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Author Topic: Is 16 Guage Okay?  (Read 5158 times)

Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Is 16 Guage Okay?
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2017, 12:50:29 pm »

What I think Tim is getting at (2 posts above this one) isn't so much about "code compliance" as it is WHY the code says what it says.

First off, the "J" designation means that the insulation and jacket on the cable is thinner and less durable. In an entertainment setting, there is high potential for abuse of the cable with foot traffic, equipment being set on the cable, even vehicular traffic if people aren't careful. Junior service cable is more likely to fail catastrophically in this environment.

The other aspect is wire gauge. 16AWG cords are intended for use with a single appliance (I.e., a power tool) where the draw of the tool is unlikely to exceed the ampacity of the cable. In an entertainment setting, where the tail end (female connector) is likely to be split to feed multiple appliances, the possibility of overload is much greater. Since the cord will be plugged in to a 15 or 20A circuit, it won't be protected from overload.

The gist, though, is that those cords you get from the home center are sold with the intent that they be used for a single appliance in a setting where they are not subject to abuse. Besides, finding BLACK premade extension cords in any thing other than 16AWG Junior service is next to impossible. Nobody wants to see an orange cord on stage.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 12:52:30 pm by Jonathan Johnson »
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Is 16 Guage Okay?
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2017, 01:15:48 pm »

Wait, Home Depot is not a music store??  I don't know how I could I have missed that.  Could you suggest website that will tell me something other than a 16ga extension cord can handle up to 10 amps at 100 feet?


So Tim, are you you saying that 16AWG is not up to Code -- regardless of the length?

I won't reiterate my previous post rgarding voltage drop.  My point was simply this-in "most" applications that a consumer will use an extension cord a 16 AWG will be fine with a 10 amp load.  What Tim, myself and others have said is that in this application a 16 gauge cord is not the tool you want to use.

To use an automotive illustration-most of the time something like a Honda Civic will get from place to place just fine.  You can even haul lumber in it-but as my daughter found out recently (when the lumber went through the windshield), in some cases it is not the right tool for the job-and eventually that will bite you.
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Ray Aberle

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Re: Is 16 Guage Okay?
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2017, 01:43:31 pm »

Besides, finding BLACK premade extension cords in any thing other than 16AWG Junior service is next to impossible. Nobody wants to see an orange cord on stage.
I recently started ordering exactly this (black, pre-made extension cords that are NOT 16AWG) from a company called MilSpec Direct. I know, they are SJTW, which means this is not for my stage/band power, but rather for AV/corporate work, but it's black cable, molded ends, and "Kelcema Audio 888-535-2362" custom printed on the jacket. Good pricing right off the bat (and ships for free) with discounts available starting with ordering at least $500 in product.

[Obligatory disclaimer: I am not an expert on the NEC. You may be able to use these cables in situations where they are not exposed to physical damage. Your AHJ will always have the final say as to the suitability of these cables for your needs.]

-Ray
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Mike Sokol

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Re: Is 16 Guage Okay?
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2017, 03:03:41 pm »

I won't reiterate my previous post rgarding voltage drop.  My point was simply this-in "most" applications that a consumer will use an extension cord a 16 AWG will be fine with a 10 amp load.  What Tim, myself and others have said is that in this application a 16 gauge cord is not the tool you want to use.

For me at least, it's usually not the cable insulation itself that fails on an orange cord. It's the ground pin on the male plug that loosens up and falls out. I see this all the time with the orange extension cords at schools where I do gigs, so I always bring my own extension cords with Hubble plugs.
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Joseph D. Macry

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Re: Is 16 Guage Okay?
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2017, 03:29:10 pm »

For me at least, it's usually not the cable insulation itself that fails on an orange cord. It's the ground pin on the male plug that loosens up and falls out. I see this all the time with the orange extension cords at schools where I do gigs, so I always bring my own extension cords with Hubble plugs.

I often see cords where the outer jacket is pulling out of the molded plug end. You can see black, white, green going into the plug.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Is 16 Guage Okay?
« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2017, 04:02:49 pm »

I often see cords where the outer jacket is pulling out of the molded plug end. You can see black, white, green going into the plug.

At least you don't have to squint to read the markings on the outer jacket to know how many conductors there are -- and you can make a close guess on the size!
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Stephen Kirby

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Re: Is 16 Guage Okay?
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2017, 06:23:09 pm »

I recently started ordering exactly this (black, pre-made extension cords that are NOT 16AWG) from a company called MilSpec Direct.

Interesting.  As someone who spent many years in manufacturing at a defense contractor and actually contributed to some of the electronics assembly military specs, I don't see anything about this company that is "Mil-Spec".  I guess there's no prohibition against using that name.  It's not like they're claiming any particular qualifications, or a fake FSCM (Federal Supply Code of Manufacturer).  But it is kind of disingenuous. 
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Is 16 Guage Okay?
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2017, 06:23:09 pm »


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