Electrical Projects for Beginners: Repairing an Extension Cord

Jerry WalchStarred Page By Jerry Walch, 4th Mar 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1ic7wkqf/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>DIY>Electrical

Many otherwise adept DIY persons shy away from tackling electrical projects because electricity scares them. The fear of electricity is a natural fear. Most people are afraid of things invisible that can kill them. Anyone can learn to work with electricity and those fears diminish as ones knowledge and experience increases. This is the first in a series of projects designed to build your knowledge and experience as a DIY electrician beginning with a project where there is zero chance of injury.

Types of Extension Cords Found in the Home

Extension cords fall into two broad categories—indoor and outdoor extension cords. Indoor and outdoor extension cords can further be divided into light duty and heavy-duty extension cords. Light duty extension cords are those ubiquitous, flat, two wire extension cords found around every home. Modern, light duty, outside extension cords, are usually easily identifiable by their dark green color, while older ones may be black, brown, or some other color but all will be labeled for use outside. Modern indoor, light duty extension cords are usually white, brown, or black in color, although some may have clear insulation with copper and silver colored wire showing through the insulation, others still may have a gold colored insulation. Heavy-duty extension cords are round, three-wire extension cords with blue, orange, yellow, or black neoprene insulation, the color of the insulation indicating their duty classification. We will discuss wire gauge (size) and insulation ratings in a future article/lesson.

Tools and Supplies Needed

Only a few basic hand tools are need to repair extension cords:
• A small, Phillips screwdriver
• A small, flat blade screwdriver
• A 6 or 8 inch pair of diagonal pliers (Dikes)
• A utility knife
• A pair of wire strippers
• Proper replacement cord end

Molded Cord Ends and Their Problems

Almost all light-duty extension cord come with molded male and female cord ends. In most cases when one of these cords fails to work, it is because one of the wires has separated inside the insulation where it enters one of the molded ends—either male plug end or the female receptacle end. Sometimes the break occurs inside the molded end; in either case, the molded end needs to be replaced because molded cord ends are not designed to be repaired. A break could occur somewhere else along the length of the wire but that is not likely to happen unless the extension cord was pinch in a door and that will be indicated by the pinch indentation in the insulation. Many heavy-duty extension cords come with molded ends also, and are subject to the same problems. Most of the time extension cords are damaged because people yank their plug from a receptacle by yanking on the cord itself instead of grasping the cord’s plug to remove it from a receptacle.

How not to Repair a Flat, Light-Duty Extension Cords

Do not use an automated plug to repair a flat extension cord, although these plugs are UL (Underwriter’s Laboratory) Approved and Listed for use with Lamp Cord wired extension cords, they really are not safe to use with extension cords—personally, I don’t even use them on table lamps and floor lamps. The wires can come loose inside them, allowing arcing to occur which is a potential fire hazard. Always use plugs with screw terminals, they take a few minutes longer to install, but they are safer. Another thing that you should not do is splice an extension cord. If the cord’s insulation has been damaged or cut, either cut off the damaged part, shortening the cord, or replace the cord. Splicing and taping an extension cord is against the fire, safety, and electrical codes. There are ways to splice cords using special parts and techniques, but unless you have a very expensive extension cord; it is usually cheaper to replace the cord.

Repairing a Heavy-Duty Extension Cord

I was tempted to explain how to do this by giving you systematic instructions, but I found this video, which actually shows you how to do it.

Next time we look at rebuilding table lamps and floor lamps, another project where the chances of being injured/shocked are nonexistent.

Tags

Cord Ends, Electric, Electrical, Electrical Repairs, Electricity, Exteension Cords, Molded Ends, Repairing, Repairs, Repairs The Damage

Meet the author

author avatar Jerry Walch
Jerry Walch is a 71 year old freelance writer for hire living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has been writing since the late 1970s, and writes for both the print and online media. He specializes in

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Comments

author avatar Stella Mitchell
4th Mar 2014 (#)

Very , very interesting and informative Jerry.
Well deserved star
God bless you
Stella >I<

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author avatar Jerry Walch
4th Mar 2014 (#)

Thank you Stella. Comments from some of my readers here on Wikinut have led me to believe that they would be interested in something more basic than my usual electrical articles.
Have a blessed week.
Jerry

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
4th Mar 2014 (#)

This is what makes Wiki so good Jerry ...there is something for every taste , faith and preference ..also great articles on a hundred and one topics , poetry and stories .Something for every age and leaning .
Just keep writing my friend ...you never know when what you write will benefit someone somewhere , and that's what matters .
God bless you
Stella ><

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author avatar sukkran
4th Mar 2014 (#)

learned some thing new from your post. thanks for your informative page.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
4th Mar 2014 (#)

Thank you for reading and for commenting, Sukkran.

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author avatar Songbird B
12th Mar 2014 (#)

Another important and informative article Jerry..I live and learn! Thanks for sharing this. \0/x

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author avatar Jerry Walch
12th Mar 2014 (#)

My pleasure Bev.

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author avatar DaddyEvil
23rd Mar 2014 (#)

Hmmm... I think I can do that, sir!
I'm bookmarking it so I can go over it again before I attempt the replacement.
Thank you!

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author avatar Jerry Walch
23rd Mar 2014 (#)

My pleasure DE.
Have a blessed Sunday.

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