Forum Thread

Repairing an Extension Cable

ChpByr 803 92 August 4, 2016 at 09:07 PM
I discovered today that my in-laws are using a 100ft extension cable outside with a breached jacket. From what I can see, 1 of the 3 inner cables has also had its insulation jacket breached a small amount. Would simply wrapping this section in heat shrink be too greedy? Or should I just go the whole way and cut the section out and install a water resistant connector?

Appreciate the input from others more experienced than I. Smilie

(If it matters, I think the heaviest use the cable sees is from their electric lawn mower)

Update: Discovered a 2nd inner jacket breached, will be cutting off the damaged end.

10 Comments

1

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#2
Make sure they plug into a GFCI outlet! It might save someone's life.

If you must, cut away that entire section of cable. You can wrap the conductors and the outer jacket with electrical tape until it's thicker than the original insulation / jacket, but it wouldn't be my first choice. If you must, use high quality electrical tape like super 33+.
The ends for extension cords are expensive enough, it would be best just to buy a new extension cord.
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Last edited by jkee August 4, 2016 at 09:35 PM
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#3
Cut it back (until there's no damage) and put another "end" on. You will have to make the cost/benefit call on whether the new terminus is worth it or not, or to just buy another cord. It's 100ft - there was a 14/3 cord on HD for like $30 the other day, but that's a very cheap cord (14/3? I wouldn't even buy such a thing). 12/3 is going to be more like $70 ($56 from HF right now) - hard to believe another terminus would be worth that much.
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#4
Thanks for the input guys. I actually took another look at the cable and discovered that there's actually 2 damaged inner jackets (not just 1). Given that, I'll definitely be cutting off the damaged end and attaching a new connector, I just need to find one that's water-resistant.
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Last edited by ChpByr August 5, 2016 at 07:15 AM
#5
If it's the typical orange cord, $15 for a new one. stop driving over it
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#6
Quote from Dr. J View Post :
Cut it back (until there's no damage) and put another "end" on. You will have to make the cost/benefit call on whether the new terminus is worth it or not, or to just buy another cord. It's 100ft - there was a 14/3 cord on HD for like $30 the other day, but that's a very cheap cord (14/3? I wouldn't even buy such a thing). 12/3 is going to be more like $70 ($56 from HF right now) - hard to believe another terminus would be worth that much.
If it's a $70 cord obviously fix it. Most people don't buy extension cords that expensive. But spending $7 on a plug for a $13 cord... not so much.
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Last edited by jkee August 7, 2016 at 03:42 PM
#7
I repair all my extension cords.
If the inner wire(s) are not severed, I will put two layers of electrical tape around the inner wire(s) and then heatshrink tubing over the entire damaged section.

If the inner wires are severed, I stagger the joints, join the inner wires with uninsulated crimp connectors (butt splices), cover each inner wire with heatshrink tubing, and then cover the entire area with heatshrink tubing.

DO NOT SOLDER THE WIRES! This will create a stress-riser and the wire WILL break.
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#8
Quote from jopho View Post :
I repair all my extension cords.
If the inner wire(s) are not severed, I will put two layers of electrical tape around the inner wire(s) and then heatshrink tubing over the entire damaged section.

If the inner wires are severed, I stagger the joints, join the inner wires with uninsulated crimp connectors (butt splices), cover each inner wire with heatshrink tubing, and then cover the entire area with heatshrink tubing.

DO NOT SOLDER THE WIRES! This will create a stress-riser and the wire WILL break.
I solder but reinforce the joint with 2-3 layers of heatshrink, extending the final layers end well beyond the splice. Heatshrink is available with different amounts of stiffness, and the outer layer should be the stiffest type. I don't twist the wires together but just push them together so their strands interleave, and then I wrap just enough really thin bare copper wire (#32, #36) around those strands so they don't protrude. I smear silicone rubber sealant over the joint before applying the last layer of heatshrink, for waterproofing. Then all 3 splices are coated with more silicone rubber and covered with a bigger piece of heatshrink.
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#9
Quote from jkee View Post :
Make sure they plug into a GFCI outlet! It might save someone's life.
And test the GFCI just before each use. I've had 4 GFCIs fail on me, and only 2-3 of them failed by shutting off the electricity. One of the GFCIs had been subject of a recall and failed by shutting off the AC. The factory replacement, a different design, failed a few weeks later by keeping the AC going. The replacement for that one, a 3rd design, has been working fine for 15+ years.
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#10
I absolutely freaking hate GFCI outlets. With GFCI circuit breakers available for the breaker panel, why bother with the outlets, anyway?
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#11
Quote from VorlonFrog View Post :
I absolutely freaking hate GFCI outlets. With GFCI circuit breakers available for the breaker panel, why bother with the outlets, anyway?
Most of the outlet ones are more sensitive. Some GFCI's are a PITA. I've personally had a 100% failure rate with cooper brand GFICs.
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