How can I tell what guage my power cord (extension cord) is?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by austin316, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. austin316

    austin316 Diamond Member

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    the numbers on the end our

    I-SHENG
    IS-14
    10A 125V 1250W
    E55943
    LL41230
     
  2. Howard

    Howard Lifer

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    You could cut it open and see what the wires say.
     
  3. IronWing

    IronWing Lifer

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    If you're planning on using an extension cord with your existing power cord, make sure you get one that is heavier (smaller gauge) than the power cord. The longer the extension, the heavier the cord should be.
     
  4. imported_Imp

    imported_Imp Diamond Member

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    The IS-14?

    Just do a bend test. If it's at least 16 gauge, it should be a bitch to bend/curl. If it's really 14, it should be even harder.
     
  5. austin316

    austin316 Diamond Member

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    bends pretty easily, so I'm guessing 18 gauge?. I either need an extension cable or a whole new cable for my Infocus X9 projector and I don't want to mess it up. Any links to what I would need?

     
  6. Tiamat

    Tiamat Lifer

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    I think each guage has its own respective current rating. You probably have 14ga. To be safe get either 10 or 12 guage outdoor rated cords, they usually are pretty inexpensive.

    As long as you get a cable that is relatively as easy to bend or tougher to bend, you should be fine.
     
  7. MikeyIs4Dcats

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    the package will say what gauge it is if you're buying a new one.
     
  8. BlackTigers

    BlackTigers Diamond Member

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    Just get a smaller guage (thicker wire) and you'll be fine.
     
  9. Jeff7

    Jeff7 Lifer

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    What's the projector rated in terms of watts or amps?

    The one you've got is only rated to 10 amps.


     
  10. austin316

    austin316 Diamond Member

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    so if the Amp is 13 instead of 10, that doesn't matter?

    (sorry for being such a noob, I just don't want to blow out the lamp on my projector).
     
  11. austin316

    austin316 Diamond Member

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  12. TonyG

    TonyG Platinum Member

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    By that 10A rating I would say that it is only 14g, and I would also go with the 12g thought of mind for a new cord, but you could probably get by with another 14g, depending on length and current draw.
     
  13. Jeff7

    Jeff7 Lifer

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    The concern isn't for the lamp, the concern here is that the wire is thick enough to not be a fire hazard - a lightbulb filament is what happens when a lot of current passes through a very thin conductor. ;)

    You could hook up that projector with solid 1"x.125" copper straps normally used inside arc welders, which can carry at least 300 amps (and DC, no less), and it won't blow out the lamp.

     
  14. austin316

    austin316 Diamond Member

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    High Bright: 180 Watts
    Eco Mode: 150 Watts

     
  15. austin316

    austin316 Diamond Member

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    guess that proves I'm a noob. so is 13 ok or do I need 10?

    I know the lower the gauge number, the thicker the wire. is the higher the amp number, the better?
     
  16. MikeyIs4Dcats

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  17. skull

    skull Senior member

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    14 gauge is good for 15 amps. Its what wires all the lights and plugs in your house. The one you picked out is fine.
     
  18. thescreensavers

    thescreensavers Diamond Member

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    lol, I just used some random thin 3 prong 100 foot extension cord for 1000 watts of light worked fine.
     
  19. Howard

    Howard Lifer

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    Pretty much any wire can do the less than 10A that load is.

    Warning: Do not use "any wire" without doing your research.
     
  20. BigJ

    BigJ Lifer

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    Extension cords are really supposed to be for temporary use only. Either get a longer cord for your projector or move the receptacle.

    A 10A extension cord is more than enough for that projector. Your projector will not take anywhere near that amount.
     
  21. BigJ

    BigJ Lifer

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    Generally, individual conductors inside a jacket do not have ratings on them. It's an extra cost.
     
  22. Jeff7

    Jeff7 Lifer

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    Will you be plugging in anything else?
    180W is hardly anything for an extension cord. You'll be drawing less than two amps on that.



    Lower gauge number = thicker wire = more current carrying capacity.
    More current carrying capacity is good, and with wires, you can't really go too big on conductor size. The main limit then is practicality - no one wants to cart around an extension cord that's 1" in diameter.


    This, pretty much.
    TMI for this thread: The 14ga wire in your walls is solid conductor; stranded wire of the same outer diameter as solid wire will have less capacity, as some of that space is just air in between the individual strands.:)


    But yes, 14ga solid is used on 15A breakers, and 12ga is used on 20A breakers.

     
  23. Paperdoc

    Paperdoc Golden Member

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    The label you cite does not show wire gauge, but it does show amperage rating - in this case, 10 amps. In fact, the amperage rating is really what you want to know, anyway, because that is what you compare to the load you plan to use - in your case, a projector. You need to read the projector label to see what its amperage consumption is. If it does not quote amps but tells you watts, just calculate: Watts = Volts x Amps, and volts is 115 (but use 120 - it's easier to calculate). If mathematical gymnastics is your bag, I usually do something like take watts, divide by 100 (real easy!) to get an overestimate of amps, and any cord able to do that is surely OK. To get closer, reduce the amps overestimate by about 1/7 or 1/8. So if it's a big electric heater rated at 1250 Watts, my overestimate is 12½ amps, and a better estimate is about 11. (The true answer is 1250/115 = 10.90.)

    When extension cords are sold the cord is supposed to have its info printed or molded into the outer cover. Sometimes you have to look hard because words just molded into the plastic are not easy to read. But it should say something like "16/3" or "18/2" or "14/3". The teen first number is the gauge, also known as AWG for American Wire Gauge. The single number after the slash is how many wires are inside - 2 for hot plus neutral, or 3 for those two plus a ground wire. Of course, you coulda figured out that last part from how many prongs are on the plug on the end. Some actually specify an amperage rating.

    The maximum amperage a cord can handle depends on how heavy the wires inside are (heavier wires carry more current and have a LOWER AWG size number) and on the type of insulating material used. But as a general rule, the ratings are about:
    18 AWG = 10 amps
    16 AWG = 13 amps
    14 AWG = 15 amps
    12 AWG = 20 amps
    However, if you plan to use a long extension (say, 100 feet or over), use the next-heavier wire gauge if you are close to a load limit. Heavy motors also need a heavier cord because they pull an extra-heavy current for a short time as the first start up, especially if they are already under load (like starting up your lawnmower while it is sitting in long grass). And don't forget, it's the cord length, not the distance between you and the outlet. If you are mowing your lawn (electric mower) using a 100 foot cord, the electricity does no know you are standing right next to the outlet on the side of the house. By the way, most electric lawnmowers pull less than 10 amps under normal running conditions (more when going through heavy grass), so a 14 gauge 100 foot cord is suitable, but a 16 gauge is marginal and 18 gauge is not enough.

     
  24. LTC8K6

    LTC8K6 Lifer

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    A 14 gauge 100 foot cord is really not big enough for an electric lawnmower, imo. The 100 foot distance means you need to go to higher gauge. 14ga is minimum/borderline for 100 feet on a typical electric lawnmower.

    If the cord is getting very warm, it's a good sign that you need to go up a gauge.

    Also, if the mower begins to run slower for no apparent reason, it's a good sign your cord is too small. The small cord is causing a voltage drop over the distance.
     
  25. sdifox

    sdifox No Lifer

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    Better to get a long power cord as opposed to a long extension cord then plug your power cord into it.

    Chances are it's just 18x3. If you work in a data centre or know someone that does, just ask them for a spare long 16x3 (or lower) server power cord. I am rocking 14x3 :laugh: