Problem: Plug sparks when
used, does not carry power to lamp or appliance, or causes
Background: There are eight or more different kinds
of receptacle plug configurations, but they all fall
within two major categories: flat wire plugs and round
cord plugs. Replacement plugs are readily available for
both kinds and may be found in two basic types:
replacement plugs, which use screws to connect cord wires
to the terminals, and quick-connect plugs, which have
spikes inside that make contact with the wires. Plugs
should be re placed whenever the casing is cracked or
damaged, the prongs have be come loose or badly bent, the
insulation faceplate is gone, or the cord near the plug
has become damaged.
What to do: Clip off the old plug and take it with
you when buying a re placement. When using a quick-
connect flat wire replacement plug, read the general
directions below, then proceed by following the
manufacturer’s instructions, if any are given. For
replacing the appliance-end plug, or appliance cord, see
Plug or Cord Defective.
Flat wire plugs: With
take-apart replacement plugs, the casing has a screw which
allows the casing to be taken apart in two halves, freeing
each prong which has a screw terminal. Re move about
½-inch of insulation from the wires, twist them and hook
each wire around a terminal and tighten. Reassemble the
casing and install the insulation cover.
Procedures vary in attaching a
quick-connect replacement plug because there are at least
three different kinds. One kind has a levered clamp at the
back which is pulled up, the wire (slitted ¼ inch between
strands) is pushed into a hole at the side, and the clamp
is pushed back into the casing. With a second kind, the
prongs are squeezed together so that the interior can be
pulled out. The prongs are spread the wire inserted, the
prongs are closed, and the interior part is pushed back
into the casing. A third kind has a wrap-around casing
which slips off, then the wire is simply inserted and the
casing is slipped back on.
Round cord plugs: These will
have screws to attach wires. Cut the damaged part of the
cord off, then slip the plug onto the cord. Clip and
separate the cord and tie what is called an underwriter’s
knot (see illustration) and pull knot back into plug
snugly. Remove ½ inch of the insulation from the ends of
the wires, and twist the strands of each wire together
clockwise. Wrap the end of the black wire around under the
brass screw, wrap the end of the white wire around under
the silver screw (insulation should not come under the
screws), and tighten screws.
If the cord has solid wires, pre bend
the ends clockwise with needle-nose pliers to fit under
screw terminals. On a 3-prong plug there will be a third
green wire which is attached to the ground screw terminal.
Placing the insulation cover back on plug, and tightening
any cord clamp, completes the replacement.
Special advice: Plug prongs some times don’t fit
the receptacle properly. If not, try spreading the prongs
of the plug to fit tighter into the receptacle. (also seeOutlet
Receptacle Defective). To pre
vent damage to electrical plugs, make it a habit to always
remove a plug from a receptacle by grasping the plug, not
the cord. Pulling only the cord will cause unnecessary
wear and premature failure of the plug.
Helpful hint: A wire
stripping tool is a low-cost, pliers-like device which
makes stripping insulation from wires more precise. Most
have holes to accommodate wires in a range from 20- to
10-gauge. You simply select the proper hole, position the
wire where you want the insulation to end, then squeeze
the handles and pull. It is a worthwhile investment.