G R
Lv 7

Can i safely upgrade electrical cord on a portable AC to a higher gauge to lessen possible overheating/melting of contacts/terminals?

**My current portable AC units wires (2 of the 3) that connect to the terminals inside the unit must have been getting too hot and the end of the wires (with the little silver connectors attached to screws) fried. There are only 3 wires, the green was/is fine, but the white and black cooked at the ends.

the rest of the unit is fine i'm just wondering what caused it to do that, as it was fine the year or two before and would it be safe to do what i'm asking above?

Lx-140 soleusair portable

7 Answers

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  • 1 year ago

    Calculate the current draw by dividing the wattage by the voltage. Once you have determined the current, look on a wire gauge table to find the size wire it should have. A loose or corroded connection can also cause friction and burning of the terminal connection. 12-gauge wire can carry 20 amps while 14-gauge can carry 15 amps. Note that on the wire gauge table, the smaller the number the larger the wire diameter. In other words backwards from what a logical design would be.

  • y
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    Yes, yes you can, appliance are commonly wired with the least expensive option they can get away with. At times, for some units, they don't quite cut it. Changing them out will not hurt anything, the wires themselves are not part of any safety and such.

  • 1 year ago

    the unit may need to be serviced. this should not be happening. If it is running many, many hours a day, I can see this as possible. Since you say nothing about the load conditions, I can not advise further

  • paul h
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    What gauge size wire is the current power cord using? were the current connectors/terminals of the cord loose or corroded where they attach at the machine? What is the max power rating of the AC unit in amps? What is the amp rating of the circuit breaker/wiring for the outlet involved where you plug it in?

    Electrons flow on the surface area of wires and terminals so anything you can do to improve/increase the size of wiring or tighten/improve/solder connections will help lower any resistance in the wiring/connections to avoid overheating. I've done some rewiring on space heaters and portable AC units since manufacturers often go with marginal wiring/plug ends to lower their manufacturing costs and I've found that some can overheat with constant use.

    I would get a short 12 gauge extension cord (rated for 20 amp circuits) and cut it to the length of the old power cord of the AC unit or sightly shorter if you can (keeping the male plug end intact) and then solder some suitable ring terminals on the ends of the wires to attach to the machine terminals.Make sure the ring terminals are rated for 12 gauge/20 amp circuits...usually have yellow insulation jacket on the neck area. Soldering is better than a crimped connection since it spreads the area of contact between wire strands of the cord and the terminal and makes a more positive connection for electrons to flow. Make sure any terminal connections at the machine are tight...no stripped screws, bad crimps, not corroded, etc.. If the original power cord was 12 gauge wiring, then perhaps upgrade to a 10 gauge wire power cord to lower resistance.

    Also make sure the outlet/circuit you are plugging the machine into is rated for 20 amps which is common/ standard on most newer homes but some older homes may have electrical outlets/circuits rated at 15 amps which may be marginal for a high draw machine like a portable AC unit or space heater. Some AC units can draw 12 amps of current on highest operating settings.You want to keep the current draw at least 20 percent less than the amp rating of the circuit so say a 20 amp circuit would be best to draw only 16 amps at most in constant use items or total draw from other items on the circuit. A 15 amp circuit would be best to use only 12 amps at most to avoid overheating wiring or tripping.

    Run the AC unit at highest /max setting and feel the power cord...if it feels very hot, then you may have other issues with the machine drawing excessive current due to a bad compressor or another issue which is causing high resistance inside the machine.

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  • Joe
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    I'd want to know if the unit was drawing more current than it's supposed to. If there's something wrong with it, putting in a heavier power cord will just make the unit catch fire at a different spot.

    But I'm thinking that the wire gauge isn't the problem. Could be that the lugs on the ends are of poor quality, or were crimped on to the wires badly. You can buy new lugs and a (cheap) crimp tool at any home center, and install new lugs on the existing cable (cut back to good insulation). Easy and cheap.

  • Greg
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    Because you do not understand what the green wire is, take it to an appliance repair shop.

  • 1 year ago

    You can increase the gauge of the wire, that's never a bad thing. Normally they come with an adequate size wire. I wonder if the circuit it's on is causing a voltage drop, because it's in heavier use with other appliances.

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