How to Identify Flat Cord Wires
Where do the wires connect with a flat electric cord? Guide to Electrical Cord Wiring Connections, Wiring Flat Cords for Light Fixtures, a Dishwasher, and Disposal.
Guide to Electrical Cord Wiring Connections
Electrical Question: Where do the wires connect with a flat electric cord?
I replaced my old Garbage Disposal and re-used the cord.
- The cord is old enough that there are no wire colors identified on the cord, and the plug blades are the same size.
- The garbage disposal seems to work OK, so I think I wired it correctly.
- But would it still run if I had reversed the connections?
- Would it run backwards?
- Will it burn out the motor?
- How can I tell if it is wired right, and if it is wired backwards, can I just reverse the connection, or is my disposal compromised?
This electrical question came from: Todd, a Homeowner from Stoughton , Wisconsin.
Additional Comments: It is excellent, and really helpful.
Thanks for your electrical question Todd.
Application: Wiring a Flat Disposal or Dishwasher Cord
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Never wire cord connections when the cord is plugged into the receptacle outlet.
Notice: Making any wiring connections should be done according to local and national electrical codes.
Wiring Flat Cords for a Light Fixture, Dishwasher, or Disposal
- Two Methods for Identifying Cord Wires
Todd, first of all I don’t believe that the garbage disposal will run backwards if it is wired either way, and I don’t think it will damage the motor, however there are a few ways that will help identify which wire is for what purpose.
- Wire Connections for a Flat Cord
If the cord is flat, then most likely there will be one side where the wire is smooth, and the other side should have lines or ridges. The smooth side is the hot side that is typically connected to the black wire in 120 volt applications. The other wire with the lines is for the neutral, or white wire.
- Checking the Cord and the Plug
To check this method, simply hold the male plug up to a outlet, don’t plug it in, but notice the wires and you will notice how the wires are identified this way. The outlet or receptacle has two straight blades, one of which is smaller than the other. The smaller blade is the hot, the larger blade is the neutral.
More about Wiring a Garbage Disposal and Dishwasher:
- Garbage Disposal/Dishwasher Wiring
- Fully explained dishwasher disposal wiring diagrams with pictures for wiring the outlet that serves a dishwasher and a garbage disposal. One very important element can be easily overlooked as you will see in these pictures.
- Electrical Wire for the Home
- Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.
For more information about Electrical Wiring
- Electrical Wiring
- Home electrical wiring projects with pictures and wiring diagrams.
- This link is helpful as a Homeowner
- Do-It-Yourself Electrical
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!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, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard 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.
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