20 amp power cords vs 15 amp power cords


Forgive the basic lack of electronics here, but i need to put a separate power cord from my amp (100 watt pure class a) to a specially installed 20 amp line for this purpose. Most of the cords i see (including very expenseive ones) say on the plug that they are 15 amp. Does this matter at all? It seems I should be buying a wire that is rated for 20 amps if that is what the line is. (Power cords will be going to torus line conditioner and aforementioned class a amp)music will be nearfield moderate volume rock and jazz. thanks mike
emster
If your 20 amp lineis protected by a 20 amp breaker then I would use a 20 amp rated power chord. If the breaker is only 15 amp then the 15 amp chord will be ok. Also remember if the amp is the only thing on the circuit you are probably only drawing 4 or 5 amps so either chord will be ok
As far as the ampacity difference between a 15 amp plug an a 20 amp plug there is no difference. Blade size and thickness are the same.

Blade configuration is different.... A 15 amp plug will fit into a 15 amp or 20 amp receptacle.

A 20 amp plug will only fit into a 20 amp receptacle.

A 20 amp receptacle can only, by NEC code, be connected to a 20 amp branch circuit.

Two or more 15 amp receptacles, (a duplex being two), can be connected to a 20 amp branch circuit.

Maximum continuous FLA amps safety standards for a NEMA 5-15P plug is 12 amps. So if the FLA of a manufactured appliance is 12 amps or less he can use a 15 amp plug.

Most convenience outlet branch circuits in homes are 15 amp with 15 amp duplex receptacles.

One reason the biggest consumer home portable vacuum cleaner only comes with a maximum 12 amp motor......

Also the reason pretty much all power amps have a 15 amp AC power plug.

A lot of aftermarket power cords use at least the equivalent wire gauge wire size of #12 awg. Ampacity rating for # 12 awg wire is 20 amps.

Maximum NEMA continuous FLA amps safety standards for a NEMA 5-20P plug is 16 amps.

The weakest link in the power delivery chain to the power amp is the IEC connectors IMO.....
Not the NEMA plug.

Ahh NO to the prior posts only because they do not mention that an IEC inlet for 15 amp (on the cord a female end with three openings vertically as seen with the rectagle flat on the long axis). and 20 amp (The IEC end female with three blade holes placed horizontally with the rectangle of the body long axis horizontal) are totally different and cannot fit AT ALL into each other.

So you have to actually LOOK at the back of the electronic item and see if the IEC (nearly ALL consumer electronics with a detachable cord sold in the USA have a IEC A/C connector on the back of the equipment to connect the power cord..

See If the IEC male A/C plug has flat across blades (20 AMP IEC)
Or vertical orientated blades (15 amp blades)
This is with the IEC (on the equipment, as an rectangular opening with two or three blades sticking out from the innards of the rectangle) orientated the long axis horizontally.
(some have the IEC block in the product rotated 90 degrees up)
Anyway, both a 20 amp and a 15 amp aftermarket powercord have the same American wall plug shape. with the IEC female end being either the 15 amp type, or the 20 amp type.
Nearly any of the 15 amp type certainly can be used if the IEC connector in the product is a 15 amp type.

Usually any amp which weighs less tha 120 pounds will use the 15amp IEC connector. Only SOME gigantic monster amps use the IEC 20 amp

Sorry to complain but those posts above have all sorts of theory, and no practical advice for buying a damn power cord for your amp.

A great cheap but decent powercord is from Pangea, only available from Audio Advisor The Pangea AC9 cord. Another good one is the Shunyata Venom 3

Added: The Torus power conditioner, depending on model, may use the 20 amp IEC in its A/C connector. So be certain to check that one too.

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And to confuse the OP even more...
My Furman REF20I power conditioner had originally a 20 amp connector for it A/C input. i swapped it out for a Furutech 15 amp IEC, so i could use the far more common 15 amp aftermarket cords.
The Furutech 15 amp IEC had screw down connections on it's chassis for 10 gauge wiring. (which was inside the Furman Power conditioner.) PS the size of the 15 and 20 IEC are the same.

And I am sorry for making my post so complicated. Some of the discriptions are way over the top complicated. but i want the Op who knows nothing about the IEC, to recognize the difference in the construction
thanks for the responses. my ee knowledge being nonexistent they were very informative. my takeaway is the 20 amp plug is decided by the device and its female ending, not the amp capacity. simple is good for me.
Sorry to complain but those posts above have all sorts of theory, and no practical advice for buying a damn power cord for your amp.
03-19-12: Elizabeth

Theory?

I gave the facts mam.... Just the facts....

Speaking of facts an after market power cord can be purchased with a 20 amp female IEC connector on one end with a 15 amp NEMA 5-15P plug on the other end, or the other way around.....

NEMA 5-15P plug.

NEMA 5-20P plug.
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And to confuse the OP even more...
My Furman REF20I power conditioner had originally a 20 amp connector for it A/C input. i swapped it out for a Furutech 15 amp IEC, so i could use the far more common 15 amp aftermarket cords.
03-19-12: Elizabeth

YUUUUUP!
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And voided the safety listing on the unit if it had one.
See them 20 amp receptacles on the back of the unit? To get a UL/CSA Listing or any other recognized safety listing the unit was required to have the 20 amp male IEC connector.
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If your 20 amp lineis protected by a 20 amp breaker then I would use a 20 amp rated power chord. If the breaker is only 15 amp then the 15 amp chord will be ok.
03-18-12: Ahendler

How about a little radio that sets on a kitchen counter that has a 15 amp plug and a 2 wire 18 gauge power cord?

The branch circuit is 20 amp.
Yeah safety listing. Who cares. The unit was purchased used. The warranty was gone.
As for the legal ramifications.. go right ahead trying to scare me with insurance BS..
That bugaboo is useless unless you pop in with an actual case with the state and court docs/case number and link showing the claim was refused based on grounds the unit or cord or whatever (of some audiophile) was modified.) AND the insurance company won! Go ahead, find one.. can't? gee wonder why all the spouting of scare tactics then..
When someone posts the case, and it can be verified, THEN start making lps smacking sounds.. Until then 'can' it.

Just trying to make crap claims about scary insurance BS will not cut it. UL is just a marketing tool. No laws are involved. The building codes of various states and municipalites cover in wall.. The laws about consumer products cover the manufacture. not the user.
Courts are based on LAW, not hearsay.
( I am just tired of folks who must work for the "if you mod A/C you will die" sect/club.. claiming you will die/be hurt bad/loose money/lose insurance if you mod anything.)
I'd look at it this way:

Your line is 12 gauge, buy at least a 12 gauge cord. As far as the connectors, my 100 watt monos (Pass) draw 2.5 amps each, if yours is a stereo amp it probably draws 5 or 6 amps. 15 amp connectors should be fine.

BTW, if you feel like "more is more", the Pangea 9 mentioned is actually a 7 gauge cord. It's not a bad cord and a great conversation piece. You have to see one in person.
Elizabeth,

Having a bad hair day?

Your exaggerations run-th wild.....
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Yup. but all is now better. The sun is shining and it is a beautiful day outside..
Whoo Hoo.
Might want to look into a Supra Lorad 2.5. This cable is inexpensive and can be had in any length. The cable is a 13 gauge and more than sufficient for a 20 amp draw. I added a 20 amp Wattgate IEC and a Wattgate plug and AB'ed this against a Shunyata Taipan Alpha Helix....my a'phile group and I preferred the Supra and all were astounded at the price difference!
If you factor in the cost difference, it's a no brainer.