What are IEC Connectors?

By Connector Supplier | May 17, 2022

Meet the Connector: IEC Connectors

IEC connectors or plugs are a broad category of power connectors for various uses that follow the International Electrotechnical Commission standards.

IEC connectors

IEC connectors are not a specific type of connector. Instead, they are a broad category of different types of electronic and electrical power connectors that meet the International Electrotechnical Commission standards (IEC standards). These connectors serve many markets, including Medical, Consumer (white and brown goods), Industrial, Automotive, Transportation, Test & Measurement, and more. Hundreds of interconnect products are tested and standardized by the IEC, as well as capacitors, transformers, cables, sensors, fuses, and other components. IEC connectors are identified by a numerical system indicating the specific relevant standard.

IEC Connector Standards

  • IEC 60130 Connectors for frequencies below 3 MHz
  • IEC 60169Radio frequency connectors
  • IEC 60320 Appliance couplers
  • IEC 60339 General purpose rigid coaxial transmission lines and their associated flange connectors
  • IEC 60457 Rigid precision coaxial and their associated precision connectors
  • IEC 60498 High-voltage coaxial connectors used in nuclear instrumentation
  • IEC 60512 Connectors for electronic equipment – Tests and measurements
  • IEC 60603 Connectors for frequencies below 3 MHz for use with printed boards
  • IEC 60803 Recommended dimensions for hexagonal and square crimping-die cavities, indentors, outer conductor crimp sleeves and center contact crimp barrels for RF cables and connectors
  • IEC 60807 Rectangular connectors for frequencies below 3 MHz
  • IEC 60828 Pin allocations for microprocessor systems using the IEC 60603-2 connector
  • IEC 60874 Fiber optic interconnecting devices and passive components – Connectors for optical Fibers and cables
  • IEC 61076 Connectors for electronic equipment – product requirements
  • IEC TR 61141 Upper frequency limit of RF coaxial connectors
  • IEC 61169 Radio frequency connectors
  • IEC 61238 Compression and mechanical connectors for power cables for rated voltages up to 30 kV (Um = 36 kV)
  • IEC 61274 Fiber optic interconnecting devices and passive components – Adaptors for Fiber optic connectors
  • IEC TS 61586 Estimation of the reliability of electrical connectors
  • IEC TR 61602 Connectors used in the field of audio, video, and audiovisual engineering
  • IEC 61726 Cable assemblies, cables, connectors, and passive microwave components – Screening attenuation measurement by the reverberation chamber method
  • IEC 61754 Fiber optic interconnecting devices and passive components – Fiber optic connector interfaces
  • IEC 61755 Fiber optic interconnecting devices and passive components – Connector optical interfaces
  • IEC 61984 Connectors – Safety requirements and tests
  • IEC 62196 Plugs, socket-outlets, vehicle connectors and vehicle inlets – Conductive charging of electric vehicles
  • IEC 62197 Connectors for electronic equipment – Quality assessment requirements
  • IEC 63171-6:2021 covers 2-way and 4-way (data/power), shielded, free, and fixed connectors for data transmission with frequencies up to 600 MHz
  • IEC 80369 Small-bore connectors for liquids and gases in healthcare applications


HARTING T1-Industrial interface as the IEC 63171-6 standard for single-pair Ethernet connectors

The IEC elected the HARTING T1-Industrial interface as the IEC 63171-6 standard for single-pair Ethernet connectors.

Many other IEC standards are highly relevant to connectors, particularly those that refer to cables and other connector-adjacent technologies. IEC 60038, which standardizes voltages, IEC 61760, which standardizes surface mounting technology, and IEC 60059, which standardizes current ratings are also central to interconnects.

SCHURTER IEC 60320 appliance coupler

SCHURTER’s IEC 60320 appliance coupler features a V-Lock cord retention to prevent accidental disconnection. The IEC 60320 standard was adopted by the U.S. and Canada in 2020, creating global harmonization for power supply plugs.

  • IEC standards are developed with input from industry and research institutions.
  • IEC standards have often been adopted as national or regional standards; close to 80% of European electrical and electronic standards are in fact IEC International Standards.
  • The IEC has a clear, strictly controlled standards development process. It governs the development and publication of IEC International Standards and reviews input from stakeholders at different stages of development.
  • Testing to support IEC standards are transparent, predictable, comparable, and affordable.
  • IEC standards help reduce trade barriers caused by different certification criteria in different countries.
  • The IEC is prioritizing energy efficiency through several technical committees, with an emphasis on e-mobility systems, electricity supply infrastructure, self-driving technology, and in-vehicle multimedia systems.
  • UL standards largely follow IEC standards.
Bulgin plugs, inlets and connectors meet IEC standards

Bulgin offers a broad range of plugs, inlets, and connectors with a special emphasis on conformity to IEC standards.

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