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This might be a really dumb question, but I know very little about electricity so please forgive me. I have a 3-phase 208V outlet the requires a C14 to C13 power cord. I have C14 to C13 power cord but the power cord says 10A/120V~ on it. The equipment I have only draws 6 amps on this outlet, but I'm wondering if it's safe to use this power cord since it says only 120V on it? Does this mean 120V for each phase so it's okay to use it, or can I only use a 208V power cord for this?

Thanks.

  • 2
    Maybe, but I sense there's more to this story. Are you plugging into an equipment rack or a PDU which takes 208 3-phase? And by the way 208 3-phase is a residential voltage in most of this US map. – Harper Dec 3 '17 at 1:36
  • Yes. I'm plugging into a 3-phase 208V PDU. – StatsStudent Dec 3 '17 at 6:41
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You'll be fine.

What's happening is that 208V 3-phase is "wye" configuration. Think the flux capacitor from back to the future. The center is the neutral. Each leg of the Y is 120V from neutral.

The C13 socket on the PDU is giving you one leg and neutral, for 120V.

Why is it 208V? Remember your geometry? Draw a perfect wye, then connect the corners and you have a perfect triangle. If center to corner is 120, then corner to corner must be that times sqrt(3) or 208.

  • Great explanation! Thank you. I thought this would be okay based on experimentation alone. I plugged in the cable and it seemed to work fine for about an hour without getting warm. I was worried that it might be slowly heating and I was worried about what might happen long term if I was away. Thanks for your help! – StatsStudent Dec 3 '17 at 16:22

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