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Old 03-28-2010, 11:59 AM   #1
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Positive vs negative wires in power cable


I am replacing a power cable on a small appliance. The old cable is all black with one side ribbed and the other side smooth and no white line running down the length at all. Which side corresponds to white and which to black? In a simple circuit such as this I believe it doesn't really matter, but I'd rather be safe by doing it right the first time and not just trying it by plugging it in to see if something shorts out or starts smoking.

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Old 03-28-2010, 12:19 PM   #2
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Positive vs negative wires in power cable


Heavy D, It depends on the appliance. Some are sensitive to the hot and neutral being switched, but on most home stuff it doesn't matter. I'm assuming there is no ground prong involved? Are you connecting the new cord at the terminals of the appliance or just splicing on a new piece?

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Old 03-28-2010, 12:34 PM   #3
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Positive vs negative wires in power cable


There is a rule or convention for ribbed versus smooth but I don;t know what it is!

Ergo you will find numerous times when it is backwards. Particularly if someone was assembling all three separate components -- plug, cord, rest of appliance.

The smaller of the two plug prongs is the hot (i'll let you get away with saying positive) and that should go to the on-off switch of the appliance. The neutral should go to the socket shells and the hot to the socket bottom contact if light bulbs are involved.
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Old 03-28-2010, 12:52 PM   #4
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Positive vs negative wires in power cable


The ribbed conductor in a zip cord is the Neutral

The smooth conductor is the Hot.



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Old 03-28-2010, 01:07 PM   #5
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Positive vs negative wires in power cable


My puppy chewed through the power cord of my paper shredder. (It was unplugged at the time.)

The power cord I want to repair it with is from a failed hand-held vaccum cleaner. the vaccum was barely used and I think the power switch went bad. Of course, it might have failed from a bad power cord but I doubt it. I should use a continuity tester to confirm the condition of the replacement cord but I don't have one so I am hoping that this is a simple enough repair that I don't really need one.

The replacement cord is round with a black wire, white wire and a phased prong and is the same gauge as the original. There is no third wire involved.

Does it matter if the ribbed side is connected to the white or the black wire?

Thanks
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Old 03-28-2010, 01:15 PM   #6
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Positive vs negative wires in power cable


Quote:
Originally Posted by HeavyD View Post
...........Does it matter if the ribbed side is connected to the white or the black wire?...
Good news on the puppy

ribbed goes to white
smooth goes to black
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Old 03-28-2010, 01:57 PM   #7
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Positive vs negative wires in power cable


As stated elsewhere in this thread, the ribbed conductor is the neutral, and connects to the white.

It should also be stated that this is not an issue of positive vs negative, since we are dealing with alternating current.

By definition, alternating current -- AC as it is commonly referred to -- changes from positive to negative and back again 60 times every second. Or in the case of other countries and systems -- 50 times per second. This action is known as cycles per second, or Hertz.
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Old 03-28-2010, 02:07 PM   #8
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Positive vs negative wires in power cable


The puppy has moved on to chewing belts and straps on flip-flops.

I have used the terms positive and negative but that seems to be incorrect. I should be saying hot and what? Which is which?

Thank you for the direct answer on ribbed ande smooth. Works for me.
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Old 03-28-2010, 09:07 PM   #9
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Positive vs negative wires in power cable


the ribbed conductor is the neutral and the smooth conductor is the hot. the reason is, the ribbed conductor is connected to the neutral prong of a rec.,the ribbed side of the cord is connected to the screw shell of a light so when you unscrew the light bulb, the bulb is no longer hot as soon as you are no longer touching the tongue at the bottom of the screw shell and many appliances have electronic circuit boards in them that are polarized (current needs to be moving in a certain direction)

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Old 03-28-2010, 09:28 PM   #10
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Positive vs negative wires in power cable


Appliance or lamp cord has one conductor "identified" by ribs or white lines to indicate it is the grounded conductor.This is commonly called the neutral wire.
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Old 03-28-2010, 11:24 PM   #11
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Positive vs negative wires in power cable


Wow!

I've taken quite a vacation from this site and I'm glad to see that the questions haven't changed, LOL!

Jimmy
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Old 03-28-2010, 11:26 PM   #12
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Positive vs negative wires in power cable


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By definition, alternating current -- AC as it is commonly referred to -- changes from positive to negative and back again 60 times every second. Or in the case of other countries and systems -- 50 times per second. This action is known as cycles per second, or Hertz.
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Old 03-29-2010, 01:27 AM   #13
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Positive vs negative wires in power cable


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Wow!

I've taken quite a vacation from this site and I'm glad to see that the questions haven't changed, LOL!

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Accueil BigJimmy { it say Welcome back BigJimmy }

Ya been busy ?

sorry for getting off topic

But for North Americians cords the ribbed side is always netural or white one of the two and also if you see the stamp or marking if on one side that is on netrual { that useally show up on zip cords }

For European cords the netural side it will be on ribbed side and also marking on one side and for colour code it will be either Bleu { modern code } or black { old code } that for only netural conductor only.

{ the line side for European cords will be either Brown { new code } or Red { old code } }

Merci,Marc
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Old 03-30-2010, 12:45 PM   #14
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Positive vs negative wires in power cable


A shout out to Big Jimmy. Good to see you back. Hang around a little bit.
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Old 05-31-2010, 02:56 PM   #15
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Positive vs negative wires in power cable


Quote:
Originally Posted by PaliBob View Post
The ribbed conductor in a zip cord is the Neutral

The smooth conductor is the Hot.


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Wanted to thank you for your information as it helped me a great deal when splicing a piece of grounded outdoor extension cord to my old refrigerator when the plug went bad.

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