Cordial Knowledge

Schuko® vs. powerCON® vs. TRUE 1®

Electricity at events is always a tricky subject. Whether Schuko®, powerCON®, TRUE 1® or TRUE 1® TOP, the right plug (and the corresponding cable) is optimized depending on the intended use. But what is the difference between those plugs?

Schuko® plugs (short for the german word "Schutz-Kontakt" meaning protective contact) are usually used for standard sockets in the event area. In addition to the outer and neutral conductors, the third pole (the protective contact) ensures that fault currents are diverted. Even before the two conductors make a connection within the socket, the protective contact is already connected. This "leading design" means that Schuko® plugs are a so-called plug-in device that may be plugged in and disconnected under load and voltage without generating an arc.

With the powerCON® plug, NEUTRIK® has developed a lockable standard of cold appliance connectors for event technology. The plugs are more robust and space-saving than normal Schuko® plugs and can be loaded up to 20A. The blue plug is the voltage-carrying plug, i.e. the one that is plugged into the voltage input of a device, while the grey plug is the voltage-receiving plug for the output of a device (i.e. for passing on voltage). To avoid confusion, the plugs (and their corresponding sockets) have been designed differently. The protective contact was not designed as "leading", therefore a powerCON® plug was not allowed to be plugged in under load and voltage. The powerCON® system was therefore not a plug-in device, but a plug-in connection. NEUTRIK® has eliminated this flaw and introduced a further development in the form of the NAC3FCA-1 or NAC3FCB-1 connectors, which may also be plugged in under load and voltage as long as the likewise newly developed sockets NAC3MPXXA, NAC3MPXXA-WOT as well as NAC3MPXXB, NAC3MPXXB-WOT are used. The powerCON® system is the most widely used power system in the event sector. Our power assembly is therefore also available with the further developed powerCON® plugs. It has no "leading design", therefore a powerCON® plug must not be plugged under load and voltage. Thus, the powerCON® system is not a connector system, but a plug connection. Nevertheless, the powerCON® system is the most widely used power system in the event industry. Therefore, our ready made power cables are also available with standard powerCON® plugs.

To allow connecting power cables while carrying loads and voltage, NEUTRIK® has developed the powerCON® TRUE 1®, which, in contrast to the powerCON® system, is a connector system. This means it can also be plugged under load and voltage due to its design, but at the same time, it offers the advantage of a space-saving design. To prevent confusion, it is not compatible with the standard powerCON® system. Also, it can only be loaded up to max. 16 A. However, TRUE 1® still offers one more benefit from the Schuko® system: The two plug types are designed as male and female and can therefore be plugged into each other without an adapter, for example, to extend a cable.

To withstand harsher environments and weather conditions, NEUTRIK® has further developed the TRUE 1® plug. The TRUE 1® TOP (TOP = "True Outdoor Protection") is not only dust and water-resistant when mated (according to IP65, IP = "Ingress protection"), but also UV resistant according to UL50e. Just like their forerunner, they can be loaded up to 16A. The TRUE 1 TOP® is compatible with the TRUE 1® plug, which is why Cordial has only installed those more robust TRUE 1® TOP plugs in the power and hybrid ready made cables.

In event technology, all three systems are used side by side, although the standard powerCON® system is still the most widely used. Cordial's power assembly therefore also includes all three systems with high-quality rubber bulk cables with Schuko®, powerCON® and powerCON® TRUE 1® TOP plugs.