# How Long Of A Power Cord?

Allen Parks wrote:

Snipped story. While using a 100' 14/3 ext. cord with a 110V. welder out in the driveway I noticed almost too late the wall socket on fire at the plugin end. Moral of the story = 100' extension cords = dangerous crap in the hands of inexperienced people. and further, 14 guage cords for anything other than electronics, never again. granpaw
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granpaw wrote:

Heh...to have the same resistance as a 25' 14AWG cord, a 100' cord needs to be 8AwG.
I don't think I've ever even *seen* an 8AWG extension cord.
Chris
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Chris Friesen wrote:

RV's have pretty large cords. My travel trailer is only 30 amp, but I think the cord is either 10 or 8 gauge, Don't know what trailers and motor homes with 50 amp service use, but it has to be a minimum of 8 gauge, maybe 6 gauge. Course most are only 25 feet long.
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The hot socket wasn't the extension cord issue - it was the socket and plug issue.
I suspect the socket was a bit stretched and wishy washy. Those heat up. And the socket was a 15 amp socket (and plug) not a 20 amp socket and plug.
If the welder didn't function well - low arc... that would mean the copper loss or simple ohms law voltage drop in the wire = current in the wire * resistance of the wire. So simply have lower resistance (larger wire) and you get less voltage (drop).
Sometimes if you baby step up from 18 to 16 - when you need 12 - the drop is about the same as the machine starts to work more and takes more.
Martin
Martin Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net NRA LOH, NRA Life NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder
granpaw wrote:

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Get a higher current extension. Simple as that. Sounds like the 100' (assumed it was foot not inch) was a 16 when a 12 was needed. Martin Martin Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net NRA LOH, NRA Life NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder
Allen Parks wrote:

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"Martin H. Eastburn" wrote:

Yes,, but that's pretty much a given.
Why did the motor over heat? Does the loss of voltage across the line automatically cause a motor to overheat? I am sure it did, but it is not something that I would intuitively think.
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May I say something else. Get a great power cord. Do not settle for cheap crap. I accidentally ended up with 250 feet of 14/3 rubber armored (not steel armored) cable. It was included in one of those military surplus lots "batch lot on a pallet". It is very thick and super well armored and very flexible. I was so stupid as to offer it on ebay, but, fortunately, no one bid. I am now very glad that no one took it from me. It makes superb power cable, extension cords, and such. It is indestructible. You can probably buy something like that for not too much if you look hard enough. I use it as power cord for my grinding station that is on wheels.
i
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A motor needs power to do the job. P=V*I. If the voltage sags the motor draws more current to make the same power. The higher the current the more the motor heats up.
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Chuck Sherwood wrote:

Thanks Chuck
I just did not think that 50 volts (whatever) would do much of a job trying to push current through a cct designed for 110V.
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On Tue, 25 Oct 2005 13:46:00 -0400, Eddy Sams

I thought the rule of thumb for power cords was the "Damn!" rule.
You know the one.
"Damn . . . if this cord were only six inches longer . . . . " :)
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Too_Many_Tools wrote:

Easy. Use a length that will reach the outlet but not add unnecessary clutter.
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The tools are both portable and stationary, wood and metal working, single and three phase, 110v and 220v, motors from fraction of a horse to over 5 hp.
TMT
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Too_Many_Tools wrote:

I tend to go for longer rather than shorter, as most machines I've wired get moved around. Then if the cord is too long I'll just make a neat coil under a bench or in a corner.
Chris
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On 21 Oct 2005 09:16:20 -0700, "Too_Many_Tools"

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't find it any more difficult than how high you should build the workbench, or what color you should paint it, or how flat it should be. All are personal adult decisions based upon your personal needs. It's not rocket science.
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It depends.
But, for simplicity's sake, I've built mine by taking the longer dimesion of my shop (26' as it doubles as a garage (and no, my super charged S2000 does NOT live outside)) , halving it and adding 4'. Rounded up that's 18'. Everry cord can reach a socket.
My method.
Regards.
Tom
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If good practice is what you want then you will make sure no cord is smaller than 12/2 with ground. And to connect the cord cap use a twist lock . So many people go cheap cheap. And one of these day it will bite you. May cost an extra \$50 to do 10 or 12 gauge wire and twist lock but these are not cords that are in an area of gentle use. How many times have you ....... never mind . How many time have you seen someone just yank on the cord to unplug it ? If you want to screw around with cheap go ahead but when someone gets hurt ....... lets just hope it is not life threatening. And if you use any of these tool on a construction site with smaller than 12 wire it is against osha regs. Yup screw osha you know better. Maybe a short list in order of importance should be. Safety Quality durability price And in that order. Sorry for the rant but it hurts to see someone get hurt using cords with duct tape or spliced with wire nuts .
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I like to use long cords that are a just a little too small a gauge for the tool. That way I can wrap them around the base a couple of times and provide a free space heater to keep my feet warm.
JP
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For the sake of easy and neat storage, you might consider putting just a 6" cord on each tool. More often than not I have to pull out an extension cord anyway, so it's not much extra work. It is definitely nice not to have to deal with a bunch of loose cords on the tool shelf.
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BigBunion wrote:

Makes sense, except I'd make it a bit longer so the connection isn't in the way. Probably the worst choice is 6' which is the length of many original cords.
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In general, long enough to reach an outlet in the most likely places it will get used. Different tool family, different lengths, most likely. That -might- result in a re-think of the shop wiring: I've found overhead outlets handy in the extreme. I use the conduit type with the swinging ball joint at the ceiling box. Keep them above head level and out of the way of wood movement though or plan on tying them up out of the way. I put one purposely where it'd be inthe way and then bungee'd it up out of the way - no problem at all for the functionality I gained. I also added two 25' reeled cords; also very handy. Then I placed the Master switches in the shop just inside the door to the laundry room - so I can know ALL power is off out there without having to walk out. Painted all non-switched outlets reddish orange, and added something noisy or that puts out light to each one. Plus, a set of motion activated lights to walk-thru on th eway to the garage. I think I'm FINALLY read to start actually using my shop again now! Wonder what I missed? Oh yeah, surface mount all wiring in conduit; you won't be sorry down the road; made it real easy to rewire a couple of things.
JM2C
: In about a month, I will be replacing a significant number of power : cords on a variety of metal and wood working machines. : : So how long of a cord should a person replace them with? : : It's a harder question to answer than at first glance. It's like asking : "How high should I build my workbench?"..it depends. : : Of course one should replace the cord so the new one reaches the outlet : but how much extra cord should one allow? : : Over the years, machines have come with a variety of lengths in : relation to their power cords so just replacing it with what it had may : not be a good approach. When copper was expensive, the cords got : shorter to save costs. And over the years, cords are replaced because : of damage or old age. : : As a matter of good practice I will be installing wire adequate for the : currents needed, using grounded plugs, appropiate insulation types but : the simple question of "How Long?" is one I would like to have your : opinion on. : : Thanks in advance for suggestions. : : TMT :
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