In the portable power world you will often hear of camlock connectors, camlock is a generic term to describe a connector that contains a male or female brass cam type single pole connector with a boot that connects to a flexible power cord and then twist locks to a connector of the opposite gender. The origination of the name is the subject of debate, however it is widely accepted that Crouse-Hinds is the first company to use the name. Crouse-Hinds spells it Cam-Lok and trademarks that spelling, however manufacturers, distributors and customers have adopted many different spellings that all refer to the same product. The purpose of this article is to show the reader the differences and similarities between the major manufacturers of camlock connectors. ATI Electrical Supply is an authorized distributor of all the manufacturers mentioned in this article, and have used all of them at one point, and we don’t specifically endorse any one manufacturer.
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The Major Camlock Connectors Manufacturers
There are several manufacturers of camlock connectors, with the most prominent ones being Leviton, Eaton (formerly Cooper Crouse-Hinds), Hubbell and Power Products LLC (aka Marinco). Over the years, the manufacturing locations of the vendors has changed, with Marinco and Leviton moving to Mexico, Hubbell to China and Eaton still manufacturing in the USA. All of the major manufacturers have warehouses on both coasts in the United States. Although there are many electrical distributors that are authorized to sell camlocks for all the manufacturers listed, very few actually stock the product. ATI Electrical Supply does, with over 500 sku’s and $100,000 of inventory.
Specification Similarities and Differences
Camlock Connectors have many different specifications, similarities and differences. The basic functionality of these manufacturers is the same, especially internally. A common question our support and sales team receive is whether all the different manufacturers products fit together. The answer is yes they do. The metallic connectors are all made of brass. The dimensions of the brass connectors are all built to specific tolerances and UL 1691, and they all latch by twisting the connector to lock them in place. Some manufacturers require 90 degree turns, others 120 or 180 degrees. The main differences between the various manufacturers are the boots and the retaining screw. All the manufacturers have a non-metallic, typically made of nylon, retaining screws that holds the boot in place. Through personal experience we have found the quality of the retaining screw can be a source of pain, as some manufacturers screws tend to bend or deform more than others. We have also experienced some retaining screws that break more easily than others. The main way each manufacturer distinguishes themselves is through ergonomically different boots that have the same basic shapes with a different grip.
As with most products of similar quality, service and price are what truly sets them apart. All the manufacturers price camlock connectors similarly, at a retail price of around $25 each. Choose a distribution partner that will provide the service and support you require, and no matter which manufacture you choose, you will have made the right choice.