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Old 10-17-2009, 11:27 AM   #1
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Extension Cords Types


I bought an electric trimmer recently which necessitated the purchase of an extension cord. I then bought a 100 foot medium duty cord and noticed that the trimmer would often loose power. After this, I bought a 100 foot heavy duty cord and observed that it would loose power less often.

Is there anything to this phenomena? Is there a difference between these two extension cords? Or is my theory unfounded?

Thank you.

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Old 10-17-2009, 11:29 AM   #2
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Extension Cords Types


The longer the extension cord the more voltage drop you have
Too much & the tool/item won't run
Heavier wire will reduce voltage drop

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Old 10-17-2009, 11:45 AM   #3
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Look at both cords and see what the AWG wire size is for each. Just because it says heavy duty, does not mean it has larger wire. Check the wire size. I consider #12 heavy duty. What do you have?

Ps.....It will be marked on the cord itself.
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Old 10-17-2009, 11:51 AM   #4
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Extension Cords Types


Quote:
Originally Posted by alnoir View Post
I bought an electric trimmer recently which necessitated the purchase of an extension cord. I then bought a 100 foot medium duty cord and noticed that the trimmer would often loose power. After this, I bought a 100 foot heavy duty cord and observed that it would loose power less often.

Is there anything to this phenomena? Is there a difference between these two extension cords? Or is my theory unfounded?

Thank you.
Your owner's manual probably lists acceptable cords and sizes, depending on rated current draw. If not, it's on the Internet, e.g.,
http://www.newwoodworker.com/ref/xtntincrds.html

Last edited by Yoyizit; 10-17-2009 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 10-17-2009, 12:12 PM   #5
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Extension Cords Types


Wow! Quick response.

I looked at both cords and noticed that the 'heavy duty' wire is noticeably wider than the 'medium duty' wire. Although I didn't see any markings on the cord itself, the 'heavy duty' did have a sticker that said it was 13A and 125V. The 'medium duty' wire had a sticker that said it was 10A and 125V.

Would this be enough to make a noticeable difference in voltage drop? Which one should I keep for the electric trimmer?

I've never done any of this before so thank you!
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Old 10-17-2009, 02:14 PM   #6
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Neither cord is heavy duty in my opinion. How long are they, and do you connect them together? Distance is your problem and the only way to overcome distance is by increasing wire size.
If you do use them together, plug the biggest one in to the receptacle and the smaller one to the tool.
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Old 10-17-2009, 08:50 PM   #7
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Extension Cords Types


On the extendison cord the word " meduim " or " hevey " duty that go out of the window for myself the key issue is you have to find the AWG or mm˛ marking on the cord

How much do that trimmer power usage { amps } normally with 100 foot you should use at least 14 AWG { 2.5mm˛} or larger look for numbers not the words they will be inprint every few feet or so on the cord itself.

Merci.

Marc
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Old 10-17-2009, 09:02 PM   #8
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Extension Cords Types


Did you try the tool directly into an outlet? I can't see voltage drop making it completely stop randomly.

But yeah, try to get 14 or 12awg wire. The "heavy duty" part simply means it has more insulation to protect it better against being dragged on pavement, etc.
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:07 PM   #9
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Extension Cords Types


Quote:
Originally Posted by alnoir View Post
I bought an electric trimmer recently which necessitated the purchase of an extension cord. I then bought a 100 foot medium duty cord and noticed that the trimmer would often loose power. After this, I bought a 100 foot heavy duty cord and observed that it would loose power less often.
I've never had a problem with an electric trimmer losing power when connected to a good receptacle and a good 100ft 14AWG cord. As a kid, I used a 100ft and a 50ft together without any problems.

Most have less than 5 Amp draw, not many have more than that

I suspect your 100ft extension cord is plugged into a receptacle that itself has a long distance to your main or sub panel, or is otherwise contributing greatly to your voltage drop.
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Old 10-17-2009, 11:27 PM   #10
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Extension Cords Types


Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
On the extendison cord the word " meduim " or " hevey " duty that go out of the window for myself the key issue is you have to find the AWG or mm˛ marking on the cord

How much do that trimmer power usage { amps } normally with 100 foot you should use at least 14 AWG { 2.5mm˛} or larger look for numbers not the words they will be inprint every few feet or so on the cord itself.

Merci.

Marc
My suspicion (with the OP's problem) is that it's not Voltage drop, but rather quality of product. Further proof, is the fact that nothing was printed (every few feet) on the cord, as it should be. Because the OP claimed that the appliance in question stopped (intermittently) working altogether, whereas appliances affected by voltage drop only show poor performance rather than stop working altogether. (No matter what)Don't Drink and Drive, Ever!!!
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Old 10-18-2009, 11:37 AM   #11
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Extension Cords Types


As said the size of the wire inside the cord is what is important!

And this is a big "rip-off" area in my opinion. They will sell extension cords and things like speaker wire which are BIG on the outside, yet has very small size wire on the inside.

It is just mostly plastic and insulation added to make the wire look larger. Deceptive!

So look at the label in the store. It will say ga. for the wire size. Like 16 ga. or 14 ga. or 12 ga.

And it may not say on the wire itself or may not say on the package label. If it does not say, don't buy it!

Also search google.com for the words...

voltage drop calculator

Use 1 phase or single phase when using these calculators.
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Old 10-18-2009, 03:51 PM   #12
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So the medium duty wire is a 16-gauge/10-amp and the heavy duty wire is a 14-gauge/13-amp. I had to look at the original packaging to find the numbers (thanks billy). After, it took me a little to find the numbers imprinted into the wire (thanks french) as I was originally looking for black text. Both cords are 100-ft and I don't connect them together (I have the two to compare them).

Unfortunately I was unable to find the manual for the trimmer as I bought it used. However, it seems everyone thinks a 14-gauge is the minimum for this type of equipment. Should I use a heavier gauge? Do you think there could still be a voltage drop problem? Or could it be normal for the trimmer to get bogged-down at-times somehow?

Thank you everyone!
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Old 10-18-2009, 04:09 PM   #13
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3.5 to 5.0 A is a reasonable range of current draw for a hedge trimmer.
http://www.google.com/search?client=...UTF-8&oe=UTF-8
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Old 10-19-2009, 11:24 AM   #14
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Have you tried the trimmer right at the receptacle like someone recommended? If it has the same symptoms close to the receptacle it is not the extension cord, or the distance.

#12 In my opinion is heavy duty. #14 would be medium and #16 would be light duty.
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Old 10-19-2009, 05:39 PM   #15
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Extension Cords Types


I found that the grass trimmer is 4.0 amps, 120 volts, and 60 hz. It runs fine by itself when it's close to the receptacle as well as far away from it. It only seems to be a problem when I'm using it to trim grass. It'll work fine sometimes when I'm trimming and other times it'll stop running (like it's loosing power). When this happens I have to let go of the trigger, wait a second, and then pull the trigger again (most of the time it starts right away).

I found a chart on the extension cord box that says the 16-gauge could handle up to 10 amps and a 14-gauge could handle up to 13 amps. Does this mean that there's no chance of voltage drop (considering it's a 4.0 amp trimmer)?

Thank you everyone for your help.

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