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Old 02-14-2012, 05:59 AM   #1
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Extension cord question


I just replaced the male end of an extension cord. Inside the cord, only the ground (green) wire was colored, the other two were both white. Is there a way to test it to make sure i got the hot wire and the neutral wire correct without damaging anything?

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Old 02-14-2012, 06:29 AM   #2
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Extension cord question


A multimeter with a continuity function could ring out the conductors.

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Old 02-14-2012, 09:55 AM   #3
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Extension cord question


There are also outlet testers that tell if an outlet is wired correctly. You could plug one of these into the female end of the cord.
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Old 02-14-2012, 12:36 PM   #4
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Extension cord question


Or if you have a properly wired grounded outlet and any table lamp, you've got a continuity checker.
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:14 PM   #5
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Extension cord question


Plugging a lamp into the cord would not show if it was wired correctly. The lamp will work the same even if the wires are crossed on the terminals. The difference would be the shell would be hot instead of the tab in the bottom of the socket. The chance of shock from contact with the hot shell would be increased.
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Old 02-14-2012, 08:25 PM   #6
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Extension cord question


I'll assume it's a flat cord with a green ground wire. One side of the cord will be ribbed, the other not. The ribbed side is your neutral.
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:03 AM   #7
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Extension cord question


I guess I should have explained.

While taking appropriate precautions use a lamp with clip leads on the plug to find out which of the two outlet slots show voltage with respect to the ground hole. Call it H.

At the source end of the cord put the green wire into the outlet ground hole and either white wire into the H slot.

At the destination end of the cord put one lamp lead onto the green wire and test which white wire lights the bulb. That's your H wire.

With multiconductor cables this can get pretty tedious but with the OP's cable the test is trivial.

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Old 02-16-2012, 07:59 AM   #8
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Extension cord question


Do you have the end of the original cord that you cut off? You could plug that in and carefully test it. Also, if you can get the orientation of the cord right (ground down), the hot will be on the right.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:14 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by matt151617 View Post
Do you have the end of the original cord that you cut off? You could plug that in and carefully test it. Also, if you can get the orientation of the cord right (ground down), the hot will be on the right.
Facing which direction?
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:31 AM   #10
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Facing which direction?
Facing the outlet, smaller slot is hot.
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:45 AM   #11
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Extension cord question


Take a guess and put it together. Plug in one of the three light testers. If it reads hot & neutral reversed then take apart and change it. Test the wall socket first to make sure it is wired correctly.

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