Why the stupid C15 power cord!




It never fails. You have a failure, and it will be faster to replace now, and deal with repairing/replacement later. You have a network switch sitting in a cabinet. Maybe it was removed from an old wiring closet, or possibly set there as a hot spare to be used somewhere else. In either case, you now have a need for that switch. You rush to grab the switch, set it down on your desk or bench, and grab a system to console in and get it ready. Console port? Check. Config of the failed switch? Check. Now, let’s power her up! Wait…. What the….

C16 Power Connector

C16 Power Connector

This isn’t the kind of power cords that I have! Why on earth do I have this?? Now I’m going to have to scrounge through everything to look for this needle in the haystack!

There is one primary reason for this, and a lesser secondary reason that I came up with myself. The primary reason is because the plastic/rubber compound used to make the cord is rated at 120°C/248°F whereas the common C13/C14 cables are rated at 70°C/158°F. Why is this important? This is due to the possible high temps that power-supplies and wiring closets may get in times of disaster or high-heat. (Wikipedia)

Another reason, and probably not intended but useful none-the-less, is the extra surface area that the “pin” creates in the socket. This extra surface-area increases the friction inside the plug, and makes it harder to pull out accidentally for those equipment types that do not have a “locking” or “clip” mechanism.

Word of Warning: Try not to do what others do in this circumstance, and cut out a slot in a C14 cable.  While this may work, there are two dangerous reasons why.  The first is that you are putting a lower heat-rated cable into a power supply that *may* get hot.  If your power cord melts before anything else, more damage could be done to your expensive equipment.  The second reason is for safety.  I have first-hand knowledge (and the primary reason for this post), where the cable slipped and I sliced my hand opened.  Enough to get 8 stiches!

Now, granted, this does NOT help you to find a cord that will work. I’m sorry. Hopefully this will explain the WHY it’s there and stop you from throwing out non-kind words from leaving your mouth. Unfortunately for some, this won’t help, and you may still throw some eloquent descriptive metaphores, as we all have. :)

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