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Thread: A simple Question

  1. #1
    Retired tool & Die and Mechanic Giles's Avatar
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    Default A simple Question

    When working with simple 110v cords, such as lamp cord, where there is only two wires, I know that the small spade is the hot.
    Some of these cords have an identifying "rib" molded into the outer covering. I have always thought the "rib" was to identify the "hot", however I have recently found that it is "neutral" on the last few I have dealt with.
    Is there a standard rule?
    I told you it was a simple question

  2. #2
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    I would never trust any cord manufacturer to follow a rule even if one existed. I always verify by putting a meter on it and I verify wall jacks as well.

    That reminds me... I need to buy another outlet tester... mine grew legs again.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=outlet+tester

  3. #3
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    The "identified conductor" is always the NEUTRAL.

  4. #4
    Retired tool & Die and Mechanic Giles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLigetfa View Post
    I would never trust any cord manufacturer to follow a rule even if one existed. I always verify by putting a meter on it and I verify wall jacks as well.

    That reminds me... I need to buy another outlet tester... mine grew legs again.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=outlet+tester
    I always do the same--even when I turnoff breaker I always check.

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member ianrtech's Avatar
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    this i have not dealt with lately but it used to be one way the in the 90's they changed it to the other. use your meter does that help

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Many cords are oriented so the neutral wire lines up with the polarized prong, thus you can determine whether the ribbed wire goes to it or not.

  7. #7
    Retired tool & Die and Mechanic Giles's Avatar
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    That"s what I am thinking--On this same subject, a few years ago, I purchased a "Westinghouse" swag light cord and ,of course, it was Made in Communist China. The hookup instructions stated it didn't matter how the wires were connected. I knew IT DID!! So I eMailed the company and voiced my complaint. They responded with a thank you and said I was absolutely correct and it would be corrected.
    I wonder how many are connected wrong and if the company actually addressed the issue??
    Quote Originally Posted by ianrtech View Post
    this i have not dealt with lately but it used to be one way the in the 90's they changed it to the other. use your meter does that help

  8. #8
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giles View Post
    That"s what I am thinking--On this same subject, a few years ago, I purchased a "Westinghouse" swag light cord and ,of course, it was Made in Communist China. The hookup instructions stated it didn't matter how the wires were connected. I knew IT DID!! So I eMailed the company and voiced my complaint. They responded with a thank you and said I was absolutely correct and it would be corrected.
    I wonder how many are connected wrong and if the company actually addressed the issue??
    Ja, I've seen many DIY segments on wiring a lamp cord where they either fail to mention which side of a lamp base the neutral must go to or claim it doesn't matter. I can just imagine someone trying to change a bulb with the neutral switched and the hot wired to the threaded side of the base! I could see some people do it by braille, guiding the bulb into the base with one hand while standing bare-footed on a damp concrete floor.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    There are still a huge amount of older lamps way before polarized plugs were available...then, it truly didn't matter (well, it did, but I doubt anyone used a meter to determine which side was neutral).
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  10. #10
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    There are still a huge amount of older lamps way before polarized plugs were available...then, it truly didn't matter (well, it did, but I doubt anyone used a meter to determine which side was neutral).
    When I was a young boy, my parents had a metal clip-on lamp on their metal headboard. I didn't need a meter to determine what side was neutral as I'd get shocks touching the footboard while bare foot on the tiled basement floor. Reversing the plug solved it but isolating the neutral would have been the right thing to do.

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