I have an extension cord running to a shed, providing power to a heated waterer for our chickens in the winter. (I am aware that an extension cord is not ideal! It runs on a GFCI outlet.). The cord is heavy duty, grounded, outdoor rated, and has an LED indicator in the receptacle that illuminates when it is plugged in. This light is helpful, because I can simply peek in the windows to ensure that the waterer has power and know that my chickens water will not freeze.

Here's the odd bit. When it's very cold, say -10 degrees F or lower, the indicator often fails to illuminate. I know the power is on because the water isn't frozen and the GFCI hasn't tripped. As soon as I unplug the waterer, the light come back on. While it may be temperature-related, temperature isn't the only factor otherwise the light wouldn't come on when the waterer is unplugged.

What explains this intermittent failure of the led to light up?

  • 1
    Cord-end-pilot-light is more likely to be neon than LED, even these days. Is it orange?
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 27, 2022 at 12:23
  • 1
    Yes is it orange.
    – nuggethead
    Feb 27, 2022 at 12:25
  • 2
    I’m voting to close this question because it's not a DIY question as written. Could be moved to Electronics SE or re-written to fit here.
    – gnicko
    Feb 27, 2022 at 18:10
  • Then it is neon. Neon can be flaky. Since you're putting an extension cord out there anyway, why not split it and also power a clip light? The bulb need not be large. Feb 27, 2022 at 21:46

1 Answer 1


I have had an extension lead with an intermittent neon lamp. It was down to cost-cutting in manufacture, relying on the leads of the neon being wedged in beside the copper bars that connected the sockets together.

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