The quality of any electrical connection is predominantly measured by the safety it assures. Glow wire compatibility is a test that ensures safety and avoids mishaps caused by human mishandling, over-current, or short circuit failures especially within appliance wiring systems.

There are many tests like direct flame and indirect flame methods that measure the fire resistance and material flammability of the base materials used in connectors. In the direct flame method, the material is subjected to direct flame under controlled situations; however, glow wire compatibility test is an indirect flame test, in which the material is subjected to a non-flammable heat source, which was developed by the International Electrical Commission. This also explains the capacity of the material to resist ignition and if at all ignition happens, its self-extinguishing capacity and also to avoid fire caused due to dripping. Glow wire test is made mandatory under the IEC 60335-1 safety standards.

In the glow wire testing method, the testing is done by simulating a situation in which an appliance can catch fire with overheating or overload. An element, which is called as the “glow wire” is heated to a pre-defined temperature, the sample for testing will be fixed, with a tissue paper just below it. The heated element is pressed to the sample under a set force of 1N for 30 seconds. The test measures, whether an ignition will happen, if so what will be the flame height, duration of the fire, and its ability to self-extinguish, it will also check, if the drips of the material will light up the tissue paper placed, below. To pass the test, the sample should not ignite or it should self-extinguish within 30 seconds, the drips should not ignite the tissue paper as well.

As per IEC 60335-1 standards, glow wire testing is conducted for both attended and unattended appliances. The standard is more stringent for unattended appliances like refrigerators, cooking units, and dishwashers as the current is generally greater than 0.2A, and hence should go through three levels of the evaluation process. Whereas the requirements are lower for attended appliances or unattended appliances under the 0.2A category.

Amphenol provides a range of products that comply with IEC 60335-1 standards and hence are glow wire compatible. Our connector solutions including Minitek®, Minitek® Pwr, and 1.25mm Wire-to-Board Connectors have gone through all levels of glow wire evaluation and use housing materials that can withstand high-temperature ranges.