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Using and Identifying Plugs and Connectors in the IEC 60309 System

Posted by MEGA Electronics on Aug 8, 2017 7:10:00 AM

IEC 60309 plugs most common colors are yellow, blue, and red.

Last month, we wrote about some of the key differences in international power supply and power cord safety standards.

In this blog post, we’re going to look at a different standard, focusing on IEC 60309 plugs.

In Europe, the most common types of heavy commercial and industrial plugs are made to IEC 60309 (formerly IEC 309) and various standards based on it. In the UK, you’ll see IEC 60309 plugs referred to as caravan or CEE plugs.

This standard governs plugs, outlets, and couplers on the international market, specifying general safety and function requirements for any industrial high-current power connector.

Varieties of IEC 60309 plugs

IEC 60309 system connectors come in several different varieties and are conceived in a way that specifies that one type of plug may only be inserted into the same type of socket.

For each current rating –16 A, 32 A, 63 A or 125 A –there is a different plug diameter, pin size and separation between pins.

To keep plugs from being inserted into sockets of different frequencies and voltages, 12 positions of earthing contact are assigned to the polarizing slot of the socket’s skirt.

The ground pin is greater in diameter than the other pins, which prevents the wrong kind of plug from being inserted into a socket. A number with the letter H next to it indicated the position of the earth contact tube, positioned on the front of the socket or connector like on the face of a clock.

Ground Pin Location and Rating Chart

IEC 60309 plugs come in splash-proof (IP44) and waterproof (IP67).Environmental protection

IEC 60309 plugs come in splash-proof (IP44) and waterproof (IP67) varieties.  In either case, the rating is applicable when mated or detached, but not during mating.

The IP67 connectors feature a spring-loaded hinged cap over the socket which hooks over a lug on the plug and holds it in place. The IP44 variety do not have lids.  Fixed connectors are typically installed at a downward angle to keep water from entering.

Water proof IEC 60309 plugs include a gasket and twist-lock ring to seal the two together. The two can be joined together and are held together by friction.

Low voltage applications

There is special subset of connectors within the 309 standards for extra low voltage applications. Protective extra-low-voltage is a preventive measure for use under extreme conditions. The rated voltage (AC) is limited by max. 50V.

Special working conditions like conductive environment in or on boilers, pipelines, containers, metal frames or limited freedom of motion require the use of extra-low-voltage plugs and sockets.

MEGA Electronics manufacturers a new “Twist” extra-low-voltage series. This includes a complete range of plugs, connectors and flanged sockets which meet all installation requirements.  They have been specifically designed for use on building sites, shipyards and in factories. Connecting the cable is fast and reliable! No tools are needed for assembly.

These parts are available IP44 or IP67, 16A or 32A 2 or 3 pole and at voltages of 24V or 42V.  Can be used with cable diameters of 8 to 24mm. 

The MEGA advantage

If you want to make sure your products adhere to IEC 60309 guidelines, turn to MEGA Electronics. Our EN60309 plugs and connectors, like all our products, meet international safety standards, and we have the documentation to prove it. 

In fact, our 60309 plugs can now be dual approved, carrying both European approvals and UL listing. 

MEGA Electronics manufacturers assemblies with these plugs using universally approved cable so that the one complete assembly can be shipped throughout North America and Europe. This allows end users to carry one cable in inventory without concern for the destination. 

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