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Thread: Stringing together multiple extension cords

  1. #1
    DIY Member teve's Avatar
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    Default Stringing together multiple extension cords

    Are there any electrical issues with stringing together multiple outdoor extension cords, (for a 12 Amp leaf blower), as long as they are all at least 12 Amp cords?

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Multiple short ones are the same a single long one, but unless you get ridiculous on the number of ones connected together and their connections are ALL tight, there is no prohibition.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    If they are the cheap injection molded ends, expect them to be high resistance and heat up. Most every extension cord I have has had at least the female end replaced with a higher quality end.

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    How much is too much depends on the quality of the cords and their connections.
    If the voltage drop from the length of the cord becomes too great it will damage the motor. If the connections are not very good, the plugs will overheat and burn.
    How much is too much depends on the quality of the cords and their connections.

    If this is something you will be using on a regular basis, it would be much better to have a branch circuit with outlets installed out on the property so you don't have to use great lengths of cord.

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    DIY Member teve's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. (One more question below.)

    I have 50' and 80' 15 amp cords (and another 50' 13 amp cord I probably would not need to use), mainly for a 12 amp leaf blower/vac on a smaller size yard with one tree. I want to cover the front and back yard using one outlet. It sounds like I should have no problem. It seems I just need to make sure the plugs don't get warm and I assume 180' with three cords is far from being ridiculous.

    My leaf blower has variable speed which I am guessing is controlled by the voltage applied to the motor. If there were a significant voltage drop due to excessive length or high resistance connections would that still be an issue for the motor?

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    IMO, trying to do anything with 180 feet of extension cord is ridiculous.

    Save yourself a lot of trouble and get a gas powered blower.

  7. #7
    DIY Member teve's Avatar
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    I would very likely not ever use 180 feet for anything. It was more of a hypothetical comment and question. I'll probably just stick to using the 80' cord only. For my size lawn and only one tree, and a couple bushes at the edge of the yard, the electric blower seems to work out very well.

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    use the link below to see what you are doing with a long drop cord. You will need to know the size of the conductor not how many amps the cord will carry.

    http://www.electrician2.com/calculat...r_initial.html

    The speed of the motor is not controlled by limiting the voltage to the motor
    Last edited by Terry; 09-26-2011 at 03:13 PM.

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    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Seems to me if its a brush motor, and likely is, more cords will just give him a hair dryer.

    I have had many an argument with electricians wiring to submersible pump motors made by Franklin. Franklin actually designs its motors to start on reduced voltage and encourages it because it reduces stress on the impeller shaft. Mimics a soft start unit of great expense.

    Take a look at Franklins wiring chart and how economical it is vs. the NEC. Point being: the link wire chart does not apply to certain motors and installations.

    http://www.franklin-electric.com/aim...l/page-11.aspx
    Last edited by ballvalve; 09-25-2011 at 02:33 PM.

  10. #10
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ballvalve View Post
    have had many an argument with electricians wiring to submersible pump motors made by Franklin. Take a look at Franklins wiring chart and how economical it is vs. the NEC.
    The point being; if it doesn't meet the NEC then it won't pass inspection no matter what Franklin publishes

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    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    That means about 10 million wells in the USA need the wire changed. Ask any well driller. And Inspectors dont get involved with whats going down a well 99.99% of the time.

    The manufacturer deems the installation safe for the specialized motor and its a rare inspector that does not defer to the Mfgr's specs.

    Maybe the NEC bible needs an update for well motors. Save the poor consumers billions in useless copper.

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Here in good old North Carolina a well driller cannot install the wires to the pump unless he holds an electrical license. The electrical inspector will always look at the conductors that exit the well cap for the size of the conductor.

    Any manufacture can mandate conductors larger than that called for by the NEC but no manufacturer can ask for anything to be installed smaller than what is mandated by the NEC.

    90.1 (B) Adequacy. This Code contains provisions that are considered necessary for safety. Compliance therewith and proper maintenance results in an installation that is essentially free from hazard but not necessarily efficient, convenient, or adequate for good service or future expansion of electrical use.
    As one can see the code is a bare minimum safety standard and anything less is not safe.

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    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    That must be why so many of us moved to California.

    And when you have a dedicated line to a motor designed to SAFELY run on, say 600' of #10 cable and the NEC wants # 6 or 4, you have a serious malfunction between entities. And I bet it means a lot of people neglect to call for a permit. And its a sad waste of a precious commodity that a lot of people cannot afford in our depression.

    Starting a 3" submersible pump motor has no relationship to a split phase basic utility motor. Perhaps the NEC should address that.

    Sort of like the 100 year old barns in the area with 2x4 rafters that now require 2x12's. I know asking you to question authority is a real uphill run, but much of it has run amok.

  14. #14
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ballvalve View Post
    That must be why so many of us moved to California.

    And when you have a dedicated line to a motor designed to SAFELY run on, say 600' of #10 cable and the NEC wants # 6 or 4, you have a serious malfunction between entities. And I bet it means a lot of people neglect to call for a permit. And its a sad waste of a precious commodity that a lot of people cannot afford in our depression.

    Starting a 3" submersible pump motor has no relationship to a split phase basic utility motor. Perhaps the NEC should address that.

    Sort of like the 100 year old barns in the area with 2x4 rafters that now require 2x12's. I know asking you to question authority is a real uphill run, but much of it has run amok.
    As you pointed out the pump can safely operate on 600 feet of #10 then why would the NEC not allow it?

    Around my area we are talking about 3 to 4 hundred feet from house to pump and in most cases it will be #12.

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    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    As you pointed out the pump can safely operate on 600 feet of #10 then why would the NEC not allow it?
    Excellent question for you. I get enough loaded questions from my employees. Ostrich effect? No chapter for dedicated lines to submersible pumps? Not interested in specially wound dedicated purpose motors? Copper lobby bought the NEC boss a golf trip to Bermuda?

    We cannot say that its an issue of the next guy coming in and putting in a split phase motor, or a 3 HP motor, because a man with a 3500 watt wall heater and a NEC approved wire run to it can just as easily come in and install a 5500w or greater replacement heater. In all cases an ELECTRICIAN or preferably for the well, a pump man would re-evaluate the wiring for the new load.

    The smallest paragraph in the NEC bible referring installers to the pump motor MFGRS. specs might save millions of tons of copper a year. Seems a worthy cause.

    Around my area we are talking about 3 to 4 hundred feet from house to pump and in most cases it will be #12.
    Recently caught a guy in the pump forum with the same situation that forgot to add in the 400 feet down the hole. Got a nice thank you from him.
    Last edited by ballvalve; 09-28-2011 at 11:42 AM.

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