It's all about insulation and current capacity. I'm not sure about all
cases, but I think the normal voltage rating for any wire used in
house wiring (I can't say if that's true for extension cords,
appliance cords, tool cords) is around 600V, so that shouldn't be an
issue. The current draw for a tool on 240V is half that of a tool on
120V (assuming same power of motor), so that's not an issue.
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
It is all about insulation. Current is a "non-issue".
I suspect that in good shape if you just change the connectors. It's
hard today to make insulation that is ok with 120 volts and not ok with
The short answer is Yes. 240v in a cable is supplied by 2 wires (plus a
ground). Each "hot" wire carries 120v. By switching ends, you are making the
neutral (white) wire function as the other hot (red) wire. 240v motors do
not require a neutral.
Just as with a 120v extension cord, the current draw of the tool, and length
of the cord determines how heavy a cord (wire guage) is required.
The problem is that almost any US tool you run off 240V is a heavy user
In the UK we have really dinky 240V cords. We can do that because every
UK plug has a fuse in it. US plugs do not have individual fuses, not even
the 240V type.
Even though each 'hot' wire is 120v the difference between them is 240v,
actually it is more than that because 240V is the RMS value, the peak
I doubt there would be a problem running a 240V lightbulb of a repurposed
120V extension. But a Unisaw drawing 20amps on power up is a completely
At a minimum check the current rating for the cable. But a better plan
would probably be to buy a purpose designed 240v cable from europe.
No need to go to Europe for anything (especially the UK where the plug-end
for even a table lamp is the size of the US dryer plug...severe over-kill,
all due to that obsession with fire because of something that happened about
400 years ago and as I understand it was a blessing in disguise because it
killed all the rats that carried the black plague).
I think you can trust the voltage ratings for extension cords that are noted
in the instruction manual for any US machine. If Delta/Jet/anybody else say
14 or 12ga wire is sufficient, then believe them.
Well, wire is wire, and it would be difficult to find cables in europe
with NEMA plugs/receptacles.
Given the length and gauge of the wire, it is pretty simple
to determine both the ampacity of the wire as well as any voltage drop.
Figuring a 3HP tablesaw at about 17A @ 230V and a 100' retractable
extension cord, you're looking at a AWG 10 requirement for the cord and
any circuit feeding it.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.