Reusing computer A/C cords?

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I have a big bunch of computer type power cords but very few A/C extension cords. Any easy cheap way to convert a few? All I can think of is to cut off the female plug and put on a standard three-wire A.C female plug. Am I overlooking an easier cheaper way?
TIA
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On Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at 2:25:49 PM UTC-4, KenK wrote:

n


I

Your method should work fine other than the fact that the cords aren't very long. Once you start stringing them together for length, you'll run into i ssues with sections unplugging, possible voltage drops at every screw/plug- socket connection, etc. Just doesn't seem worth the trouble or expense to g et any decent length of cord. You might as well just go buy one.
I have in fact made short ones, like the one I have behind my recliner for the times my iPad or phone needs to be charged while I'm sitting there, or for Christmas decorations, etc. They are typically decent cords, so as long as you buy quality socket ends, you'll end up with a decent extension cord .
Other uses include replacement cords for appliances and suicide cables for the workshop. I am not recommending that you make or use a suicide cable, I 'm just saying that old computer cords make good ones.
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On 9/2/15 2:51 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Yes, in view of the cost and labor of installing a female plug, it seems more sensible to buy a 25-foot 16-gauge extension cord than to make a 6-foot cord of similar gauge.
I've always found 100-foot cords a hassle. It would be easier to work with 25- or 50-foot cords and connect them when necessary. It would also be cheaper to replace a shorter cord in case of damaged insulation. There used to be clamps to latch connections together. I haven't seen any lately.
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On 9/2/2015 3:45 PM, J Burns wrote:

It would make sense to use it if there was a simple low cost adapter to convert them. I've probably got a half dozen wasting space too.
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<stuff snipped>

http://www.google.com/search?q=D+cord+male+to+NEMA+female
I used to get them for a little over $1 at (the now apparently deceased) Computergate. The cheapest I could find now is $2.99 which makes it sort of economically impractical to use them to create low amperage 110VA cords. For a buck it made sense - for $3 or $5, get a new cord.
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J Burns wrote:

The common thing that seems to be done nowadays is to tie the two ends of the cords with a half hitch before connecting the plug and socket.
Jeff
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<stuff snipped>

of the cords with a half hitch before connecting the plug and socket.
While I realize you're not condoning the practice, I've done that in the past but now I use "clamps" designed to keep long cords coupled. The reason? Tying the extension cords in a half-hitch causes the cords to bend 180 degrees where the wire exits either the plug of one cord or the socket of the mating one. I've had the insulation break from the stress and reveal the invidual wires.
Since then, I use a barrel-shaped enclosed connector for the cord in the driveway that occasionally gets run over. It also *tends* to reduce water reaching the two couple cords.
http://www.littlegreenhouse.com/accessory/electrical.shtml
But there are lots of other designs.
http://www.google.com/search?q=clamp+to+hold+two+extension+cords
In a pinch where I might be up on the roof and DEFINITELY don't want a disconnection while up there, I might still half-hitch cords together. (-:
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You're not doing it correctly, then. Make the half hitch about a foot below the plug/socket..
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writes:

bend

socket

reveal

Probably.

It seemed that when I tried that, it ended up pulling together anyway.
Maybe there's a U-tube video out there that demonstrates the proper technique.
In reality, I'm happy with the clamps so far and I know from the stress marks they've taken more than one hit from a car. So they have a protective factor as well.
I use mine to connect a short D cord to run a trickle charger for the car through the cigar lighter. I just close the front door on the D-cords (safety purists are shuddering!). When it's taken enough abuse I replace it, plug it into the clamp and start over again.
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On Friday, September 4, 2015 at 10:01:29 AM UTC-4, Scott Lurndal wrote:

If I employ this wiring technique, what is the proper knot to use inside the wall so that I don't violate the "hidden junction" rule?
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQNTT6VXfbMb6bXborWi7M75KNtmy-oPw9KzuAmvfcG-c1DB_pL1A
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<stuff snipped>

the

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQNTT6VXfbMb6bXborWi7M75KNtmy-oPw9KzuAmvfcG-c1DB_pL1A
The correct procedure is to route and tape the wires this way:
http://i.stack.imgur.com/o9H0E.png
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writes:

the

bend

socket

reveal

the

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQNTT6VXfbMb6bXborWi7M75KNtmy-oPw9KzuAmvfcG-c1DB_pL1A
The correct procedure is to route and tape the wires this way:
http://i.stack.imgur.com/o9H0E.png
(-:
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writes:

bend

socket

reveal

It wasn't until I found a picture on the net that I realized how you were tying the cords. Most of the hits I found looked like this:
http://i.stack.imgur.com/9gm6F.jpg
I think what you're talking about is here:
http://p-fst1.pixstatic.com/52555a51dbfa3f0d40000302._w.540_h.405_s.fit_.jpg
Takes up a little bit more cord but it does relieve the sideways strain that the 9gm6F image shows. Thanks for the info, Scott.
There's still going to be some strain on the cord because the two cords that enter the knot in parallel will eventually end up going in the opposite direction. That's far better than the often-used overhand knot that often puts extreme side-wise strain that almost always yanks the individual conductors out of the jacket.
FWIW, I'd still opt for the barrel-shaped connectors that have adjustable strain relief, protection from run-over damage and that present an easier to move around profile. I would imagine that the half-hitch can snag pretty easily on stumps and shrubs.
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Bobby G.




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On 09/04/2015 12:59 AM, Robert Green wrote:

I used to have a cord where the female end would somehow put little pieces of plastic through the holes in the male end to hold it in place. I don't know where to find another like that.
[snip]
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On Wed, 2 Sep 2015 11:51:31 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

Big problem is they are "generally" very light duty. Almost every one I have around right now is only 18 guage -good for something between 2.3 and 7 amps, more or less, depending on length. Not much good as a "general purpose" extention cord.
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<stuff snipped>

Agree. Even the ones that seem thick are actually 18AWG, sometimes 16 but very rarely 14. I went looking for a 14AWG cord and found only one in a box of dozens. IIRC it came from an AST Turbo Laser that dimmed the lights when it booted up. (-:
For short, low wattage work I've bought adapters that have a male "D" plug connected to a regular 110VAC outlet format. That turns it into a grounded 6 to 12' extension cord. Problem is, unless you shop for the lowest price adapters, they end up being as costly as buying a new extension cord. Same with putting a 110VAC plug on the cord. Those connectors cost $2 or more each. Others may disagree, but I prefer a molded plug to a retrofitted one.
If you can find the "D" adapters cheap, they work out well. I like to use them for wiring a stereo stack because you can label them for easy breakdown/reconfiguration and bundle the cord that comes with the equipment up so that you can unplug nearly in place instead of down at the power strip. Who here hasn't had a problem fishing a long cord from an equipment stack like that? Or unplugged the wrong item? I try to label cords at the plug end just to be sure.
I also use 1' mini-extension cords for things like plugging six "wall warts" into a powerstrip. The short extensions eliminate the problem with power adapters that cover one or more of the adjacent outlets. I use velcro to keep the power adapters attached to the piece of scrap shelving that I attached the power strip to so that it's a little neater. They really make a difference if you've got a lot of wall-warts (like my charging station that now has a record 37 chargers of different types. Really, chargers for cell phones, garden equipment, tools, batteries, shavers, kitchen gear, laptops, PDAs, MP3 players, portable vacs, cameras, etc.) I, for one, am glad that the EU led the way in forcing phone makers (at least) to standardize on the USB charging plug. I bought a universal solar charger for cell phones that came with 21 different adapters!!!!!!
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On 9/2/2015 5:31 PM, Robert Green wrote:

I bought a cheap P-touch label maker for that. The labels are "printed" on ~1/2 wide vinyl (?) tape. I lay the label *along* the cord (power cord, CAT5 cable, etc.). The 1/2" height of the label is not enough to make it's way all the way around the cable (just *barely* makes it around a CAT5 patch cord) so would easily fall off or be peeled off when pulling cables.
So, I use 2" wide cellophane packing tape cut to the length of the label plus half an inch or so. Then, wrap it *around* the cable and label to effectively protect and secure the label.
This part of the cable is then slightly less flexible but not badly.

These folks make a nice outlet strip for wall warts: <(Amazon.com product link shortened)> but it is insanely expensive!
Lowe's has some that are suitable but, in my case, a bit too long. As most of the guts were of molded plastic, I couldn't even cut it down to size!
I've resigned myself to fabricating something. One of my workstations has more than a dozen wall warts and I'd like to be able to switch them individually on/off without having to unplug (or, unplug).
Thankfully (?), many of my devices use enough power to warrant *bricks* instead of wall warts.
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the

I bought a few when they were selling as refurbs for less that $20 for the full keyboard model that connects to a PC. I guess it's like King Gillette: give away the razors to sell the blades (or in this case, blank label tape).

I've discovered that trick too because without it the labels flex off after a period of time. Dymo makes a tape with a very aggressive glue but it's very expensive and hard to remove when you want to. The clear tape overlay makes removing old labels easy.

warts"

power

to

make

for

am

charger

Check out a similar item at Harbor Freight. About $20 for a 4 foot black anodized strip with 12 outlets.

That gets to be expensive. I have an old power strip that has individually switched outlets I got at a thrift store for a few bucks but that probably cost well over $100 when new.

It used to be that bricks came with removable D cords to make replacing them somewhat easier but I haven't seen one like that in a while. Must be a cost thing.
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Hi Bobby,
On 9/3/2015 5:54 AM, Robert Green wrote:

Cool! I just bought one of the el cheapo's when Costco had them on sale. I did so because I had "rescued" several new "ribbon" cartridges; I figured I could afford to throw the whole thing in the trash when I ran out! :>

Exactly. (I always use toilet paper dispenser in place of your "razors" example)

The packing tape will also start to come loose (at the edge) over time. But, so far, hasn't come *off*.

I have a much larger labeler (Kroy K2000): <http://members.tripod.com/~HANOVER_TECHNICAL/kroy03.html that prints on heat-shrink tubing. A better solution -- but impractical for cables with "connectors" already on both ends!

Really? I'll have to look. Getting strips with the outlets "facing" the right direction is a chore. The Lowe's strip (below) has everything "just right"... but, it's too long (I need something around 2.5-3'). When I disassembled it to try to just "elide" one outlet, I was disappointed to find that it was essentially one large assembly wrapped in a metal case. :<

If I can get the mechanical aspects (i.e., a case that I can mount singleton receptacles in), then the rest of the components are essentially free -- pick them from my parts bins. But, the case the right length and outlet orientation is the pisser.

All of my bricks (save one that I found for the P-Touch unit) have removable power cords. I have cords in various lengths: 1', 3', 5-6', 12', etc. So, I arrange to use the shortest cord possible (to keep the amount of "cord clutter" down to a minimum).
I have a few bricks with Mickey's. Unfortunately, all of those cords are the same length (apparently?).
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figured

I think Fry's was perpetually selling refurbed label makers and I realized that if I had them strategically placed in the house I would be tempted to use them more often. The problem now is that I have to keep using larger and larger fonts as my eyes get older.

The ones I bought all do heat shrink tubing which I haven't used once because as you note, they only work on cables that aren't "ended" already. Still, it *would* be a good way to mark a new run of cabling. Instead I have a silver, gold, black and other colored Sharpies that I use. While not as neat and legible as Dymo labels, they do the job.

black

That's going to be a problem with the H-freight ones, too. What do you mean by the outlets facing the right way? Ground hole to the left instead of the bottom?

Haven't disassembled one to see (and before my wife made me swear to stop wrecking things for internet posts <grin>) but I have taken apart others and agree that there aren't discrete components but an assembly. Just took apart an Eveready UPS (rebadge APC) and found exactly that - outlet blades just soldered together and fit into an elaborate plastic shell that's part of the case.

Good luck with that!

removable

I just recently started to see non-removable cords on the bricks from new stuff coming from China. I guess it saves a penny or so but it does make them less convenient.

I assume Mickey's are the figure 8 cords used to power things like laptops with a ground wire that give a head to the two ears. I see very few of those - mostly laptops. I do see a lot more of them in both polarized and unpolarized format.
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