Candy Questions in Tech 6

On Zip Cord, which side is hot?

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SPT-1, Lamp Cord, Nema 1-15 cord, Zip Cord, Ungrounded Extension Cords, In any terms for it, there is one side of it that's hot and one side that's neutral. Which is it?

Doesn't matter? Try unscrewing a lamp from a screw based lamp holder and getting a shock when your fingers touch the lamp's screw shell. Plug something into the cord that is polorized and it's not wired properly such as a dimmer or switch, there can be problems. It matters, there is a universal standard for the center pin of a lamp base to be the hot just as which leg on zip cord is neutral, and without the proper hot leg system, it's impossible to be sure.

Add a Taps, and other quick connect outlets and plugs on zip cord are very common in use especially in our industry. They are non-polorized for the most part and this causes constant problems on things that are polarity dependant. At very least if you know which side of the cord goes to the neutral, you will be doing your job in ensuring they are properly powered up so the next person that uses what you set up does not get shocked. Being a lighting person means more than you can pull the shutters on a Leko and focus a beam, it also infers you know something about the craft thus the candy question and my stress on this part of it.

However as with the painting question #5, since as of this morning since only two people voted, including myself, this is my last because it still is obvious that out of 327 members, this is not something of interest to the masses.
Add a Taps are prohibited in my area of the country for use and if inspected they will be tossed out.....but in spite of that they are still used and useful.

EXCELLENT question and poll by the way.....
Inaki2 said:

"Unsafe" is the short reply.

It's standard two-wire lamp cord - no outer jacket. The insulation is molded around the two wires with a groove between them, so they can be "zipped" apart for termination. It's pretty common, in the US, for lamps and small home appliances. Also commonly used far speaker cable on home stereos. Not really good for industrial applications (even speaker hookups) because the lack of any outer jacket makes it pretty easy to damage. Rarely rated well for temperature or abrasion resistance.

See the other descriptions Otherwise All plastic parallel cord SPT-1 20-18AWG, 2 or 3 conductor, Thermoplastic, cord. It's the ungrounded extension cords most used in households for 120v wiring and most found in brown or white. You probably have something similar to it out there given different plugs. Two wires that are attached together with a thin bridge of plastic that you rip apart to wire it. One side ribbed or with two ridges, the other side rounded. Must have seen it, most table lamps and pendant fixtures come with a form of it, also a lot of cheap speaker cable uses it.
Ohhh...yeah...didn't know it was called ZipCord.....crappy little thing
Ok so at last...which one is hot? And whats a tap???? I'm assuming no one puts water taps on light sockets....hopefully
ship said:
However as with the painting question #5, since as of this morning since only two people voted, including myself, this is my last because it still is obvious that out of 327 members, this is not something of interest to the masses.
I enjoy your questions. I'm a senior in high school and have been in tech for a long time, but I don't know all the technical names of things and have never really learned lighting and sound. So you're questions help me to learn those things. Not to mentionthat I get everyone elses opinions on the equiptment or methods in question. I just think that not many people have bothered to look over here or have not posted. I hope you keep going.
Zip cord is not authorized for stage or much industry usage but it's very frequently used in other places. Many is the time of a young person plugging a spool of it into a live socket and watching the transformer effect happen. One lighting company I once worked for that's got various locations about the US and has a name similar to winter or Jack, uses than even re-uses the stuff after the Add a Taps are removed. Used to just watch the sparking of wires to grid at the Field Museum if the ends were not taped. They would power up Lekos or hundreds of feet of X-Mass lights with it all the same no matter what the load.

I also just hot glued to my wall of shame that famous anchient zip cord I have which is very old. Bend it and the insulation just flakes off at the bend. Very nice for showing what happens to it if it's overloaded or it gets old and dry.

By the way, a Add a Tap is something that has a sharp prong that pierces the insulation of the wire so as to tap off it's power. Lamp sockets and ungrounded Edison sockets and switches frequently will do this. I stock and have sent out on shows both - they have uses and are for the most part safe to be using. Most lighting companies in the industry will stock and use them at times especially for low voltage lighting. Just not to the extent that the other company above uses them.
Something fun to do with Zip Cord!

Do this with adult supervision only!

You need three pickles about 10 feet of zip Cord and a quick tapping edison adapter UNGROUNDED thats important.

Tap the edison plug onto one end. Cut it at about three feet and separate the ends so you have a Y shaped cable with the edison adapter on one side. Plug one end of the Y into a pickle plug the other end into the opposite end of the pickle. Now take about two more feet of zip cable and separate it, plug one piece into one end of the first pickle and into one end of another pickle, then do the same thing with the next piece of cord. Until you have about three pickles in the chain. Then turn off the lights and plug it in, and stand back! You will get a nice green light show.
delnor said:
...plug it in, and stand back! You will get a nice green light show.
... and be cleaning up pickle shrapnel for days...


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