Electrical Cords: Size Does Matter

Powered equipment offers many time-saving advantages on a job site and can be a great way to increase efficiency and keep your project on schedule. Whether you find yourself using air or electric-powered equipment, ensuring the proper supply is the first and most important step toward maintaining consistent function of your hoist. Today, we will focus our attention on the most commonly overlooked issue facing electric-powered devices and can discuss requirements and common issues on air-powered equipment at a later date.

One of the most common issues we encounter when renting out electric hoists and other equipment is the use of undersized extension cords. A good rule of thumb is to use the shortest and thickest gauge extension cord. Below is a chart we send out with every rental for electrical equipment to assist in selecting the proper extension cord.

Extension Cord Requirements NOTICE – Minimum Wire Cord

Extension Cord length (ft.) Current At Full Load (Amps)
12 14 16 18 20 22 24
0′ – 25′ 16 16 16 14 14 14 14
25′ – 50′ 14 12 12 12 12 10 10
51′ – 100′ 10 10 10 8 8 8 8
101′ – 150′ 8 8 8 8

T-500_v1 Extension Cords

As you can see above, the longer the extension cord, the larger the gauge cord is required. Often times, if a customer notices that a hoist makes a humming or buzzing noise but won’t operate or will lower but not lift, odds are, it’s an electrical problem stemming from not enough amperage at the unit. A 1 or 2-ton electric hoist operates off of 115 VAC and requires up to 24 Amps at full load. Using the chart above to ensure enough current is running to the hoist, assuming you are using a 50-foot extension cord, you would need to employ the use of a 10-gauge extension cord.

While there may be something else causing an issue, the best first course of action is to check the power flow at the source and then at the other end of your extension cord to see if power loss would resolve the issue before getting into other troubleshooting steps or shutting the job down while waiting for a replacement. More often than not, a simple change in extension cord, whether shortening the distance or stepping up the gauge, can get your project moving ahead.

We strongly recommend the correct gauge extension cord be on site so the hoist functions properly. We have seen customers that have used undersized electrical cords that were lifting loads considerably lower than the rated load and, while that worked for them, it is more likely that your hoist may encounter issues during operation.

For questions concerning any of our equipment or for quotes on any equipment needs for your projects, please reach out to your local representative or contact us at 800-878-7305 to speak with one of our rental desk representatives.

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