Are AC Power Cords Universal? (Explained)

The term “universal” is used to describe a cable that can be used across different devices (not countries).

In this article, I will explain if AC power cords are universal and if this really matters what type of power cord you use to plug in your devices and appliances.

Here’s If AC Power Cords Are Universal:

AC power cords are universal in the sense that they all work with any standard 120VAC 60Hz outlet. When the male and female fit together they will work. They have a three-prong plug on the end that fits into your wall and has two flat blades for the power wires and a round grounding pin.

Are AC Power Cords Interchangeable?

AC power cords are typically interchangeable. 

The three-pronged end fits into a receptacle with three slots — two vertical slots and one horizontal slot. The two-pronged end fits into a three-slot receptacle as well, but it only fits into one of the vertical slots.

The third slot on an outlet is for grounding purposes; it connects to the ground wire in your home’s electrical system. If you plug an appliance with a three-pronged cord into an outlet without grounding, the appliance will function correctly but without proper grounding protection from surges or spikes in voltage caused by lightning strikes or faulty wiring in your house.

We always advice using surge protectors when plugging in devices.

You can find surge protectors here (Amazon) at a very reasonable price.

A surge protector is always a good idea to be on the safe side – ESPECIALLY if you don’t know if your main electrical panel has a surge breaker installed.

This is to make sure you don’t overpower the devices or blow them with too much power if there’s a power surge or spike.

Can You Get Universal AC Power Cords?

Universal AC power cords are available and they’re also known as “universal cords.” 

They are easy to find anywhere as AC cords to power your device are standardized across the U.S.

When the power cord fits into the appliance or electronic device you know it can be used to power the thing. You just need to make sure the port and the male part fit perfectly together. 

Also, make sure to not use an old cable that’s worn or has dents as it may not work properly. We need to make sure the cables connect perfectly and that any power strips don’t get hot when in use.

Read our blog here about are cheap extension cords safe?

How Do You Know Which AC Power Cord to Use?

You just need to make sure it fits perfectly into each other. When the male and female end fits perfectly into each other there should be no problem. Even Samsung TVs can use any power cable that fits.

The next thing you want to look at is what kind of connector your computer or device has. Many laptops have a proprietary connector that is not interchangeable with any other brand or model computer.

Now we’re talking about the adaptor and not the power cable, however.

You can find out what type of connector your computer has by looking at the back of it and seeing if there is a picture of the connector on it. If there isn’t, check your owner’s manual for more information on this.

After finding out what kind of connector you need, you need to search around for a replacement cord that will fit into it properly and deliver enough power for your needs.

If possible, try to use a cord made by the same manufacturer as your computer so that it will be compatible with its design and specifications.

If not, then check with your computer manufacturer or search online for compatible adapters.

Does It Really Matter Which AC Power Cable You Use?

Let’s first distinguish between power cables and adaptor cables. The adaptor cables are used with chargers for devices that only need like 10-20 volts. They have the little round pins that goes into the unit.

However, power cables look more like this:

The power cable can be used whenever it fits.

The adaptor, however, not so much!

For example, if you’re using a 12V adapter to charge a device that requires 19V of power, then you could damage the battery.

This is because most laptops need around 19V of power to charge properly, while smaller devices require only 12V of power. If you were to use a 12V adapter on your laptop while it was plugged in, then there’s a chance that this could damage not only the battery but also other components inside the laptop as well.

Where Can You Buy AC Power Cords?

If you need a new AC power cord for your computer or laptop, here are places to look:

Computer repair shops.

Many computer repair shops sell replacement AC power cords for computers and laptops. If you have a broken or damaged cord, the shop may be able to repair it for you.

Online stores.

Many online stores sell replacement AC power cords for computers and laptops. Some of these sites also sell replacement adapters, which allow you to plug in different types of plugs into your computer or laptop.

Electronics stores.

Electronics stores such as Radio Shack and Best Buy sell replacement AC power cords for computers and laptops, as well as replacement adapters that allow you to plug in different types of plugs into your computer or laptop.

Read our blog here about is switching off at the wall the same as unplugging?

Sources

Was this article helpful? Like Dislike
Great!

Click to share...

Did you find wrong information or was something missing?
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)