Server Power Cords

kingmike used Ask the Experts™
We have an APC PDU on the back of our server rack however all of the servers are using the original power cords that are mostly 6ft long. This causes mass confusion of clutter in the back of the server racks. I was thinking of ordering some 3ft power cables. Do servers require a special wattage power cable? I know they are usually thicker than a general PC.  Any advice or links on where to get these would be great.

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Are you using the cable management arms with the servers?  Usually you can tuck in the extra slack in the cable arms.  Those arms usually pickup around 4 ft just by their design.

We've used longer cables that are 300V 18AWG.  You can order them from PCMall, CDW, etc.
We are not using the cable management system.. another reason for the chaos.. I found out that Servers tend to need more power.. so you I need to go with a 16 or 14 AWG wire.

thanks for the response

Honestly, this depends on the server.    Different types of servers have different power ratings, and they ship with different  (usually appropriate) types of cabling.
Some ship with cabling identical to desktops;  not all servers draw more amps,
but they will be drawing 24x7,  and average amps (continuous draw) will often be higher than desktop applications.

Improperly managed cabling is at risk of getting snagged and 'pulled out' of the server, if the server  (or one above or below it) needs to be pulled partially out for online maintenance,  such as performing a hot-swap of a fan, PCI card, etc.   It is best to use a cable guard to ensure the plug cannot accidentally be pulled from the server,  and tie up  most slack.    Or install the proper cable management trays... all major server manufacturers have some cable management option for their server lines.

Desktop PCs usually ship with cheap cables with thin guage wiring,  they may be 10 amp connectors, but you don't want to pull 10 amps through that.    Don't  use cheap power cables  unless you have low-power servers  look for  16AWG or lower  (IEC C13 to  NEMA5-15).
Thicker cabling will have a lower resistance, for higher loads: less release of heat, less electricity wasted,  less danger of the cable failing.

Look at the max input on your servers'  power supplies. Check the power rating of the server. High-end servers such as some Suns,  various manufacturers bladecenters, etc,  ship with much thicker  more specialized power cabling.

Do not change or override the server manufacturer's  choice of power cable lightly;  in some cases,  this voids the warranty on the server.

In particular;  do not  try to replace the cabling on a 16 AMP-capable server PSU  with  a standard cable.    These usually are  IEC 320 to Nema L620P   14 AWG  cabling with  twist-lock connectors.   It should be hard to do that accidentally,  since a special electrical outlet is used for such servers.

But check and double check cabling;  good cables should have labelling you can read on the side (longwise along the length of the cable), indicating its wire gauge.

Improper  power cabling can have serious implications, so caution is certainly justified here.

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