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Splice an Extension Cord?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by velvetfoot, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Well, it happened yesterday. Cutting some wood near the house with the electric saw, a quick spark, and alas, a damaged extension cord. I've read that it's not advisable to splice an extension cord, but this is about 12 gauge and almost new. There should be a way to splice it that is both strong and watertight. Would anyone have any suggestions? (PS: The outlets used are GFI protected.)

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  2. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    Ok, I can't begin to recomend this as being safe; but it works.

    When I lived in the city I took my electric lawn mower for a trip over the cord. I think it cut that faster and cleaner than it ever went through the grass and weeds. I didn't have a spare that was long enough so I stripped the wires (to different lengths so the splices would not be next to each other), twisted everything together and wrapped that sucker with 1/2 a roll of electrical tape.

    That was seven or eight years ago and it still works fine. I think I cut the lawn for another year with that cord, until we moved. Now it's just a spare, hanging in the back of the garage.
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Yep, like Griz says. I would trim'em offset from each other then crimp appropriate butt splices in, wrap it and rock and roll.

    No permit or inspection required.

    Sorry Elk.
  4. Codeman812

    Codeman812 New Member

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    Or you could get the male and female plugs and make 2 cords. Then tape the 2 ends together if you have too. As a bonus you have smaller cords if you dont need the whole length.
  5. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Yeah what they said!!!!!!!!!!!!
    But go over the splices with rubber splicing tape.... It's a bit thicker. and what I would use around burndy's after the mastic......... Don't ask..... :smirk:
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Got Burndy's in the garage. And a big ass hammer for crimping.
  7. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    This is what I have to do at work.... Due to OSHA........ At home..also a good idea...... but most likely that short section of cord is less than 3 feet, and not good for much...

    EDIT>>>>>>> I will never lend a cord to a neighbor again after they cut through it with the hedge trimmer........ Yep about 3 feet from the end.....
  8. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Well it's not like I haven't used the twist and tape method before on another cord, which I also still have, but I'm not feeling that good about it (although no tingly sensations yet :) ). I haven't seen crimp splices for 12 gauge but I haven't looked yet either. Perhaps some shrink wrap insulation as well. I wonder how much mechanical strength a crimp splice would have compared to the twist method though - I can only relate to the crimp splices I used on something like a car stereo.
  9. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    12 gauge is yellow on the butt splices........
    as far as the splices it's not so much the crimps as it is the crimping tool, that makes a good splice........ Ideal makes some of the best splices and stak-on connectors around........ But still comes down to the crimper and the guy crimping.....
  10. restorer

    restorer New Member

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    Well, you shouldn't, but do the offset splices, seal with a little solder, shrinkwrap, seal with a little silicone and re-shrink. Remember that the splice is a potential hazard. I wouldn't want to be dragging it in a wet area. Outdoors for cutting stuff I use a #6 wire with outdoor shielding. It's like dragging a tow chain, but it is safe. I have a 150 ft cord, wired 220 Hubbell ends that I can run my table saw outdoors. Pretty freaky to see a saw in the middle of a parking lot ripping 2 X 12's like butter. I really love a 5hp saw. Wiring the DeWalt GE Radial with a 16 inch blade to do the same. Thinking of buying a forklift to move the saws.

    This is sounding like I have a bigger lift on my truck than you do.
  11. Codeman812

    Codeman812 New Member

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    I actually use the shorter ones for more than I thought I would. Like for my salamanders and drop lights. Sometimes you make things and find a use later. Then other times... :)


  12. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Thanks. I didn't think of silicone. The challenge is also to keep it flexible too, I suppose, so it can be rolled up.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    If you use silicone, stay away from the standard variety with acetic acid in it (smells like vinegar). That will eventually corrode connections.
  14. restorer

    restorer New Member

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    I think there are electrically neutral sealers. You're right about the acidic sealers. I have also used lithium lubs as Ph neutral sealers. The major point is keep the moisture out, period. In the old days we used shellac to seal. Nothing better, nothing more old school.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes, I think GE Silicone II is neutral. Personally, I always use raw metal crimps, then solder them for a sure connection. I use marine heat shrink tubing to seal the crimp connection, then tape. There is a marine heat shrink has a glue like liner that seals things up quite nicely.
  16. restorer

    restorer New Member

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    Haven't seen the marine grade shrink wrap, but make a lot of sense. Guess it would be at the boat supply store, not the electrical supply store. Will add that to the tool bag.
  17. Island-Doc

    Island-Doc New Member

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    Personally I'd go with the 'two smaller cords' solution but if for some reason you don't want to go that route, the best way to go is to use a waterproof splice block, you can get them at any electrical supply place, basically you screw the wires in at both ends and close it up and you're all set.

    Make sure you get one rated for 12 guage wire.

    One problem with the splice and tape method is that if you don't get a good enough connection to handle the current (12 guage can handle a lot of current) it will heat up and eventually fail or melt the electrical tape you covered it with.
  18. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    BB Believe it or not the State wants us inspectors to enforce oshsa

    So far they need to fund it for us to enforce it the funding has not hapened yet

    Most of my tools have repaired cords I have to fail just about all my own cords and tools


    Boy can people turn a simple repair into more than what is required. I cut dirrerent lengthe solder the pieces tape them and tape the cord
    If the tape falls off I tape it again
  19. Andre B.

    Andre B. New Member

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    Believe it or not there is a name for this kind of wire splice. :)
    The Western Union splice or Lineman splice.
    http://tpub.com/content/neets/14176/css/14176_46.htm

    Normally I do not solder the connections I just strip enough wire so that the twisted part of each splice is at least 1" long.
    If I do solder it is just a very small amount in the center of the twist.

    When wrapping the tape it helps a lot if you can have someone or something put the cord straight and tight so you have both hands free to wrap the tape. That way you can get the tape stretched properly as it is wrapped so it seals better.

    Like Elk says it's not that big a deal.

    Now when you run over a 100' cord with a mower and it reels in the whole thing, best just get a new cord. ;)

    Edit:
    A pic of a splice that was taken out of service.
    http://www.insulators.com/pictures/?id=16043951
    Note the center section that provides mechanical strength and the different type of twist at each end provides a bit of strain relief like that coil spring thing on some garden hoses.
  20. Bones

    Bones Member

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    Deep well wire connectors,with shrink wrap tubing filled with an RTV.
  21. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    How about liquid "electrical tape." Comes in a can with a brush and different colors. Paint it on the connections, tape up with regular electrical tape, shrink connection or whatever.
  22. Builder Bob

    Builder Bob Member

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    I like others above prefer to buy new ends for the cords and have 2 different lenghts. This way you get a good connection with the new plug ends and the use of a shorter cord. There are many times a 20 - 35' cord has come in handy around the house. And if needed, the two can still be plugged into each other.

    Bob
  23. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    shoot, if you are only losing 3 ft, just put a new end on and leave it at that , now if cut in the middle ( >>> guilty :)) then i'd put a male and female and make 2 cords (which i did)
  24. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    My personal preference is to use Western Union splices, staggered as shown earlier. I solder those splices (use ROSIN CORE solder for electrical work, NEVER use "ACID CORE" plumbing solder!) and cover each with a length of shrink tube. I also try to preserve the polyester cord "strength member" found in the center of most exterior grade cords, and tie the two ends together so as to minimize the strain on the splices. I then slide a bigger peice of shrink over the entire splice to seal and protect it. Use the rubbery FP or FIT 221 spec tube (comes in multiple colors, fairly expensive, usually found at good electronics stores) that will shrink to a very flexible coating, not the hard PVC shrink, (usually black, found at cheap stores and Radio shacks) that hardens to a rigid tube... Another option that is hard to find, but works really nice is "Tommy Tape" which is a self fusing rubber electrical tape - when you put it on, it will melt together permanently in a very short time (don't make mistakes!) but won't stick to anything but itself. Works real nicely on "T" connections and other such places where you can't use shrink tube.

    I've used the "tape in a can" stuff, also the stuff used to dip tool handles in to coat them... It sort of works but I would only use it as an under layer with shrink or tape over it, as I found it wasn't possible to get a reliable uniform thickness of coating on it, and bare/thin spots just aren't acceptable.

    I don't generally use crimps in an application like this, but they probably would be ok from a mechanical standpoint, I'm just not sure about their ability to seal moisture. Mechanically, a properly made crimp should be stronger than the wire it's made with, but it all depends on the crimper tool. It is NOT POSSIBLE to make a consistent "mil-spec" crimp with the "plier" style multi-function crimp tools you find at the local hardware store! I've seen folks try it at a former job. They could not pass the required destructive test that a properly made crimp is supposed to handle - A sample is put on a tensioning machine that pulls until failure - the wire must break other than at the crimp before the crimp pulls out or otherwise fails. The only tool that will make a good crimp is a ratcheting compound lever tool, preferably regularly calibrated. I have some of those plier tools, they are tolerable wire strippers, and OK for cutting wire or trimming small screws (if used right) However one should grind the crimping section away so that you aren't tempted to try using it to make a crimp! (I also have spent the money to get ratcheting crimpers for anything I use regularly, or I use solder...)

    I would also say that the preferable fix is to put appropriate ends on each peice, it is probably safer, and certainly less embarrasing - If you put ends on it then you can claim it was deliberate, but a splice screams "I'm a clumsy person that chopped it... " :red:

    Gooserider
    (who has some spliced cords :red: )
  25. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Thanks everyone. I used a staggered Western Union splice, some solder, electrical tape on the connections, splicing tape (Tommy tape?) on the outside. Yeah, it screams "klutz", as long as it's tight and flows enough electrons, I don't care.

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