How to Rescue an Over-Twisted Power Cord

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Introduction: How to Rescue an Over-Twisted Power Cord

It's really annoying when somebody "helps" you clean up by improperly coiling your power cords.  The main way this happens is illustrated in the first picture.  The person grabs the end of cord in one hand and then tightly wraps the cord around his or her elbow and hand repeatedly.  This guilty twister is usually an impatient Type-A that thinks fast and hard is better.  Here's a public service announcment:  Fast and Hard is Not Better.

This is a quick trick I used to fix some of my cords that had become hopelessly twisted.  It's not a guaranteed fix - but it does a great job at improving the condition.  Think of it as laser-tatoo removal without all the pain. 

Step 1: It's OK. Help Is on the Way - Here's All We Need

This one is easy.  All I used is a drill, an eyebolt, and some masking tape.
The drill can be corded (gasp) or battery powered.
You can actually use almost any tape you want.


 

Step 2: Quick Assembly

Now, just attach the cord to the eyebolt.  It can be done a number of ways.  I have illustrated two ways.

Step 3: Insert Bolt Into Drill

Now mount the bolt into the drill.

Step 4: Tie the Other End of Cord to a Tree or Post

Now just stretch the cord out all the way and tie the other end of the cord to a fixed tall stable object.  A tree or swingset post are good candidates.

Step 5: Regain Control of Unruly Extension Cord

Before you start "unwinding" with the drill, pay close attention to the direction of the corkscrew twist which is present in the cord.  You will want to have the drill rotating opposite of the direction of the current bad cord twist.   We want to make it better not worse!

Also - Very Important!  Before "unwinding", stretch the cord so it suspends off of the ground by a few feet.  This will help a great deal because it will allow the "bad twist" to be worked on somewhat evenly across the length of the entire cord. 

So, now just unwind with the drill!  I have found that doing a little "extra" twisting helps to straighten things out more.  It's no exact science, but it works for me!  

OK - once your'e happy with the cord, be sure to wind and store properly.  And keep away from those who are the "bad-winders".

Step 6: Notes on How One Might Properly Coil the Cord

These instructions are for a RIGHT HANDED person. 
I'm going to let the pictures tell the story...

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    20 Comments

    What if you don't have a drill?

    im a custodian and i've found when i come across inherited equipment with messed up cords .. i stretch the cord out straight down a hallway every time i havta wrap it up .. then i start from the equipment end and grab the round cord with just my thumb and index finger ..thumb nd index pointing away from equipment end .. and with my other hand ..just using my thumb and index finger i stretch out arms length.. then as im coming back . going to make the coil into my left hand i twist around nd keep the cord loose .. when i do this 5-10 times a week .. after like2 weeks the cord is almost perfectly in its natural curve... and i guess it varies on ones' arms but when i do that its like a perfect oval of cord liek about 2 feet in biggest diameter liek up and down.. prolly like 10 inches across

    Just looking at the first pic makes my teeth itch!

    Great instructable, and amazing illustrations!

    Just the hand drawing makes this a winning Instructable!

    Cords twist because most people do not unplug the one end while winding up the cord. This is what causes the twisting. The free end of the cord must be able to rotate as you wind up the cord. Always make sure the cord is fully stretched out and that both ends are unplugged and free to rotate and you will never get a twisted cord or rope again.

    Prohidium, That is a good way of explaining the whole twisting issue. I wish I would have said that!

    This seems like the cord could begin to osscilate and rip the drill out of your hand. You don't want that.

    I just use a cord coiler that you "wind" up the cord around a central hub. If the cord wants to turn it can. I've had more than a few extension cords that have been recycled for this very reason, thanks for sharing!