Extenion cord rated to 10 amps, AC draws 9.5 Amps...

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Extenion cord rated to 10 amps, AC draws 9.5 Amps...

Postby Talynt » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:36 pm

Just realized that the AC I plan to hook up to our generator might overload the extension cord I bought for it. Its a 100ft 10 amp outdoor extension cord, but i was concerned that the heat might degrade its ability to pull that much current. any ideas?
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Postby Lassen Forge » Mon Aug 16, 2010 8:51 pm

Get a commercial cord. You're gonna start a fire running that AC on a lamp cord.

At 100 feet?? Your burn will be early this year.

For a 100 foot run, get at least a 12 ga cord. It'll be big and round and industrial and it will carry the cap of your AC no problemmo. Lowes/HomeoDepoeo/OSH(it) has them. Have money.

If you do 2 50's (more common) get a roll of electric tape, and tape the connecting plugs togehter - AFTER you've tied a simple overhand knot in the cords.

Best is if you can get your power closer than 100 feet... but still, for AC duty, damn, I wouldn't go less than 12... that AC will draw the amps when the compressor kicks in.

Upside is that 12 ga cord will last a lifetime!

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Postby gyre » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:29 pm

Yeah, what gauge?

110V?
Best to go 10 gauge if you can, but 12 is the minimum cord to buy for almost anything.

HF cords work okay, but have bad plugs.
Best to change these, but not mandatory.
Use the shortest cord possible.
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Re: Extenion cord rated to 10 amps, AC draws 9.5 Amps...

Postby gyre » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:35 pm

Talynt wrote:Just realized that the AC I plan to hook up to our generator might overload the extension cord I bought for it. Its a 100ft 10 amp outdoor extension cord, but i was concerned that the heat might degrade its ability to pull that much current. any ideas?

Heat doesn't actually degrade the operation of the cord, just push it closer to any temperature limit.
You can overload a wire to an amazing degree in cold weather, especially when it's free air.
Hot spots are usually at or near the connections.
Many older ac units can be fixed by cutting off the damaged area near the end and replacing the plug.
Feel for heat.
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Postby Token » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:37 pm

Oh, thats easy. Just apply electrical silicone lube to both ends and you are golden.


Well


No


Not really. In the trade we have a saying that is appropriate right now:

You be fucked.


Go and return the cable you purchased and get a much more expesive one that can handle the load with at least 50% more headroom.
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Postby gyre » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:47 pm

The big issue isn't overheating the wire as much as keeping the voltage up at the ac, so it won't overheat.
After all, what's another fire on the playa anyway?

All of you guys should note that some of the newer acs are radically more efficient, and can actually run on lower wattage.
This is a big advantage when you're running portable or off grid.

The gain is so high that I'm looking at one just to lower the bill.
May be cheaper than keeping the one I have.
They are actually pulling out 13 seer units to put in new ones now, so at least moving up to a 13 may be cheap.
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Postby Token » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:54 pm

13 seer is so two years ago. Shoot for 16 seer. New tech is hitting that number now days.
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Postby gyre » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:03 pm

I'm hearing 18 and 20, though I always take manufacturer's ratings with salt.

I've had good results running larger units under low loads, but always looking to do better.
AC isn't a luxury here.
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Postby Token » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:10 pm

Once everyone goes to 18 and 20, you hope they actually figured out the 16.

The key is multi-speed motors and pumps.

Once 16 is verified, I'm in.

Getting close.
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Postby gyre » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:37 pm

Variable pressure refrigerant is a big part of that, and could be done with older units.
The newer tiny rotary compressors have a shorter lifespan though.
Have to weigh that too.
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Postby thesandman » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:39 pm

this looks like what Talynt is looking for 10ga 100ft safer to have one cord then 2 50ft cords or 4 25ft cords then their that safety 3rd rule



http://www.lowes.com/pd_67702-66906-UTP711935_0_?productId=3191731&Ntt=extension+cord&Ntk=i_products&pl=1&currentURL=/pl__0__s?Ntk=i_products$rpp=30$No=30$Ntt=extension%20cord$identifier=
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Postby gyre » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:46 pm

Some of the best cords for the money are the RV cords, usually UV resistant.
Hard to find in longer lengths though.
Often the larger ones are twistlock or high amp plug styles and need an adapter, also available.
Even walmart RV departments often have the good stuff, usa made.
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Postby Stickygreen » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:08 am

hey what do you electrical guys feel about made in china extension cords?

I've bought lot's of stuff from this place, as I work in the AV industry, it's not really great quality, but sure is cheap.

your opinion on this extension cord please?
http://www.monoprice.com/products/produ ... 1&format=2
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Postby CapSmashy » Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:30 am

Stickygreen wrote:hey what do you electrical guys feel about made in china extension cords?

I've bought lot's of stuff from this place, as I work in the AV industry, it's not really great quality, but sure is cheap.

your opinion on this extension cord please?
http://www.monoprice.com/products/produ ... 1&format=2


As long as the plugs are rated for the load and the wiring inside is as listed, you should be good to go.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:06 am

OK here's a little real-word Burning Man info for you. In '01 I was at the BRC Post Office, and ran A/C through some long 12-gauge extension cord. The ends got so hot they DID melt down.
I went to Home Despot and got a 100-foot, 10 gauge cord, for about $100 (yikes... but you NEED it) and haven't had any issues since.

Get 10-gauge cord. Forget the "amp rating", look at the wire gauge size. Get 10 gauge. It's expensive and a little hard to find, department stores wont have it, but if you wanna run that much electricity through that much cord, that's what you need.
Something like what Stickygreen linked is perfect.
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Postby ygmir » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:29 am

yeah, I'm with the Cap'n...........I use 10 ga. for most tools or equipment.
12 ga. will work, for light (under 1 h.p. ) loads.
the heavier the better.
also, the more stranded the wire is, the better current flow and capacity, as well as flexibility.
Do not use single strand, "Romex" for anything like that, unless it's a "one time" use and won't be moved.
The single strand copper within can breake with a small amount of repeated flexing.

Good heavy ends, too.
That's where resistance, read heat, usually is worse, and first, to appear.

Also watch for "copper coated" steel or aluminum wire. I've seen that in cheap cords.........
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Postby Elliot » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:47 am

There seems to be a phenomenon afoot in the multi-strand electrical cord industry in recent years. I never saw this until a handful of years ago: interruptions in the strands inside the cords.

I had a CB radio with an intermittent problem. Took me a long time to track it to the microphone cord itself, and then I sliced the whole cord open. Wow. There was a gap with two strands just barely making contact, intermittently. This CB radio was one of a lot marked "factory re-conditioned". I have a hunch that meant they were aware of an unidentified problem but didn't have the balls to throw them all out. In more honest times, these pieces might have been called "factory seconds". Radio unit itself made in Malaysia, but microphone made in China.

Just last year I was using a very hefty outdoor contractor type extension cord to run a drill while building my barn. Suddenly sparks shot out of the cord, a few feet from one end, and the drill stopped. The cord looked like it had a bullet exit wound. Same problem, apparently -- the strands of copper simply were not there. This was a cheap Chinese cord purchased at one of those traveling tool sales. Looked fabulous; crap inside.

So when it comes to extension cords, I urge you to seek out quality, and be willing to pay for it.

This seems to be the second thing the Chinese absolutely cannot make properly -- the other being ball bearings. :x
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will this one work?

Postby Talynt » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:01 pm

will this one work?

http://www.amazon.com/US-Wire-65100-100 ... 30&sr=1-99

it's half the cost and free prime shipping
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Re: will this one work?

Postby Captain Goddammit » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:26 pm

Talynt wrote:will this one work?

http://www.amazon.com/US-Wire-65100-100 ... 30&sr=1-99

it's half the cost and free prime shipping


How many people just told you you need a 10-gauge cord?
OK, use a 12 gauge, what do I care. It's your camp! I tried to tell ya...
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Postby Lassen Forge » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:07 pm

For the money, go to home despot, buy the cord ends and some 10/3 rubber cord. Won't be cheap, but as long as you wire it right it will be good. For you AND your kids, until the rubber rots off.
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Postby gyre » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:17 pm

Bay Bridge Sue wrote:For the money, go to home despot, buy the cord ends and some 10/3 rubber cord. Won't be cheap, but as long as you wire it right it will be good. For you AND your kids, until the rubber rots off.

The depots around here jacked up their prices for copper and never lowered them, so no point buying less than a roll.
The rubber stuff is built for physical abuse, but not UV.
If you use special cord, I recommend the ultra flexible stuff that acts like silicone in freezing weather.
You can also buy complete cords up to a size.
Best source is electrical supply houses.
Prices vary a lot.
I found cord up to about 6" diameter, though most of us won't need that.
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Postby gyre » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:40 pm

ygmir wrote:also, the more stranded the wire is, the better current flow and capacity, as well as flexibility.

This only applies at much higher frequencies than 60 cycles.
And I'm not sure about more current, but higher frequency is definitely carried better.
Stranding is for flexibility.


ygmir wrote:Do not use single strand, "Romex" for anything like that, unless it's a "one time" use and won't be moved.
The single strand copper within can break with a small amount of repeated flexing.

Provided annealing is the same and the copper quality, the thicker conductor will be tough to break.
And romex is easy to spot the break locations in too.
But it is generally very stiff, even new, and doesn't want to lay flat.
I have used extension cords made of romex for heater and AC for years without issues, but it is a bad idea unless it is out of the way.
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Postby ygmir » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:49 pm

gyre wrote:
ygmir wrote:also, the more stranded the wire is, the better current flow and capacity, as well as flexibility.

This only applies at much higher frequencies than 60 cycles.
And I'm not sure about more current, but higher frequency is definitely carried better.
Stranding is for flexibility.


ygmir wrote:Do not use single strand, "Romex" for anything like that, unless it's a "one time" use and won't be moved.
The single strand copper within can break with a small amount of repeated flexing.

Provided annealing is the same and the copper quality, the thicker conductor will be tough to break.
And romex is easy to spot the break locations in too.
But it is generally very stiff, even new, and doesn't want to lay flat.
I have used extension cords made of romex for heater and AC for years without issues, but it is a bad idea unless it is out of the way.
2


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Postby MikeVDS » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:06 pm

Once everyone goes to 18 and 20, you hope they actually figured out the 16.

The key is multi-speed motors and pumps.

Once 16 is verified, I'm in.


This is actually marketing scam stuff. EER is generally a better rating to look at than SEER. SEER started out as a good idea but when lobbiests pushed to have it measured differently for variable-speed or multi-compressor units, it all became a junk rating for anything that is variable-speed or multi-compressor.

What happens is that the formula they use to calculate that rating is mostly based off it's performance at 80 degrees ambient temperature. So manufacturers just slap in a small compressor to work great at 80 degrees ambient and when it gets higher it kicks in the big, inefficient compressor. Most people I know don't run their ACs until it's well over 80 degrees outside. So unless you're living on the beach and still run AC, that high SEER is a rip-off since you're paying for an extra small compressor that you'll probably rarely use.

A good rule of thumb is that if it has an EER close to its SEER, it's probably correctly engineered for efficiency, if the EER isn't listed or way below the SEER, you're probably completely wasting your money on an inefficient unit with extra stuff just to make it look better on paper. If it's single speed, single compressor, the SEER rating is still just as good as the EER.

As far as the original question, you will get a voltage drop over that distance, and you can overheat the cord as well. I don't have the NEC code book handy but I'm pretty sure that you don't have to worry about significant voltage drops until you get runs over 100 feet. You should try it at home first for a couple hours. I personally like to not lay on the very edge of failure so I would get something heavier if I could.
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Postby Talynt » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:19 pm

maybe I didn't make myself clear, but I'm not just wildly guessing at cables. I'm asking exactly what is the problem with using a cable rated to say, 1350 watts with an 1000 watt appliance.

Whats the usual "safe" extra overhead with appliances like this? And apparently the heat isn't going to affect that? But a longer overall cable length HAS to have more resistance, right, and that would be a bad thing because of... heat, right?

I don't see why gauge is the end all be all measurement of extension cables. The amazon cable I listed (gasp! 12 gauge, half the price!) is rated to 15 amps, over 50% higher than the appliance, right? Why exactly is that a bad price? I really DON'T need to leave an extension cord in my will to the grand kids...
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Postby gyre » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:22 pm

ygmir wrote:
gyre wrote:
ygmir wrote:also, the more stranded the wire is, the better current flow and capacity, as well as flexibility.

This only applies at much higher frequencies than 60 cycles.
And I'm not sure about more current, but higher frequency is definitely carried better.
Stranding is for flexibility.


ygmir wrote:Do not use single strand, "Romex" for anything like that, unless it's a "one time" use and won't be moved.
The single strand copper within can break with a small amount of repeated flexing.

Provided annealing is the same and the copper quality, the thicker conductor will be tough to break.
And romex is easy to spot the break locations in too.
But it is generally very stiff, even new, and doesn't want to lay flat.
I have used extension cords made of romex for heater and AC for years without issues, but it is a bad idea unless it is out of the way.
2


some days, I just roll my eyes when you respond.....

(looks for tennis raquet)

You've posted multiple times with this shit.
Why bother if I don't have a fucking clue what you're complaining? about?
No idea what the tennis nonsense means either.
Anyone else get any of this?
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Postby gyre » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:29 pm

Elliot, I've seen defective wire in small gauges now and again for some time.

Capt, was that a used cord?
Most wire gets flexed at the ends most, and you can feel warm spots on many cords there.
Even good plugs have some resistance.
Bad ones are much worse, like harbor freight.
By the way, they had 10 gauge on sale recently.

For those unaware, 10 gauge wire is double the copper of 12 gauge, unless I've forgotten something.
So half the resistance.
8 gauge is double that.

I'm running on 50 feet of HF cords in 12 gauge, 50 feet of 10 gauge, then 25 feet of an old 12 gauge cord.
I'm not certain after that, but may run through a heavy duty breakout and through another cord to the AC.
And the house wiring is likely 14 gauge.
I know we hooked a compressor directly to the fusebox and it was perky as fuck.
It's a wornout 5000btu unit.
Still works more or less reasonably under these conditions, but might do much better with better voltage.

As voltage drops, current goes up to do the same work, and unless the wiring and parts are built for it, they start to overheat, especially motors.
This is why 240 V air conditioners are a good thing, besides often being built better.
A 12 gauge wire will carry twice the amperage of a 240 volt load, compared to a 120 volt one.
So a 12 gauge wire will maintain proper voltage better over a long run with 240 volts, or at least cheaper.


FYI, compressors draw power depending on demand and can draw more until they kick out their safety.
So an old one can cool nicely until it starts overheating.
I pulled the safety out of one once and ran it straight to the breakers, and ran it until it started kicking those over.
It was drawing a LOT of power.
It was practically glowing, but still cooling.
It will still run if you give it enough power.
Well made.

So if you want cooling later in the day, run the AC all day, if it's an option.
No reason to run it after you're finished with it, until the next day.


I think coleman was the brand of RV cords I have.
Very happy with them, though quality could still vary with other products from them.
If you change ends, you want a proper end that can be removed and put back on and with good sized connections.
Medical is usually best, but not required.
They do make cord like this with a 4 outlet box on the end for stage work.
See bhphoto.

HF with replaced ends would work in 12 gauge.
Probably be tolerable stock, if the generator isn't straining to start with.
10 gauge is twice the wire.

Is this a new air conditioner?
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Postby MikeVDS » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:33 pm

I'm asking exactly what is the problem with using a cable rated to say, 1350 watts with an 1000 watt appliance.


There are no problems with that scenario. The problem is that this is not how electricians rate wire. It's rated in gauge. The gage is looked up on various tables based on ambient temp, and modified by the length of the run and the type of load is often taken into consideration. You are probably fine with a 15 amp cord, but if it fails because you may be pushing the limit?

A problem you may encounter with an AC unit is that it pulls very high amperage when the compressor starts. A 9.5 amp unit will probably pull around 20 amps when it starts. If you drop voltage because of small gage wire and a long run amperage will go even higher and you could damage your unit.

Like I said before, you'll probably be ok, but you're pushing the limits.
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Postby gyre » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:48 pm

Talynt wrote:maybe I didn't make myself clear, but I'm not just wildly guessing at cables. I'm asking exactly what is the problem with using a cable rated to say, 1350 watts with an 1000 watt appliance.

Whats the usual "safe" extra overhead with appliances like this? And apparently the heat isn't going to affect that? But a longer overall cable length HAS to have more resistance, right, and that would be a bad thing because of... heat, right?

I don't see why gauge is the end all be all measurement of extension cables. The amazon cable I listed (gasp! 12 gauge, half the price!) is rated to 15 amps, over 50% higher than the appliance, right? Why exactly is that a bad price? I really DON'T need to leave an extension cord in my will to the grand kids...

If Mike didn't answer your question adequately, I'll try to be more specific.

Breaker boxes are rated and built to protect wire, not appliances.
So many ratings relate to fire safety and not smart use.

I don't remember the margins for electrical, but Mike might.
I use a 10 to 1 factor for electronics though.

But a longer overall cable length HAS to have more resistance, right, and that would be a bad thing because of... heat, right?

If it is in perfect condition, no, because the heat is evenly distributed.
It is a bad thing because you get less voltage at the end.
A heater isn't fazed by this.
Air conditioners don't like this.
Beyond that, any damage is much more important with a smaller wire.

We don't have much detail about the air conditioner or it's load, but the important point is that it may not be a 1000 watt appliance, especially at 100 volts.
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Postby gyre » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:06 pm

9.5 Amps X 120 VAC = 1140 Watts
At 110 VAC it would be 1045 Watts
But it's just a rating.


One reminder, cord vary a great deal in the heat tolerance of the insulation.
I think the ultra flexible ones will run very high.

A cord lying in the sun will be at 120 to 150 degrees without a load through it.
Just a reminder.

Some common ratings.
60 ºC = 140 ºF
90 ºC = 194 ºF
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