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C13/C14 wiring diagram live/neutral/earth

Posted by jpluimers on 2016/12/02

Edit 20220215/20200713: The original wiring description in this article was wrong, thanks Jules Vape and John Cooper for pointing this out in the comments.

This is the correct wiring according to IEC 60320 – Wikipedia: C13/C14_coupler: File:IEC60320 C13.jpg – Wikipedia (rotated for clarity) and Source: File:IEC60320 C14.jpg – Wikimedia Commons.

  • Facing the C13 female side that has holes:
    Position Lead
    Left N Neutral
    Middle ⏚/PE Protective Earth/Ground
    Right L Live
  • Facing the C14 male side that has pins:
    Position Lead
    Left L Live
    Middle ⏚/PE Protective Earth/Ground
    Right N Neutral

The same information from [WayBack] IEC 60320 (IEC 320) Reference Chart – IEC 60320 Connectors & Plugs | StayOnline:

IEC-60320 Plugs and Connectors
International North America Wires Poles
250 Volts
10 Amps
125/250 Volts
15 Amps
3 Wires 2 Poles

Wiring colours

If you wire it, the colours depend on where you live. I live in the Netherlands so this shortened table does apply:

IEC (most of Europe) AC power circuit wiring color codes.

Function Label Color, IEC Color, old IEC
Protective earth ⏚/PE Color wire green yellow.svg green/yellow Color wire green yellow.svg green/yellow
Neutral N Color wire light blue.svg blue Color wire light blue.svg blue
Line, single phase L Color wire brown.svg brown Color wire brown.svg brown or Color wire black.svg black

Longer tables and infographics are here:


Original wrong wiring description

So thanks Simon Carter for the right image, but the wrong description at [Wayback/Archive] Electronics 2000 | Pin-outs | IEC Connectors: Pin Assignments (live and neutral are reversed in his description):

C14 (male; left) and C13 (female; right)

C14 (male; left) and C13 (female; right)

Viewing a socket (line or chassis) from the front, i.e. the side that the plug fits into, the connections are:

  • Left Pin: Neutral
  • Centre Pin: Earth
  • Right Pin: Live

Source: Electronics 2000 | Pin-outs | IEC Connectors


5 Responses to “C13/C14 wiring diagram live/neutral/earth”

  1. John Cooper said

    The original diagram / pinout is NOT incorrect. The error is in your original descriptive text.
    Both the author and “Jules Vape” make a big mistake to confuse “Plug” and “Socket”.
    1. First consider your mains wall outlet (eg: Schuko). This is a Female socket.
    – The Female electrical connections are recessed and cannot be touched,

    Now, connect an extension cable. The plug of the extension cable is Male.

    The Male plug has exposed pins that are inserted into the female wall socket.

    At the other end of the extension cable, the connection is a Female socket.

    The Female socket has recessed connections that cannot be touched.

    Finally, the appliance. This has a Male plug with exposed pins.

    The appliance has Male pins that are inserted this into the wall socket or extension cable.

    The socket is always where the power comes FROM,
    The plug is always where the power is going INTO.
    IMPORTANT: this relates to the connections, not to the shape of the plastic housing!

    The “Plug” is always Male, because has electrical pins “poking out”.
    For the C14 input of (say) a computer ATX power supply, the connection is MALE.
    So: Appliance = IEC C14 = MALE = Plug >> the Line is on the left.

    The “Socket” is always Female, since it has places (holes) to put pins into.
    On the C13 cable/lead that plugs into it, the connection is FEMALE.
    So: Cable End = IEC C13 = FEMALE = Socket >> The Neutral is on the left.

    Now look at the original diagram. It is correct. There is NOTHING wrong.

    The mistake is in the text that you added, because you confused the plug and socket. It is best not to use these words, because they are confusing in many applications.

    Regards, John

    • jpluimers said

      Thanks, especially for the explanation of how confusion of plug/socket occurs (the various views: male/female, pins/holes, to/from, plugs into/is plugged into, device side/cable side).

      I will

      1. rewrite the text so it is centered around pins/male and holes/female in order to avoid plug versus socket confusion
      2. make it more clear that the original text was wrong but the original image was right (note that the original text and image were from as originally mentioned in the article).
  2. […] through the full process of installing the switch in the wall, I found a standard PC power cable (C13) was the perfect size to hold the wires in place or allow testing on my desk. DO NOT DO THIS […]

  3. Jules Vape said

    This is wired wrong.

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