Overcurrent Protection for 16 AWG Extension Cords

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ElectroHydraulics engineer (retired)
Greenville SC
I'm not an electrician, but am pretty good at terminology. Can we consider the extension cord as a tap which would be protected either by inherent characteristics of the load (manufacturer 13 amp limit, or perhaps, not in this case, though, by an OCPD at the load end of the cord? I'm not sure I've seen the inherent characteristics used except with motors that are impedance protected, but?


Staff member
There is nothing in UL 817 that requires a specific rating for the branch circuit OCPD that protects the receptacle that the cord is plugged into. There are requirements in that document that say there must be a tag on the cord telling you not connect equipment to the cord where the load of the equipment exceeds the ampacity of the cord. There is also a permissive rule that permits the cord manufacturer to provide supplementary overcurrent protection as part of the cord assembly.
If UL 817 really intended to prohibit the use of a 13 amp cord on a 15 amp branch circuit, it would not permit the use of a 15 amp plug on that cord.
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