Wiring Question about an air conditioner

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by jbenjamin152, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. jbenjamin152

    jbenjamin152 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Hey all I am a young person who has dabbled a bit in electrical work and have a question. I bought some 600 volt wire from lowes (the orange) and I was wondering if I could use this on a Haier Airconditioner that has a 300 v cord. The cord died and now the $300 air conditioner won't work. Please advise. I wired my dish washer with 600v wire and it works fine has for a year now. I would like to know asap as it's FRICKIN hot in Upstate NY.
    Josh
  2. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    NO, you CANNOT use this "orange" building wire as a cord.
    They do sell 240v cord replacements. Get the same one that was on your A/C.

    Also in fricken hot Upstate, NY. With tornado warnings no less. :rolleyes:
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Well, the problem is that the "orange" wire is building wire, but the jacket is not designed or rated to be a "cord". Electrically, of course, as long as the conductors were the right size, it would work, but would not be safe, and definitely not to code.
  4. jbenjamin152

    jbenjamin152 New Member

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    3
    ok so what kind of "wire" can I use as the cord from the haier company is $65 and I don't have that kind of money I'm on a limited income. I have Cystic Fibrosis and can't honestly afford the $65 right now but I can afford some wire that I can buy...any suggestions?
  5. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    You can replace it with any other applicance cord that has the same connector. If you get an extension cord you can cut off the female end and wire it to the air conditioner.

    Does the existing cord have a circuit breaker device at the plug end? You can use a standard cord but it won't meet the standards that were used to produce the A/C.
  6. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    Messages:
    584
    Location:
    MN, USA
    1. You can use 600 volt wire at lower voltages.

    2. You need to know the amperage to decide on a cord.

    3. Does it plug into an outlet? if so what type of plug does it use?

    4. What type of orange wire? is it round and rubbery?

    Once you know the size and length you need, you should be able to get a cord with an end for it.

    Note: The others are guessing that the orange cord you bought is NM house wire, but the store sells orange cord wire as well.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2008
  7. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    True, but it is quite unlikely that a home center extension cord would be 600V. More likely 300v.
  8. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Why would a residential air conditioner in New York state need 600 Volt wire?

    He said he USED 600 Volt wire; not that there was any requirement for it.
  9. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    A replacement cord will likely be under $10. They may have it at Lowes.

    Just match up the plug configuration.
  10. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    7,358
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Virtually any electrical supply store will have wire the you can use. Lowes and HD both have good supplies. I would check the AC to make sure what gauge you need, but it is very likely 12 gauge. You will also need a male connector end to match the outlet. Another alternative is to get an appliance wire that already have the male end molded to the cable. This would be the best way to go if you don't need a long cable. I recently put a new switch and cable on my table saw-3HP 220volt-and while copper wire certainly isn't as cheap as it was not so long ago, 20 feet of 12/3 heavy service didn't require a 2nd mortgage.
  11. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Wow, this is getting more and more twisted around.

    -He said he bought some "600v orange wire" at the home center.
    -We are all saying this is most likely NM/romex building wire and NOT suitable/acceptable for this installation.
    -NO one is saying it is required, we are saying the opposite in fact.
    -We ARE saying get a proper cord for the unit and be done with it.
  12. jbenjamin152

    jbenjamin152 New Member

    Messages:
    3
    ok so I can go to the store and buy a regular extension cord and cut off the female end and this should be the right voltage and not be too much as I really like where I live and don't want to see it in a smoldering pile of ash because that would not cool me off lol...
    The wire I bought is says {nm/b 10-2 with ground 600 volts cirtex-I (UL) bed bath fr dr k lr ut oth 1 2 3 4 5 6 ez-id(tm) plus 9/14/07/ j1/3 bb/pm/1000} on it so I believe it is obviously nm/b 10-2 ...
    It is infact orange and from Lowes and cost 1.19 a foot... If I am understanding all of you this will not work and I need to go purchase a regular extension cord...that doesn't exceed 300 volts...
    I was really asking if the wire I bought would work or if I needed to buy something else except that ridiculasly priced cord from haier. Thanks to anyone who can and has helped.
  13. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    VOLTS: The voltage requiremet is that it NOT BE LESS THAN 300 Volts, and that is even more than you need. You will not be able to buy any extension cord that will have inadequate VOLTAGE capability. The only thing in the store that won't have adequate voltage rating will be telephone wire or doorbell or thermostat wire.

    AMPS and WIRE SIZE: You need a cord large enough to carry the AMPS. The wire size, 14 or 12, should be as large as the cord you have BUT LARGER IS OK. Smaller numbers are larger wire and AMP rating corresponds to wire size. Number 12 is rated for 20 Amps; 14 is rated for 15 Amps. The size is probably stamped into your original cord but is often very hard to see.

    Take the original cord to the store and match the plug configuration and the wire size. If you strip a bit of insulation from the end someone someone should be able to compare it with another marked wire and determine the size. It it is smaller than the wire you bought, but not much smaller, then it is probably 12, if it is very much smaller then it is probably 14. It is OK to use #12 wire even if the original is #14.

    The wire you bought is Nonmetallic sheath which is marked NM. What you got is commonly used for water heaters. It is Number 10 and is rated at 30 Amps. It would work if you got a matching connector but is not permitted by code as an appliance cord; although I have seen it done. It would be very stiff and would look terrible. If you removed the receptacle and wired it in with wire nuts, using a proper attachment to the box, it would probably meet the wiring code but would violate the requirement for a disconnect and would violate the requirement that you must be able to disconnect the appliance.
  14. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    The thing with appliances, cords, and wiring is "amperage" and the size of the metal in the wire (gauge of wire). A larger gauge (size) of wire will safely carry more amperage. A wire gauge might be 14, 12, 10, 8, etc. The smaller the number, the larger the size of wire.

    For an appliance which uses more amperage, you need a larger gauge (size) wire.

    To make this more complicated, many appliances list the "watts" used rather than the amperage used. You can convert watts to amps here...
    (Use the calculator under "Single Phase".)
    http://www.jobsite-generators.com/power_calculators.html

    Then the gauge of wire needed is based on the amperage the appliance draws.

    Appliances use stranded wire because this allows the cord to be flexible. House wiring is solid and is not designed to be used as an appliance cord. You can get the "coat hanger effect". That is bend a solid wire coat hanger back and forth several times and it will break. So best to use a stranded "appliance cord" which has the correct gauge wire for the specific appliance and will handle the amperage.

    And don't judge the wire gauge by the size of the outside of the wire. There is speaker wire which looks like it is a big wire and they charge a fortune for this stuff, but actually it has a small gauge wire inside with a very thick insulation to make it appear to be big.
  15. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,126
    Location:
    New England
    You are confusing the voltage ratings verses the power handling requirements. First, you need to look at the a/c unit and see what voltage it runs at (120/240 are the two likely choices). Then, look at the existing plug. It could be a 110vac 15A, or 110vac 20A plug, or it could be a 240vac plug that each have the pins in a different configurations. The unit will say something about how many watts it draws, and likely will also list how many amps.

    Once you know the power requirements of the a/c unit, THEN you can match it up with an appropriate cord. The 300/600 v thing is how well the insulation can protect from arcing through the insulation to something, maybe you, maybe an adjacent wire. The rating needed depends on the voltage you have at the wall plug. The wire you have is capable of powering the a/c unit in all likelyhood, but doesn't meet the code requirements for an appliance power cord. Now, we could be wrong...I'm not familiar with all of the designations on that wire you have. 10g is plenty large for any window a/c unit I know of, but it may not have a proper outside insulation that meets the abrasion, flexibility, etc. requirements for a power cord; it is probably rated for use in a wall or protected some other way. Attaching 10g wire to a power plug, or even the a/c unit itself may be a pain if there are screw lugs...if it was designed for say 12g (which is smaller - in wire gauge, lower numbers are bigger wire conductors, and once it gets to zero, they start adding more zeros so 00 is thicker than 0).
  16. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,797
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    cord

    Go to a hardware or Home Depot type store. Look in the electrical section for an "appliance cord" with the proper sized wires. It will have a molded plug on one end and three loose wires at the other end. Connect the loose wires to your AC and plug it in.
  17. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    Also when you say the cord "died", what specifically went bad?

    What happened to the original air conditioning cord?

    Was the problem at the plug which plugs into the wall?

    One problem can be that the wires from the appliance connected to the plug are not making a good connection. Or that the outlet is worn out and the prongs on the plug do not make a good connection with the outlet. In either case, the prongs on the plug can get to be quite hot temperature wise and this can damage the appliance wire (melts insulation), the plug (plastic around plug prongs deforms), and the inner outlet connections become damaged due to the heat.

    So in this case you would need a new appliance cord with plug and a new outlet. If you just replace the cord and plug, even with the correct type, the same problem will occur. It will heat up due to the bad outlet and poor connections there.

    Also you can have undersized house wiring for the appliance and someone may have installed an oversize breaker or fuse. This can cause the same problem. It will heat up at the plug.
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