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Accidentally cut power cord while pruning shrub and needed to repair by splicing wires together without making contact or needing to repair again. Asked associate at local hardware store and he suggested I buy a new cord (of course).

What is best way to repair a 3wire extension cord?

  • Bought a cordless hedger...no more cut cord. – bwcoholan Sep 11 at 17:55
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    Put the appropriate ends on and Now you can have two extension cords. ;) – Alaska Man Sep 11 at 18:23
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Alaska Man was being funny, but that really is the best course of action. Any splice you put in the cord will not be as strong as the rest of the cord and may snag on things and come loose depending on how you do it. It's just not a good option.

If you cut near the middle, buy a male and female 3-prong plug end and make two extension cords out of it. If it's close to one end, throw the short end away and buy the appropriate plug to fix the long section.

If it's a light-duty cord, price then ends then price a new cord. I'll bet those two prices are close (if buying two replacement plugs), so you can then decide if its really worth it to mess with.

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    I think Alaska Man was being serious.. I've done that many times, especially with the more expensive cords. – JACK Sep 11 at 18:44
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    @JACK, He's never too serious, but he is right a lot. – JPhi1618 Sep 11 at 18:45
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Here's what you do. Go to a big box with a good electrical department and look for RayChem or SolderSleeve butt splices, and some heavy duty heat shrink. I mean really heavy duty, not the stuff that sort of looks like in flattened tubes in the package. If it doesn't look like small black pipe you're looking at the wrong kind. Pick one that will fit over your cord and make sure it has pieces 4-6 inches long.

  1. Slide on the hard heat shrink. Use a nice, long piece, mayybe 4 inches.
  2. The splices have you slide on a heat shrink tube before connecting the conductors. RayChems use a crimp barrel to connect the ends. The SolderSleeves require you to twist the ends together.
  3. Connect each conductor (whether twist or crimp), then slide the splice's individual heat shrink over the connect and apply heat. The SolderSleeve splices will melt solder into the joint and also melt some plastic sealant at each of its ends to environmentally seal the spliced connection. The Raychem works almost the same except it uses the crimp barrel instead of solder to join the conductors. It also has a heat activated environmental seal.
  4. When you have all three conductors spliced, slide the big piece of hard heat shrink down over all three conductors ahd use the heat gun on it. That leaves a splice that's well protected from stress and moisture.

NOTE: carefully read the instructions before you begin to prepare the ends. The total length of the exposed conductors and their insulation should be something that the hard heat shrink tube will cover with an extra inche on either side. For example, if the exposed conductor insulation and their splices is two inches long, you should have at least four inches of hard heat shrink. You want that extra length there to provide a bit of stress relief for the cord so that jerking it around in-use won't strain the spliced connections.

I've found one or another of these splices at Lowes and Home Depot. The last time I found the hard heat shrink at Home Depot. Lowes probably has it, but I haven't looked there. Most big box home centers carry the spices and heat shrink.

If you don't see the brands I mentioned, take a close look at the splices they do have and you might see one with the same characteristics. The standard crimp splice kits (the automotive kind) are not something you'd want to use except breiefly in an emergency.

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    Our Home Depot has a great electrical department. It's about 2 miles away and the sign says City Electric. Lowes also has a great electrical department, it's in a nearby industrial park and is called Greybar. Menards has one across the street marked Platt Electric... – Harper Sep 11 at 20:06
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I have done this several times. I have several spliced cords in my collection. Splicing is no big deal. I'm sure Youtube or Instructables will have detailed pics or vids of doing it.

That said: One option with cutting tool is to wire a plug a short distance from the tool -- a foot to 18 inches. Now you can use whatever extension cord you have, using whatever length is appropriate. I like leaving enough of a tail on the tool that I can tie a knot with the extension cord to keep it from casually separating.

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