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.
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 tripping hazards. The longer a cord is, the more likely your feet are to get tangled up in it. Not to mention that longer cables make things more cluttered and complicate keeping cables organized and unplugging a cord when you need to troubleshoot.
Along with being a physical hazard, longer cords can also cause electrical problems. Longer cables experience more signal loss issues. For power cords, this means that more electricity has to go in to get the same amount of power coming out. This may not seem bad at a glance, but little by little it will raise your electric bill. Power cords also generate heat and need space to release that heat and cool off. Longer cords will take up extra space and make this more difficult. If a power cord cannot release heat properly, it can damage the cable or even start a fire.
Each power cord is rated with a specific amperage. This number measures the maximum amount of power that can be safely conducted through the cable. Using a lower amperage than a cable is rated for is perfectly fine. Nothing bad will happen to the cable from using too little electricity. The flipside is using more amperage than the cable was built for, which will absolutely damage the cable and likely anything else connected to it.
The thicker a cable is, the higher the amperage will be. Thicker cords have larger metal cores on the inside, meaning they can safely conduct more electricity than thinner cables. While the chart above works for most standard power cords, the length of the cable also affects amperage. As cords get longer the amperage will decrease, so the AWG may need to be increased to compensate. When using an especially long cord, make sure to double-check the amperage rating before plugging anything in.
American Wire Gauge (AWG) refers to the thickness of a cable. Gauge is represented as a simple one- or two-digit number. The lower the number, the thicker the cable.
Thicker cables have the advantage of carrying stronger signals but are also less flexible. For power cords, that means a thicker cord is generally going to be rated for higher voltage. These thicker cords have thicker pieces of metal on the inside, with the extra metal making it easier to conduct electricity.
There are no negative effects with using a thicker cord than you may need. The opposite is not true; using a cord that is too thin can be dangerous. Trying to put more power through a cord than it was built to handle can damage the cord or the equipment it is connected to. In extreme cases, it could even cause electrical burns or other injuries to the person mishandling the equipment.
On most default power cords, the connectors face forward and plug straight into a device or wall outlet. But sometimes there just is no room for that. If you are squeezing a TV into an entertainment center or trying to get to a power outlet right behind a desk, there may not be enough space for a bulky, straight-on connector.
When that is the case, using an angled cord instead is the best option. Power cords can be difficult to bend, so changing the angle of the cord is often a good solution for fitting cords into tight spaces. As a space saver, angled cords are a simple and practical solution to an otherwise frustrating problem.
Buy Your Power Cords Today
ShowMeCables offers all of these options and more with our wide selection of power cords. Our power cords include standard and right-angled options as well as cords for color-coding projects, all with same-day shipping options. We also offer custom cable solutions for special projects.
Each cable is tested to federally regulated standards to ensure quality. Using a sub-par cable can be damaging or outright dangerous and ShowMeCables is committed to keeping our customers and their equipment safe and happy.
Have questions? You can reach our Sales team at 888-519-9505 or Sales@ShowMeCables.com