations. Color coding your power cords can ease a complex situation and help you keep your peace of mind when trying to figure out a problem.

    Color Coding Methodology

    Keeping cords untangled is one thing, but color coding can ensure you always know which cables go where. Using different colors can be as simple as telling the new guy, “Do not unplug the grey one, that powers your computer.” A simple color coding system can ensure everyone knows which cable goes where with a simple glance. An ideal system will be simple, intuitive, and easy to manage.  

    It is important to consider the limitations of a color coding system before jumping in too deep. For instance, are the colors being used in familiar ways (for example, a red cord being something you should not touch or could be dangerous)? Is there a chart of the color code somewhere in case people forget it? An organized set-up is good, but an organized set-up with foolproof back-up plans is better.

    Along with general usage, color coding could be used to tell you something about the cables themselves. You could establish that 125-volt cables are green while 250-volt cords are red. Or each color could be a different wire gauge (AWG) so people know when to grab thicker cables for higher voltage connections.

    For spaces with many connections, the colors could even be generalized like

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  4. Cheap Power Cords: Risks and Dangers

    In the age of the Internet, it is easier than ever before to be a thrifty shopper and find a bargain. When shopping around for any product, after a while you start to get a sense of what kind of price that particular item usually goes for. But as you dig around the Internet a bit more, you may stumble across an even better price. One that blows those other prices away. Something that seems too good to be true. And as the old saying goes: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

    A power cord may seem simple at a glance, but there is a lot that goes into making one. A proper power cable is made of various materials in a specific fashion according to industry and government standards. However, there are many websites online that sell cables cheaply because their products do not meet those regulations. Sub-par cables are likely to burn out (literally as well as figuratively) quickly and can damage any connected equipment. A worst-case scenario could result in an electrical fire, injuries, or even death.

    Identifying Cheap Cables

    If you are accustomed to handling power cables, a cheap cord can often be identified by touch. You may notice that the cord or metal prongs on the end bend too easily, feels brittle, or seems to weigh less due to the cable containing insufficient materials.

    If you do not know power cords well enough to test them by touch, then test them by sight. The easiest thing to look for is a product certification mark. There are different types of product certifications, depending on where the cable is being sold. Different countries have different regulatory committees, but they all tend to follow similar safety standards. On cheap cables,

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  5. Power Cord Safety: Mistakes to Avoid

    Power cords, simply put, can be dangerous. Now when you think of the word “dangerous”, a power cord is probably not the first image that jumps into your head. And granted, a regular power cord is not as dangerous as something like a high voltage line at a substation. But while you may not need to be a licensed electrician to plug something into a wall outlet, it is important to remember that accidents do happen.

    According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), roughly 4,000 people treated in emergency rooms are injured each year by power cords. Half of these injuries alone include fractures, contusions, lacerations, and sprains from people tripping over power cords. It is also estimated that roughly 3,300 home fires start each year due to power cords, with an estimated 270 people injured and 50 killed from the fires. Be safe, not a statistic.

    Tripping Hazards

    The number one cause of injury for power cords is tripping. A power cord should never be stretched across a room where people walk, even if it has enough slack to sit flat on the floor. Try to keep cords behind furniture or other fixtures to keep them out of the way. If a cord absolutely must go through an area with foot traffic, cover it with something like a speed bump to remove the danger of tripping.

    On a similar note to tripping, make sure to keep cords out of the way if they are stretching upwards. You do not want a loose cord that a swinging elbow could accidentally catch, sending your electronics crashing to the ground. Making sure a cord is not within grabbing range of any curious children is also a good policy.

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  6. Understanding Product Certifications

    Product certifications are as important for cabling as for any other industry. No one wants to run the risk of winding up with sub-par products that do not work or, worse, cause damage to other devices (or people). With so many different certifications spread across just as many different industries, it can be hard to keep them straight. For cables, there are a few key certifications to keep an eye out for:

    • UL-Listed
    • ETL-Listed
    • RoHS
    • WEEE
    • REACH
    • Prop 65

    Each of these certifications has different definitions covered below. Some or even all of them may not apply to an item depending on what kind of item is in question. For example, certifications for an ethernet cable will not be the same as ones for a patch panel. Other certifications will only apply in certain geographical areas, such as stipulations set in Europe versus ones in the North America. Keep in mind that just because a product does not list a specific certification does not make it “bad”.


    Underwriters Laboratories

    UL-Listed is a certification set by Underwriters Laboratories. They are a federally approved safety testing organization, overseen by OSHA. Underwriters Laboratories has developed and

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  7. Buying Power Cords: Things to Consider

    So, you need a new power cord. Maybe the old cord for your TV got lost when you were moving, or that new computer did not have a power cord in the box when you opened it. For whatever the reason, you need something to make that power button light up when you push it.

    There are different types of power cords out there so step one will be determining which kind you will need. But even after you narrow that down, there are still other factors to take into consideration. The first cord you find may be able to do the job, but it is important to make sure the job is done right.


    Short power cord vs. long power cord

    The length of a cord is the first and foremost factor to take into consideration. Naturally, you want to make sure you have a cord that is long enough. Grab your measuring tape and start by finding the power port on your computer, TV, or other device. Measure from that spot to the wall outlet you plan on using. For good measure, add an extra 3 to 6 inches to give the cable a little slack.

    Ideally, you want a cable that is just long enough. There should be some slack to reduce strain on the cable and in case you need to move your device further away later. Now you may be asking, “Why not just get a cord that is more than long enough? That way I can move it wherever I want later.” Simply put, long cables are tri

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  8. ShowMeCables: The New Premium Power Cord Supplier

    SAINT LOUIS, Missouri, Mar. 4, 2019 – ShowMeCables, an Infinite Electronics brand and leading supplier of connectivity solutions, is proud to announce their new line of power cords. Consisting of over 300 different types of NEMA, IEC, international, hospital grade and angled cords, this new line ensures that ShowMeCables will continue to serve the power demands for IT, Data Center and OEM markets. Readily available power cords include lengths from 1-25 feet, multiple colors, plug orientations, and wire gauges.

    ShowMeCables’ manufacturing process emphasizes quality and reliability. Each cable is tested and conforms to the most stringent industry tests and certifications- RoHS, UL, WEEE, REACH and ISO 9001.

    This project was made possible thanks to the diligence and dedication of leading Product Manager Andrew Johnston. Spearheading this initiative from the very beginning, Johnston was happy to announce the final result of his endeavors, “Our continuously growing line of readily available premium power cords are a great solution for everyone, from a home user that needs a single replacement cord to high-end data centers needing to power hundreds of critical pieces of hardware.”

    Power cords offered at ShowMeCables are ready to ship today with no minimum order quantity. The website’s easy-to-use layout includes features to narrow the list by connector type, AWG, length, color, and more. Full details on ShowMeCables power cords can be seen here:

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