Connecting IT Equipment

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Can information technology equipment be cord-and-plug connected if the cord is either hard usage type or portable power cable type? Is such IT equipment required to be marked as being suitable for cord-and-plug connection before such connection be utilized? Is there a maximum length for power-supply cords used to connect IT equipment as well as for cables that interconnect separate IT equipment? JP



Figure 1. Typical IT equipment, cord-and-plug connected under a raised floor.First, we must assume that the information technology equipment in question does qualify as IT equipment by meeting all of the six conditions listed at 645.4. If the IT equipment in question does not meet all of the special conditions of 645.4, then this equipment would be subject to the provisions of Chapters 1 through 4 of the NEC.

Section 645.5(B)(2) covers the type of cords that are permitted for IT equipment and the terms “hard usage” and “portable power cable” are not used in this section. This subsection does require IT power cords to be listed and of a type permitted for use on listed information technology equipment. Section 645.5(B)(2) also permits power cords constructed of listed flexible cord and listed attachment plugs and cord connectors of a type permitted for information technology equipment. Section 645.4(3) requires all information technology equipment to be listed and the determination of whether the IT equipment can be cord-and plug-connected is better suited for the product standards and the product certifications rather than the NEC. From the UL White Book Category “NWGQ” the following is stated, “When listed equipment intended for use with a detachable power-supply cord is not provided with such a cord, a cord suitable for connection of the equipment to the branch circuit should be separately provided.” The length of the power-supply cord for IT equipment is limited to 4.5 m (15 ft) by Section 645.5(B)(1). Interconnecting cables are not limited to 4.5 m (15 ft) like the power-supply cables as noted at 645.5(C). Interconnecting cables are required to be listed but the length of the interconnecting cable is not restricted by the NEC.

About the Author

L. Keith Lofland is the Director of Education, Codes and Standards for IAEI. He represents IAEI as a member of Code-Making Panel 9 for the National Electrical Code. He serves on NFPA’s Electrical Section Executive Committee and also is a member of UL’s Electrical Council. He is the principal contributor to several IAEI publications including Analysis of Changes, Soares Grounding and Bonding, and One- and Two-Family Dwelling Electrical Systems. Prior to his position with the International Office of IAEI, Keith spent 16 years with the City of Garland (Texas) serving as their chief electrical inspector during a 21-year career as an electrical inspector. Keith holds a master electrician license from the State of Texas. He also has obtained electrical inspector certifications from IAEI, NFPA/IAEI, and ICC. He served as chairman of the Texas Chapter of IAEI in 1989 and as the secretary/treasurer for the Texas Chapter-IAEI for 10 years from 1995–2004.