How to Coil Extension Cords

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About: I'm a Mechancial/Aerospace Engineer that likes to tinker in my spare time. I make my own Christmas Cards.

Quick and simple: how to properly coil an extension cord for long life.

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    AndyGadget

    5 years ago on Introduction

     
    That's OK for relatively thick cords which retain their shape, but for long CAT5 leads I use the elbow technique but putting in a crossover as I run it up my forearm so it ends up as a figure eight.  Doing it that way means you're not putting a twist into it and they uncoil a lot more easily.

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    Jetpack5AndyGadget

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I haven't used the figure 8 but I can see the benefit. You may be able to still use it without your elbow.

    The problem with using your elbow is that you tend to put a sharp flex on the cable. The repeated flexing causes fatigue over time in the wire strands.

    If your wires are stranded it results in broken strands. For power cables you will get a hot spot as there is less wire capacity and eventually a bad spot.

    For analog signal cables, like microphone cables, it will make little antennas that increase signal noise. This will also make your power cable more noisy for input power and radiated noise that will affect nearby signal cables, which is more of a concern if you are running audio cables or data measurement lines.

    With your CAT5 cable, it is probably a single wire conductor, which may be more susceptible to fatigue. If it breaks you then your cable will loose that signal. If the cables are relatively inexpensive this might not be such a concern and not worth the trouble.

    If you do use your elbow, partly try to not make a super tight bend. The tighter the bend the worse the fatigue.