How to Repair a Plug End
When I call my brother in law up and tell him I'm having trouble with my computer, he usually walks me through a few seemingly simple steps and voila, everything if fine. On the surface the interaction looks innocent enough, but the entire time I'm sweating bullets and doing my darnedest to us actual computer terms and tech lingo while pretending to understand everything he is telling me. Yes, I know enough to get by and I usually convince him of that but the fact is that he takes a lot for granted in these conversations.
Just the Same, I often find myself taking for granted something that I have done a hundred times and could probably do in my sleep but that most people have never tried to do even once. In construction, we find our cords getting damaged all the time. Several times a year I will have to replace cord ends on extension cords and power tools and it's just kind of second nature. Recently I was told that this is not as easy as I make it sound and that a little explanation would go a long way for those who haven't had as much practice at this art. So here it is, a step by step explanation of how to replace a cord end.
1. Buy: Find a good sturdy replacement end at your local hardware store. Make sure it is large enough to accept the wire through the back hole but that it will hold it tight. You are usually better to err on the larger side since you can’t cram wires in a space that was not designed for them. Also make sure the plug is rated for the work you are doing. The plug shown below is a 15 amp plug. Most extension cords and power tools will be 15 amps.
2. Cut: Cut off the cord end. Don’t dilly dally wondering if you are doing this right, just put the wire cutters below the damaged plug and cut. You’ll feel a lot better once you do.
3. Slide: Slide the cut wire through the back of the new plug end. You may have to loosen a few screws to take apart the plug before doing this. The cord would be snug with little to no gapping at the base. You don’t want a loose screw or nail to be able to fit in and touch a wire.
4. Strip: Strip about 1 to 1-1/2 inches of sheathing from the exterior of the cord. This is most easily done by using a knife to LIGHTLY score the sheathing and then bend the wire until a crack forms and the rubber slides off. Then Strip about ¼” of rubber off the end of each wire, exposing the bare copper.
5. Wire: Attach each wire to its designated screw. Black/Hot goes to the Brass Screw. White/Common goes to the Silver Screw. Green/Ground goes to the Green Screw. There may or may not be other markings on the device to lead you in this. Make sure each wire is in-between the compression plates, not directly on the screw, then tighten until a very firm connection is made.
6. Close: Slide the base cover over the wire and onto the plug side, making sure to fold the wires in gently and not kink or bend any of them. If it appears that you have too much or too little wire showing, you are best off to take the plug back apart and re-cut and re-strip the wires. This end will most likely be on your tool for another 10 years so don’t rush it and get it wrong. Tighten the screws from the top to secure the pieces together. You may also have screws at the bottom that act to pinch the cord in place. Tighten these until snug.
What is a skill you've taken for granted that others could benefit from?