Electrical Question

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I have a 500 hp generator that I have never actually used. The directions say use a 12 gauge cord with it ... I bought 14 gauge cords. Are these too strong?
Next question. Our weed eater stopped working -- my son was using one of the 14 gauge cords with it when it started smoking and the connection on one side is black. Is it because the cord was too strong? Or do I need to replace the weed eater. It's fairly old.
My son and I have recently taken over the outside chores -- and we are having to learn as we go. My husband used to do all this but his health is bad and he can't help. Appreciate any advice.
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I have a 500 hp generator that I have never actually used. The directions say use a 12 gauge cord with it ... I bought 14 gauge cords. Are these too strong?
Next question. Our weed eater stopped working -- my son was using one of the 14 gauge cords with it when it started smoking and the connection on one side is black. Is it because the cord was too strong? Or do I need to replace the weed eater. It's fairly old.
My son and I have recently taken over the outside chores -- and we are having to learn as we go. My husband used to do all this but his health is bad and he can't help. Appreciate any advice.
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On 08/29/11 7:18 PM, Dottie wrote:

14 gauge is actually smaller than 12 gauge. As wire gauge numbers go down, the wires actually get bigger. 12 gauge wires can safely carry more current than 14 gauge, so I would suggest you go with the heavier cord as suggested by the directions.
What are you planning on using the generator for?

What started smoking - the weed eater or the cord? I would guess a bad connection or faulty device rather than an issue with the cord size.
Depending on how much weed eating you have to do, consider a cordless model if it's not a huge lot or a gas model if it is. Dragging a cord around is pain for a big lot and a hassle to take out every time for small lot. However, a gas model might be too finicky for you and your son to deal with.

Sorry to hear that. Best of luck to all 3 of you.
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Check the HP on the generator. Probably 5, not 500.
The 14 gauge cord is too weak, not too strong. The higher the number, the thinner the wire, the les capacity it can handle.
If the cord started smoking the load was too strong. If the weed eater started smoking it may be burnt out , can't tell for sure from here. Try it again on a proper sized cord.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Certainly possible but I suspect there was a short elsewhere; I've never heard of a weed eater needing a 12 gauge cord (unless she had a tremendously long extension cord). Heck they only draw about 2-4 amps.
--

dadiOH
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On 8/29/2011 7:16 PM, Dottie wrote:

I doubt that. More likely, you have a five thousand watt generator.

Why?
Ahh, I see. Apparently you don't understand how wire gauge sizes go. 12 gauge is *heavier* cord than 14 -- the higher the number, the smaller the wire.
You should have 12-gauge cords.

No.
Probably.
Do you have a neighbor or a relative whom you trust to answer your questions? You'll undoubtedly get better answers from someone who can actually see what's going on.
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My generator is a 5 hp -- sorry about that. I bought the 14 gauge cords to use with it last year -- thinking they would be o.k. but at the time I am not sure I saw the page in the book that came with the generator saying 12 gauge. Anyway, thank you for your help. And I am not a troll....just an old lady who is trying to learn new things.
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For what it's worth I always though the wire gauge thing was dumb too. But there it is, smaller number wire means bigger. When they got to 0 they had to go with mulitples of 0. Sometimes shown like 2/0 which measn 00.
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jamesgangnc wrote:

Numbered drills seem to go "the wrong way" too.
I understand the shotgun bore size number thing, it's how many lead balls the size of the bore it takes to weigh one pound. (Save for the .410 which is a decimal inch diameter.)
But I don't know where the numbered drill size thing comes from. Can someone educate me on that please?
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
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This old guy learned something himself: wire gauges are like shotgun gauges, the smaller number is the bigger. Figured this was the case but not sure until now.
If you want to use the generator to power stuff in your house, as I do during a power outage, you should hire an electrician to put in a transfer box and the cord to plug into the generator. I don't know what mine is but the cord is very substantial for the 220 volt plug. I used the lower voltage once this spring to exercise the generator and burn out stagnant gas in carburator and strung my hedge clipper to it with the normal cord with no problem.
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I did the unthinkable -- I went in and dug out the papers that came with the generator after I posted. It is a Troy Built 5000 watts and further down the page it says Cord Set Gauge 12.
And I do remember seeing cords in Walmart and getting the 14 gauge thinking they would be stronger. Live and learn. I will have to go shopping again.
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Get a couple of those orange 12 guage outdoor extension cords and you can use them for your weed eater (presuming it still works) and your generator.
Your generator probably has a pair of 120v sockets. Each socket delivers half the rated power of the generator, 2500 watts, so it is wise to split the things you plug into the generator across both sockets. To do that you will need two extension cords.
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The longer the cord the bigger wire you need, voltage drops the longer the run, To know what you need lood at a extension cord voltage drop chart, google one up , if your run is long and depending on whatbis connected ton the gen a 10 ga May be needed, mine came with 10ga, as far as weed wackers I could see at 100ft a 12 ga may be needed , to know you have to measure voltage at the end I do it so I know on long runs. But a simple 300$ transfer switch for the gen is best
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wrote:

If you are running multiple cords the 14 ga will be fine. Your generator only puts out 30 amps and if that is evenly spread across 3 or 4 cords you will be fine. Most of the wiring in your house is going to be 14 ga anyway.
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Bzzzzzzttttt! Wrong answer but thanks for playing.
The minimum wire gage required is a function of extension cord length AND current flow.

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Right you are, Daisy Mae!
From the Southwire voltage drop calculator at: http://www.southwire.com/ProductCatalog/CalculatorController
A maximum distance of 67.168 feet will limit the voltage drop to 3% or less with a #14 Copper conductor delivering 10.0 amps on a 120 volt system.
A maximum distance of 103.677 feet will limit the voltage drop to 3% or less with a #12 Copper conductor delivering 10.0 amps on a 120 volt system.
A maximum distance of 171.538 feet will limit the voltage drop to 3% or less with a #10 Copper conductor delivering 10.0 amps on a 120 volt system.
message

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On Tue, 30 Aug 2011 20:51:33 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

Go to Sears. They'll have an aisle full of 'em.

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On Aug 30, 8:49pm, "Stormin Mormon"

.
Because you nimrod, it isn't just the last 105 feet (extension cord plus the cord on the machine) you have to worry about, voltage drop starts at the service panel and keeps going through the 100 or so feet of wire inside the house to the receptacle outlet you are plugging the extension cord into...
This is the reason why outdoor receptacles are often fed from 20amp circuits using a minimum wire size of #12...
So if we can imagine the OP's situation, where she has the typical orange 100 foot outdoor 14 gauge extension cord which is going to suffer about 6 to 7% voltage drop from the cord alone, is going to have another equal voltage drop from the long wire run inside the house unless the electrician who wired the home was smart enough to use the next size larger wire for the longer run...
I would say that trying to run a weed whacker at 12% to 15% voltage drop would cause overheating and arcing...
But you are correct, she never said how many of such cords she was using with the weed whacker, nor did she ever say she was using the generator to power them -- in fact she said the generator was as yet unused...
~~ Evan
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I, Rev Daisy Mae Johnson, never mentionioned anything about a weedwhacker.
But you, Stormin Mormon, stated that "The 12 gage cord is only needed if the generator is being used on full power. " which is untrue.
You, Stormon Mormon, need to reread my original post.

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Most of us here are civil in nature, so jut ignore folks who are mean- spirited.. Lurk every day and you willl learn a lot as most folks here are real hands-on types.
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