There is no such thing as "the international market." Your product must comply with the regulatory standards of the country in which you wish to sell the product. If the market is the USA, then the FCC (and possibly other groups, depending on what your electronic product is and does) would have requirements. If the market is the EU, then there are a number of Directives that would be applicable. China is another game, so is Australia.
Identify the market and identify the product's function and users to get more specific advice.
Uho, the EEC has it's own standards with respect to safety. Sure, most of them are based on IEC, but some of them are much more restrictive. For instance, the plugs in the US or Australia could not even make it to market in Europe, they are not safe enough. I mean, it's way too easy to touch the metal part if the plug is not fully inserted. And that's only one example.
I notice that most 3-pin sockets in the U.S. have the ground pin at the bottom which is opposite to the U.K. norm. From a safety angle I would have thought this to be a 'no-no'. Turning it round would put the ground pin where 'little fingers' and dropped objects would be most likely to make contact instead of the live pin as now. Am I missing something then, apart from numerous brain cells? Cheers - Joe
Oh, I didn't know it had changed. That's good news for it was very common to see the pins accessible by a few millimeters between the plug and the outlet. But is it only for new devices, or do everyone have to change their hardware?
Start with the ISO and IEC standards and then look at those applicable in Europe, USA, Australia, NZ and Russia. You will find that most of them are closely related to the ISO (although some of the RF bands may be different for EMI testing purposes). Certainly many of the European standards are drafted close to the ISO/IEC standards. You will have to purchase many of these standards but a trip to a decent library should assist you determine the ones that are most suitable for your product. I know that if you happen to mention what your product is others here could provide a reference for the exact standards that you should comply to.
Paul E. Bennett ....................
You're not missing anything. I don't think there is a "standard" nor is it written into code that the ground pin shall be on the bottom. It just sorta works out that way. A my POE the ground pins are up, as you expect. Indeed they're up on both sites (different states) I've worked in, though an informal poll of sites across the country showed that some were up and some down, by edict even. It seems that cords are made assuming the pin is down though. With the pin up some tend to work loose from the wall.
I once dropped a metal ruler on a plug that was not all the way in it's socket. Caused a loud band, tripped the breaker, and burnt/melted parts of the plug and ruler. Ever since, I've wondered why they don't put the ground prong up.
I read on another discussion board that electricians (in U.S.) tend to put the ground plug up on switched outlets, and down on unswitched outlets. It's just a convention, to make it easy to tell which outlets are tied to a switch. It's not dictated by any code, though, and I notice that a switched outlet in my house has ground pin down like all the rest.