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?
You know it's time to clean the refrigerator
when something closes the door from the inside.
On Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at 2:25:49 PM UTC-4, KenK wrote:
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.
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
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.
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.
But there are lots of other designs.
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. (-:
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
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.
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?
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:
I think what you're talking about is here:
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.
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.
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!!!!!!
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.
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.
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
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"
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):
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?).
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.
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
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!
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
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