Go Back  DoItYourself.com Community Forums > Electrical, AC & DC. Electronic Equipment and Computers > Electrical - AC & DC
Reload this Page >

Testing your extension cords to see if counterfeit unsafe? (Made in China)

Testing your extension cords to see if counterfeit unsafe? (Made in China)

Reply

  #1  
Old 12-16-11, 08:45 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,312
Question Testing your extension cords to see if counterfeit unsafe? (Made in China)

The more I think about the following thread...

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ical-fire.html

...the more concerned I get about the electrical products I may have purchased in the past, which were made in China. And which could have counterfeit U.L labels and be unsafe.

Specifically extension cords.

All my life I have purchased electrical products and they have been safe, tested, and have authentic U.L labels...

And I have purchased various extension cords in the last 10 years without paying any attention to where they were made.

But lately I have become more and more aware of the safety problems with things made in China. Now reading the above thread got me to thinking...

Do I have unsafe extension cords sitting in my extension cord box? I have long ago discarded the labels, so have no idea where each one was made or the company which made it.

Perhaps I could load test these? Place a space heater or appropriate max amperage load on them, then after 10 minutes or so check plugs and wire for heat?

These are the extension cords used for Christmas lights typically or a table lamp. Just your basic white zip cord 6 ft. extension cord.

How many amps should those safely carry?

Cords like this...

 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 12-16-11, 11:44 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,312
So how does U.L. test an extension cord?

FYI - I found the following...

["UL-listed extension cords now must be constructed with #16 gauge or larger wire, or be equipped with integral fuses. The #16 gauge wire is rated to carry 13 amperes (up to 1560 watts), as compared to the formerly-used # 18 gauge cords that were rated for 10 amperes (up to 1200 watts)."]

From...
Extension Cords Fact Sheet
 
  #3  
Old 12-17-11, 12:06 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,312
Hummm...

The following extension cord looks just like any I have bought in the past...

UL warns of potentially hazardous extension cord...
UL | News Item

Note: In my reading I have found I should add power strips and surge protectors to the list of counterfeit U.L. things made in China!
 
  #4  
Old 12-17-11, 05:06 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
Good info, Bill. Just how is the consumer to know about the counterfeit holograph labels?
This season is the worst for these extension cords due to consumer's lack of knowledge and cheapness. I just pray no one has a house fire caused by China, wholesalers and retailers of these cords.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 12-18-11 at 02:19 PM. Reason: Coment deleted at request of member who posted.
  #5  
Old 12-17-11, 08:33 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,058
I am making this a sticky till at least after Christmas. Other mods let me know if you think it should be permanent or perhaps added to the Electrical Product Recalls and Safety Notices thread.
 
  #6  
Old 12-19-11, 03:19 PM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
I've had many of those pictured cords meltdown. I've also bought cords marked 16AWG, 13A, 1000W. Here they were 20AWG

Needless to say, I now only buy cords from reputable brands like Woods, Leviton, Cooper, or I make my own.
 
  #7  
Old 12-19-11, 05:22 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,312
Originally Posted by Justin Smith View Post
I've had many of those pictured cords meltdown. I've also bought cords marked 16AWG, 13A, 1000W. Here they were 20AWG

Needless to say, I now only buy cords from reputable brands like Woods, Leviton, Cooper, or I make my own.
20 AWG, good grief!

And then I suppose they might mess with the "copper" too?

Perhaps use a metal which is not totally copper or some other cheaper metal? And in that case it would not conduct electricity as well. And would be like a smaller gauge wire.

So I guess the best thing is to check the extension cord and extension cord plugs periodically to see if they are warm/hot. They should be cool to the touch.

I would check after 30 seconds, 1 minute, 3 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour.
 
  #8  
Old 12-19-11, 06:23 PM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
Originally Posted by Bill190 View Post
20 AWG, good grief!

And then I suppose they might mess with the "copper" too?

Perhaps use a metal which is not totally copper or some other cheaper metal? And in that case it would not conduct electricity as well. And would be like a smaller gauge wire.

So I guess the best thing is to check the extension cord and extension cord plugs periodically to see if they are warm/hot. They should be cool to the touch.

I would check after 30 seconds, 1 minute, 3 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour.
Or buy one and cut it to see what size the conductors really are. Also check the contacts to make sure they'll make good contact with the prongs while you're at it!
 
  #9  
Old 12-22-11, 10:12 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 211
I'm with Justin Smith (Post #6), throw all of that cheap crap away & buy only reputable brand extension cords. ALWAYS consider the load. If you are running LED Christmas lights that's one thing, but ANYTHING that draws half or better of the rated load I'd suggest a good quality heavy duty extension cord. Heavy is good. I use some 16 gauge cords but tend to lean more to 14 & 12 gauge cords.

TexasFire
 
  #10  
Old 12-24-11, 11:08 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,312
I suppose 14 & 12 gauge cords could be counterfeit as well and have smaller wire, phony labels, etc.

How do you tell? Maybe certain retail stores can be trusted?
 
  #11  
Old 12-24-11, 11:45 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,058
Maybe certain retail stores can be trusted?
They'd have to do random sample tests for as long as they carried the goods. I have a hard time believing that happens. Worse they probably inadvertently cause it to some extent by buying from the lowest bidder.
 
  #12  
Old 12-25-11, 09:58 AM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
Originally Posted by Bill190 View Post
I suppose 14 & 12 gauge cords could be counterfeit as well and have smaller wire, phony labels, etc.

How do you tell? Maybe certain retail stores can be trusted?
I've cut one marked "30A 125V HEAVY DUTY INDUSTRIAL POWER CABLE" and found it to be 18AWG with alot of extra rubber.

The best thing to do IMO is to get wire cut off a spool and put on your own connectors. Then, you KNOW what's going into it.
 
  #13  
Old 12-26-11, 01:04 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,397
Counterfeit extension cords have been a problem for quite a while. Here are a couple warnings from 2006.


Pride Products Recalls Counterfeit Extension Cords Due to Fire Hazard


http://www.dollartree.com/assets/pro...l_20060810.pdf

Here are a few tips to identify counterfeit cords and those manufactured in China which I would consider as suspect of being counterfeit.

Examine the label if the extension cord has one. Find an electrical product in your home that you are certain is authentic and that has a UL label. Compare the two labels, as many extension cords have fake UL labels. If the cord was made in China, it should have a holographic UL label.
How to Spot Counterfeit Extension Cords | eHow.com

I always suggest buying from a known source and avoiding the discount dollar stores.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes