What makes a 20A IEC rated for 20 amps?

What makes a 20A IEC rated for 20 amps?
I now the blades go in a different direction but are the blades thicker to carry more current?
I ask this because I have a component that I am demoing that has a 20A IEC on the back. I have some pretty pricey power cords available with 15A Furutech NCF fittings. A 20A Furutech replacement 20A IEC connector sell for almost $300! Or I could always use a 20-15A IEC adapter. But that would add a (cheapo) connection.

So how about if I just change the IEC in the unit to a 15A Furutech NCF about $80. Hence the question.

BTW, it took me several tries to post this question. The Audiogon site kept deleting all or parts of the question. So, sorry about any misspelled words.

I had a similar problem when using a right angle IEC connector on my DAC.
I called AQ and asked if they thought it would compromise sound. They said it shouldn't as the connector was just solid metal, and not a cable.
That being said, I would think the same to be applicable to your situation.
Just get a 20 amp to 15 amp adapter.
(Though it would be interesting to see if the $300 connector would make any differenceūüėė).

Thanks for the info. I am using the adapter to demo, but I was thinking of either changing the power cord IEC end or the IEC in the unit.

Is there an actual difference in power transfer with a 20A IEC connector? They look to be about the same thickness but it is hard to tell.


As far as I know, it's just the gauge of the cable itself; I have 15A and 20A IEC power cords and they look identical other than the thickness of the insulation which I assume indicated heavier gauge wire in the higher rated one.
20A IEC are used to enable a more secure and reliable connection to the component. They do not need to be used with 20A rated plugs (which as you observe have different blade orientation). Any power cord manufacturer can supply a power cord terminated IEC C-19 (20A) with a normal wall plug.

Use of adapters is fine (I have a nice Voodoo one that is very reasonable price and as far as I can tell doesn't harm performance http://voodoocable.net/product/15-amp-to-20-amp-iec-adapter/ but don't go changing the IEC inside the component -- that's just making it a oddball chimera and harming resale

That's kind of what I think. As long as the cable can conduct 20A then the connector shouldn't matter. As long as it is of high quality.


I here you about resale value, but IEC's are relative easy to change, if you can get at them.

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Well it is odd that the male plugs are rated for 15A while the female end can be a 15 or 20A IEC. 
So, does the 20A component chassis mount IEC really matter if its a 20A or 15A as long as the wire used is rated for 20 amps?

Ozzy. 99 times out of 100 manufacturers put 20A IEC on their piece for looks, or in belief of a better connection. Few items will ever pull more than 15A and if they do you need a 20A circuit all the way to the breaker

ARC for example use 20A IEC on all of their Ref pre amps but they are all low current draw.  So in this case you could buy an AQ Dragon power cord source version, which is only 16AWG but can be supplied with 20A IEC for use with such a pre amp.
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Thanks, I agree.
About the change in size on the Furutech, I found this out the hard way...

After talking with a few Audio friends, we concur that probably the reason for the 20A IEC on the back of some component is to ensure that whatever power cord is plugged into it can handle 20 amps and consists of 10-12ga wire.
That is; all premade 20 amp power cords that I know of do come with substantial internal wiring.

Of course anyone can put a 20A connector on any cable regardless if it has 10-12 ga wire inside. Then, there are the 20/15A adapters we use, who knows what type of gauge is used with them.

My new Inakustik AC-3500P power conditioner that is rated at 15A comes equipped with an IEC inlet rated at 20A. According to the dealer, that inlet is better at supporting cleaner power surges than an IEC inlet rated at 15A. 

I just read some info on your new power conditioner, very interesting.
Thanks for that information.


Here is some info about the unit the manufacturer provided in response to my inquiries.

The unit does not include electronic processing of the power; that is, no isolation transformers (like Furman, CPT and others), no power wave-shaping (like ExactPower) and no power regeneration (like PS Audio Power Plants). The parallel electronic filters used are made by exact calculation using selected capacitors and inductors to catch the particular frequencies that affect the sound.

This differs from other designs that use series filters in line to the power cords and act like resistors to limit maximum current to the power cords and limit dynamics of the sound.

The unit has all outlets wired in parallel rather than in series (aka daisy-chained). All outlets have the same length of wiring configured in a star distribution.

The surge suppressor included in the unit is based on varistors. The 20A IEC inlet helps manage power surges, too.

The unit is designed to accept and manage all current the common wall outlet can provide. So the unit includes no internal fuses, relying on the home electrical mains fuses to trip if issues arise with the power mains.

This conditioner did something that no other conditioner has done: the apparent loudness of the audio system increased dramatically without any physical adjustment in volume control levels. This was noted after the unit was inserted into the system for 48 hours. Typical burn-in time is around 500 hours. The dealer said the unit lowers overall resistance of power to the system, which translates in improved clarity and dynamics, as well as perceived loudness.
20A IEC are used to enable a more secure and reliable connection to the component.

I actually completely disagree with this statement.  I have 15A IEC connectors that actually make a better/snugger connection then even the 20A Furutech. 

Basically, 20A IEC vs 15A IEC has to do with electrical component standards.  This ensures that somebody does not use or connect a piece of equipment to an inadequate outlet/source.  Generally speaking, a 15A outlet/connector is usually wired to only allow capable transfer of 15A.  This usually means 12awg wiring.  For 20A IEC, it is recommended to use 10awg romex wiring (although sometimes even 12awg is okay for a short run).  Trying to wrangle 20A of current from a 15A outlet/wiring can cause the main circuit breaker to trip and/or cause possible electrical fires.
As far as current capability, a good 15A IEC connector can certainly carry 20A of electrical current.  This is true for most of the good items such as Furutech or Neotech or Hubbell.  However, be aware that there are several 15A cheap power strips or adapters that use very small gauge or thin metal for conductors. 

If you want to change the 20A IEC inlet on your equipment, you can certainly do that.  However, keep in mind that you are now violating "electrical standard" connections.  It should not hurt anything if you use a good high current power cord and outlet.  However, if you ever decide to sell the equipment, you can be liable for lawsuit if the new owner does not properly connect it to an adequate power source and results in fire/damage.
The Furutech FI-32(R) 20A IEC is actually not bad for $203.  It is phospher bronze instead of pure copper like the NCF plugs.  But it's still really not that bad.
Wattgate has a 350i HC Rh rhodium palted 20A IEC for $122.  However, it's pretty much a multi-plated brass conductor, but definitely cheaper.

celander, auxinput,

Thanks for that information. 
But, is the 20A IEC actually thicker than a 15A IEC?