110v extension cord sizing

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On 20 Dec 2004 17:03:19 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) calmly ranted:

Muted or reverberating, please?
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Larry Jaques responds:

No reverbs, please. This ain't no damned redneck bar you're in, you know?
Charlie Self "It is when power is wedded to chronic fear that it becomes formidable." Eric Hoffer
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5 years ago I would have come close to agreeing with you Larry - except that I'd have said "don't buy one, build one" in order to get a good heavy cord. But today, that's completely different. 10 and 12 gauge cords are commonly available from Wal Mart, Home Depot and every place that sells cords, and they're priced right down with what people always paid for junk 18 gauge cords. Check out the prices of 10 and 12 gauge cords next time you're out and about. They aren't even double the cheap things, let alone 5 times. Voltage drop across a 10 or 20 foot cord is something you'd have to look at as well. I don't know off the top of my head what it is, but that's a very short distance and I'm not so sure there's such a big issue at hand. On that point, I could be wrong, but it just does not seem there should be.
I prefer to give advice that is appropriate. I'd suggest a fellow use a 10 or a 12 gauge cord. That, IMHO is a lot better advice than "don't do it". It can be better advice than to hardwire, especially in situations like I suggested in my reply. Which - by the way, you didn't address.
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On Mon, 20 Dec 2004 13:03:13 GMT, "Mike Marlow"

The last one I specifically remember being advertised was a 25' contractor's cord for $30 in Ace Hardware in the last year or so. Then again, I haven't really looked into it lately, so perhaps you're right. I'll make it a point to look the next time I'm in a Borg or hardware store.

Yes, the short run is definitely an advantage.

Perhaps you underestimate human nature. Telling someone to get a specific cord, then watching them eye prices and grab the cheaper longer one, precisely the wrong thing to do and against your advice, is what too often happens. I give advice for worst-case scenario and consider it appropriate. Obviously, your and Charlie's methods differ. C'est la vie.
P.S: GWB would have said "misunderestimate" there.
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Larry Jaques responds:

And I've seen a number of other people go the other way: if thick is good, thicker is better, so instead of 10 gauge, they build their own out of #8 Romex. Try carrying 50' of that any distance! And coil and uncoil it a couple dozen times...at which point it may fail.

And for the Iraqi army readiness, he "misoverestimated".
Charlie Self "It is when power is wedded to chronic fear that it becomes formidable." Eric Hoffer
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Most of the problems with extension cords is in the plugs, not the cord. 25' of #14 under full load for a piece of equipment with a 5-15 plug (12a) drops about 1.8v. Bump that up to #12 and you drop 1.18v
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I wondered about that. Is there a reason that 20 amp outlets and plugs aren't more common?
Mark

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Mark Wells asks:

Cable costs more, is harder (slightly, but harder) to wire to receptacles and switches.
Charlie Self "Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." George Orwell
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There is very little that actually requires the NEMA 5-20 and some things that do, cheat. The code is very permissive about allowing 5-15s on 20a circuits but just be sure to buy the spec grade or better, not the 43 cent one.
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calmly ranted:

I have to disagree Larry. For a lot of us, our tools have to move around, in and out of parking places. Extension cords are much more versatile for that than hardwired cords. Properly made extension cords are every bit as good as a hardwired configuration and for us that have to deal with moving and storing, they're better.
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