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Question – Cords and How to Identify the Individual Wires – Part 3

I think a hardware store employee gave me wrong advice about cords. One side is smooth, one is ridged; which is which?

Electrical Video #1

Generator Automatic Transfer Switch
and Electric Circuit Sub Panel

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WELL,, you made my day for sure !!!!  I really thought my mind and common sense had gone “out the window” when the salesman was telling me the way to connect the wires..

(Usually the wires from the fixture itself are separated, with one being black and one being white + the ground wire, making it simple to know which went where…. Wasn’t the case with this fixture,, and naturally I liked and wanted THIS one;  (sounds like a woman, huh ?? )

I have done simple things (like replacing light fixtures, plugs etc) for years (just for family and close friends), and after listening to him, I REALLY doubted the way I had done it in the past!!!  Needless to say, it really concerned me!! I am SO glad that I found your web site and got much needed answers with full explanations…. THANK YOU!!!

Now,,, what am I going to do?? Well,,, I can hardly wait until I get back to the store, find the salesman and confront him with (like you suggested),, “explain again to me about this wire”
AFTER that, I am not sure if I will strike him with the wire, or make a collar out of it for him!!
(Hope I don’t make the national news!!!! JUST KIDDING!! ) We DO need a little humor with all this, don’t we? Thanks again for all your help, and I will certainly keep your web site handy for any future questions!! You have been most helpful and greatly appreciated !
I have always gone by this little chart, that I keep in my tool box…(do you find it correct?)
Household wiring (or other AC applications in the 100+ volt range) use the following color codes:
BLACK “Hot” wire. Connected to Brass colored terminal. (and/or  Side of cord that is smooth goes to brass screw)
RED ( Hot) “Traveler” wire. Used for 3-way switches.
GREEN “Ground” wire. Also called chassis ground.
WHITE “Neutral” wire. Connected to silver colored terminal. (and/or Side of cord that has grooves goes to silver screw)
Again,,, Thank you SO much for ALL your help !!!!  (and I loved your humor,, I was thinking along the same lines as you suggested !)

[ad#block]Sorry for the delay – things got very busy around here.
Glad to hear you got a chuckle out if my late night humor, I like create smiles with others – makes life fun.

As for your Little Chart in your Tool Box, yes it is correct for some applications, however the RED can be used for other applications aside from 3-way switching, and I think I’d better make a web page about this because there are a lot of folks who are missing the other application. This has to do with wiring the circuits at the time of construction or remodel and can be used for 14-3 or 12-3 Romex, and is a common practice which saves money and time during the wiring process. In fact I am installing a few of these in a big remodel project right now. Instead of explaining it right now, and because photos will help explain, please hang in there for a few days until I get a chance to create the page for this. Actually this page will be one in a series of information having to do with circuits as they originate from the power source, typically the Main Panel or Sub-Panel.

It’s funny – I was explaining the last email we had to my wife and she got a kick out of it. I told her how sharp you were to ask for another opinion, then proceeded to show her what this was all about by looking at cords attached to appliances in our kitchen. Well – wouldn’t you know that we found a mixer that didn’t have ridges, but it had colors and the larger of two straight blades, and they actually connected the White wire to the Hot! I could not believe it – the factory or whoever made the molded cords and plugs made them all backwards! Well, I guess I’ll take it apart to see how they wired it inside the mixer and reverse it if I have to.

Along the same topic – a Contractor Journal just released a report having to do with a study by the government about the increase of electrocution incidences occurring with home appliances. I’ll dig deeper into this and bring this out on the web site as well.

I wish I could be there with you at the store when you approach the Salesman, you’ll have to let me know what happens if you get the chance.

Cords and How to Identify the Individual Wires – Part 1

Cords and How to Identify the Individual Wires – Part 2

The following may also be helpful for you:

Electrical Video #2

How to Wire a GFCI Outlet

without a Ground Wire

Check out my YouTube Channel and Subscribe to my Videos
» AskTheElectrician «

NOTE: A List of All my Helpful Videos
Will Display at the End of This Video
Keep Watching So I Can Help You Wire it Right!

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my Online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.
  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

More articles about Identifying Wires Questions and Home Electrical Wiring:
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Question – 220 Volt Circuit – Part 2 Question – Cords and How to Identify the Individual Wires – Part 2