Minor Electrical Repairs:

Replacing The Male Plug On An
Extension Cord Or Power Cord

In This Article:

The ends of the wires are stripped of their insulation and connected to a new plug.

Related Articles:
Skill Level: 1 (Basic) Time Taken: 15 Minutes

By , Editor


Sometimes the end of an extension cord or power cord gets, broken, worn out, bent beyond repair, or burned from excessive heat buildup.

If the rest of the cord is still intact, I often repair the end instead of discarding the cord. However, the price of a new cord is often little more than the price of one replacement end. This is particularly true with the more common 16 gauge cords.

The cord in this article was not damaged. It was a brand-new 80 foot, heavy gauge cord that I bought for the purpose of cutting off twenty feet. I have a workbench with a table saw and a small bench sander and it is in the middle of the garage. The two shared an extension cord, and I was getting tired of unplugging one machine to plug in the other, so I decided to make an extension cord that connects to a pair of duplex receptacles mounted to the bench.  It would have cost me $10 for twenty feet of flexible, extension-cord-grade 14-3 cable, plus the male plug. But I bought the 80 foot long 14 gauge extension cord for $14, and cut off the male end with twenty feet of cable for my workbench.

So all I had to do was add a replacement male plug to the cut-off cord and I gained a heavy-duty 60 foot cord that ultimately cost less than $4. Not bad economics. 

I started with the cut end of a heavy-gauge extension cord (this one was number 14 wire) and a plug rated for the same amperage (15 Amps).


The male plug came apart by removing three screws near the prongs.


The back side of the plug has a clamping mechanism that prevents the wires from being pulled out of their connections.


I loosened the three screws and removed the back section.

Note: This is a "heavy-duty" plug, which has the screw-on back section and uses better connection methods, which I'll explain later.

First, I slid the back section over the cord end.


I carefully slit the outer cable jacket with a sharp knife.


I removed about 1 inch of jacket material from the end. 

I always check to make sure that I have not cut the insulation on any wires.


After the paper filling material was cut off I spread the wires out too see if they would reach their respective connection terminals.


Using wire strippers, I stripped the insulation back about 1/2 inch on each of the three wires.


I twisted the strands of wire to keep them from fraying.


On cheaper replacement plugs the wire is wrapped around a screw, but this heavy duty plug uses a clamping device to hold the bare wire. Much better and worth the extra money.


I tightened each screw firmly. Then I tugged on each wire to test the connection.


There is a standard practice here, just like on receptacles (outlets):

  • White wire goes on the silver terminal.
  • Black wire goes on the gold terminal.
  • Green (or bare ground) wire goes on the green terminal.

Failure to follow this practice would be utterly stupid and possibly harmful.


The back section has a notch next to one (and only one) of the screw holes. This forces the installer to align the back section properly.


Similarly, there is a tab behind one of the screws.


I tightened each screw until it was snug, and then tightened each one again.


For the final step, I tightened the clamp screws on the back section. The cable has to be firmly held, not crushed !


The finished product after being tested.



Tools Used:

  • Screwdriver, Flat Blade
  • Sharp Knife
  • Wire Strippers

Materials Used:

  • Male Plug, Cost: $3.29
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Copyright © 1999, 2003  HammerZone.com

Written May 1999
Revised June 8, 2003