Greetings and Happy Spring from Middlebury! Winter may still have its grip on all of us here in Vermont but I assure you that spring is coming! 

Over the last few months we have discussed some basic field repair techniques for power tools. The last of this three part series is going to deal with the power cord.

The power cord is the most important part of your tool when it comes to safety. A damaged, shorted, or frayed cord can cause improper tool function and electrical shocks.

To ensure workplace safety, Vermont’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (VOSHA), and the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspect the health and safety of conduct and equipment used on jobsites. If an electrical cord for a tool is deemed unsafe, they cut the cord off, disabling the tool until a proper replacement is made. VOSHA/OSHA rules for the work site no longer allow “replacement” plugs to existing cords. The rules now require the replacement of the entire cord with a factory matching cord.

Finding the correct replacement cord and replacing it can be a hassle! If you want your tool to be up and running again and be worry free, without doing the work, we, at rk MILES, can get your tool running safely in a couple of days. (Most of the cords we get in for repair typically have frayed cords. We find a simple replacement of the entire cord is the best and safest option.)

If you want to do the replacement yourself, there are things to consider before you jump in.

Typically power cords are sold in gauges. A 14-2 label means the cord has two wires, and the 14 represents the gauge, or thickness of the inner wire. A 12-3 label means that there are three internal wires, (the third being a ground) each with a gauge of 12.

Power cords come in all different lengths, sizes and functions. Some tools have easily replaceable cords such as Festool and Milwaukee who used click lock features (see middle image, right). Most other cords are hard wired (see bottom image). Please note: Some cords may require a trained professional.

Make sure to check with your user manual or call us and we can tell you what the right cord is for your tool.

On the router pictured below the top was removed to expose the switch (which is where the power cord attaches inside the tool) Best way to remove the old cord is to simply cut it and then remove the small ends. The ends are usually held in with screws to the switch. If your switch does not have removable ends, then splicing with a wire nut is necessary.

Thanks for you interest in rk MILES and our blog! Look this summer for more tips and tricks on power tools and accessories. Later this summer we will be discussing pneumatic tools and their do’s and don’t. Remember rk MILES is concerned with your safety. Before attempting any work on a power tool unplug it from a power source or remove the battery. If you are uncomfortable performing any of the repair tips we have discussed, bring your tool down to rk MILES and we will get you back on track!

Jon Glinski
rk Miles- Middlebury

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