Outdoor Two-Prong Tools

jaywalkerApril 16, 2014

Educate me, please.

I have three outdoor electrical tools. The mower is newer and has polarized prongs. The hedge trimmer is more than 25 years old, also with two prongs, but does not appear to my eye to have polarized prongs (two equal blades, no separate ground slot). The chainsaw is also old, but has two polarized prongs.

Is there anything wrong with using a three-prong plug with any of these? I don't imagine the ground wire is doing me any good that way.

What outdoor extension power cord can I use for both these tools? Up to now I've been using a 100-foot, 14 gauge outdoor cord with ground prong; the ground just doesn't connect to anything at the tool.

I've just now damaged the cord so that I have two cords - one 75' and the other 25' and need to put a male on one cord and a female on the other.

Do I need to chuck the hedge trimmer and get one that's polarized?

Are there polarized two-prong outdoor power cables?

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Ron Natalie

A polarized plug is primarily for devices that have some exposed metal attached to one side of the AC line. The common one is a lamp where the threaded side of the bulb (as opposed the the button in the middle) may be exposed. This makes sure only the grounded conductor is connected to that side.

Plug is the thing with the prongs. The thing on tend end of a extension cord is a socket. The thing on the wall that you plug it into is a receptacle. Obviously you can always use a three wire extension cord with a two wire device just as you can plug a two wire cord into a three wire (Grounded) receptacle.

There are two things that determine wire sizing in this situation. First is how much does the device draw. A two pin plug isn't going to draw more than 15A and usually much less. In that case a 14g cord is fine. The other is how much voltage drop is there over the length of the cord. Again with the small loads I doubt you'll ave a problem. If you were trying to run a refrigerator or a table saw or something at the end, that might have sen an issue.

Out door cords usually aren't worth repairing. You lose the water resistance with your repairs.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 6:11PM
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Thanks, I'll get a new cord, probably three-prong, since they look the most common.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 6:46PM
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