Using Mini Cord Online Switch On An Extension Cord ?

Messages
55
I have some of those tiny Christmas tree lights plugged into an extension cord. The lights use a non-polarized plug and as I'm sure most of you who are familiar with them know that they have no on/off switch, you just plug them in if you want the lights to be on.

I want to add one of those Leviton mini cord rotary switches to the extension cord to make it more convenient to turn the lights on and off than plugging or unplugging the extension cord.

I was all ready to install the switch on the extension cord according to the directions and it has a warning DO NOT use on extension cords.
The instructions note to make sure to cut the non-ribbed section of the cord, so I take that as meaning that the switch is for polarized cords, and that is the type which I have.

What is the issue or safety problem with installing a rotary on/off switch on an extension cord ? The cord is about 6' long and the lights that are plugged into them are about 10 feet long and I'm sure pretty low voltage. I sure don't want to burn down the house.
 
Messages
1,204
Location
Hudson valley
Yes the ribbed should be the neutral so the non ribbed is the “hot” for safety you always want to switch the “hot”. For reasons not installing on extension cords could be when you install the inline rotary switch you’re cutting the hot and then stabbing “pinching” the wire which has very little surface area therefore I would think the least amount of amperage that can be pulled through the switch is kept to a minimum.
 
Messages
15,185
Location
NE,Ohio
why not just get an extension cord that has a foot switch or smart switch etc.

or use a pass-through type switch
 
Messages
1,004
Location
Arizona
For like $15 at wallyworld they have a 4 pack of wireless outlet switches and a small remote that controls them. sit on the couch sipping eggnog and light up everything
 
Messages
35,989
Location
ME
They don't want you plugging a space heater into this mess.

If you put the switch on the neutral, you could have a lamp "off" to change the bulb, but zap your finger touching the middle contact while standing on a ground, sending current through your heart. They don't know how you're going to use this thing.
 

DwightFrye

Thread starter
Messages
55
Understood about the manufacturer not wanting the switch installed on an extension cord that may be used with an appliance with a high current draw. The switch installs by having tiny prongs bite through the positive wire insulation when you tighten down the screw. I imagine that the switch wouldn't handle a lot of juice flowing through it.
The switch packaging says it is rated 6A-125V, 3A-125 T. What does the "T" mean ?
Anyway, if I am careful to maintain the polarity when installing the switch, is it safe with a low draw item like a string of those micro Christmas tree lights ?
I already have the switch and don't want to go out and buy an additional cord or outlet device.
 
Messages
2,879
Location
USA
"T" rating means Tungsten light bulbs which is what you have. They have a high inrush current.

Light duty 2 wire flat extension cords often have wonky tinned/bonded wire compared to the regular stranded copper wire in lamp cords. Note the label on the extension cord says "Not for frequent flexing".
 
Messages
1,027
Location
dayton oh
but a space heater will melt that switch.
for liability reasons they just say no extension cords as they are expected to support the full 15a of a branch circuit.
 
Top