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Safety-Making Cords

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A number of folks make their own extension cords and some will use a common neutral on a multi circuit cord to reduce the amount of wire used. This is not a bad idea but it can lead to a number of issues some of which can be shock hazards and can destroy controllers.

If you do create such cables do the following:

  1. Make sure that the common neutral wire can handle the max load. It has to handle the total load on all circuits on at one time.
  2. Make sure that you use polarized plugs and that all hots and neutrals are connected to the proper pin on the plug ( wide pin is neutral )… I have had more than one customer who miss-wired the plugs… They tested the circuits individually and they worked fine BUT when they plugged it into the controller it kept blowing fuses and eventually fried triacs…. In essence they had created a dead short. If they had plugged all of the circuits at once into an outlet it would have caused the same problem.
  3. You should not create a cable that has a load that cannot be handled by a single 8 channel controller or one side of a 16 channel controller. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is a wiring code issue in that you would be connecting the neutrals from two independent circuits in your house. The other is that with GFCI it will not work!...

So in short, making a special cable can save a lot of wire and it will work well BUT make sure you know what you are doing and do not mix things up.

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