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How to Wire 230V Extension Cords

2013-03-15   Views:15

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Wiring your own 230-volt extension cord helps you create a cord suited to your own needs. You decide on the length and type of cord to suit the environment in which you work. You also have control over the gauge of wire used, matching the output powe

How to Wire 230V Extension Cords

Wiring your own 230-volt extension cord helps you create a cord suited to your own needs. You decide on the length and type of cord to suit the environment in which you work. You also have control over the gauge of wire used, matching the output power of your generator to the thickness of the cord. This improves the safety of your cord by reducing trip and overheating risks. Wiring a 230-volt extension cord requires a basic understanding of the types of cords and plugs available, and the use of two readily available tools.

Skill level:Moderately Easy

Things you need

Cord rated at 230 volts230-volt male and female plugsUtility knifeElectrician's screwdriverDigital multimeter or continuity meter

Instructions

1 Review the conditions under which you intend to use the cord. Establish the length, maximum current it will carry, and the types of plugs needed to connect it to the receptacle and your appliances. The National Electrical Code states that all extension cords must have polarised wiring. Refer to your local and/or national regulations, or check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission safety suggestions for extension cords.

2 Purchase, the right type of cord for your circumstances. For example: A 16-gauge cord is safe to use for loads up to 10 amps over a cord no longer than 100 feet. A 14-gauge cord is safe to use for loads up to 15 amps over a cord no longer than 50 feet. A 12-gauge cord is safe to use for loads up to 15 amps over a cord no longer than 100 feet, and will safely power most domestic tools.

3 Disassemble the new female and male plugs. With each plug, take the half containing the cord hole and pass sufficient cord through it so you can work on the cord comfortably, without the housing getting in your way.

4 Remove approximately 2 inches of the outer insulating sleeve at each end of the cord. Cut carefully to avoid damaging the insulation on the internal wires. Cut each of the wires to the length required to reach the plug terminals. Strip the insulation from the last 1/4 inch of each wire to expose the metal core. If you are using braided wire, twist the small filaments together to stiffen the end of each wire.

5 Attach the bare wires to the correct terminals. The white "neutral" wire goes to the silver-coloured terminal. The black "hot" wire connects to the brass terminal, and the grounding wire--which may be bare or covered in green insulation--connects to the GND, or green terminal. Tighten each terminal screw, check that the wires are firmly attached, then trim away any excess wire protruding beyond the terminals.

6 Check that the wires are not kinked, trapped or under strain, then fasten the cord clamp over the cord. Ensure that the clamp rests on an insulated section of cord, not the exposed inner wires.

7 Test the cable to ensure that all the connections are correct. Using a continuity meter, or a digital multimeter to measure continuity, attach the probes to the "hot" terminals in the male and female plugs. A "beep" or a zero reading on the scale indicates a correctly polarised connection. Repeat between the two neutral terminals, then the two grounding terminals. If you see a high reading or hear no beeping, double-check the polarity of your cord connections. When all three tests confirm that the wires are connected correctly, reassemble the plug covers. Your extension cord is ready for use.

Tips and warnings

If you already own a commercially manufactured 230-volt extension cord, disassemble the plugs, observe the wiring layout and copy the layout for your new cord.

Build your cord to a higher specification than you anticipate. Having extra capacity built in helps to avoid overloading in the future.

Electricity can cause fires, injury and death. If in doubt, do not embark upon "do-it-yourself" electrical projects. Consult a qualified electrician or purchase a ready-made extension cord.

Keep an extension cord to the minimum necessary length. Excessively long cords heat up more quickly, are more prone to damage and create a greater "trip and fall" hazard in the workshop.

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