Thanks to one of my precious pups, I learned a new skill last night. It’s called “splicing,” and you use it to repair a chord after your dog chews it in half. My dog happened to chew through the power cord on my sewing machine. Lucky for me, I discovered it after I’d been working all day, for hours, on all the boring prep-work (measuring, cutting, piecing, pinning). I had finally gotten to the fun part, the actual sewing. When my machine wouldn’t turn on, I had to investigate. I pulled up the power cord from behind my sewing table, only to discover it had been amputated. I felt like one of the guys from Jaws, pulling a friend out of the water only to discover…
It was devastating. I literally cried. A lot. It was kind of pathetic, but I at least partially blame late pregnancy hormones and exhaustion.
I thought I’d have to buy a new presser foot/power chord, but after posting about it on facebook, my aunt told me about splicing. My husband, who was out of town with the kids (hence the reason I was able to spend all day on a sewing project), wanted me to do it myself. He used the word “twist couplers,” and I was like, nope. Not gonna happen. I might have done it if he wouldn’t be home for days, but he was coming back later that night, so I decided to wait for him.
He did it for me, but I watched, I learned, and I feel confident that I could now do it myself with ease. He spent an hour researching the orientation of the wires, as the dogs had chewed them to the point of unmatchable, so I thought that if I could save you some time, and describe the process here, then maybe you could do it yourself, too. (Sorry for the crummy pics. Since my husband was doing the actual work, I didn’t feel right making him wait between each step for me to set up lighting and such for the perfect shot.)
Wire strippers or an exacto knife (a pairing knife would work, too)
Twist couplers (don’t freak out, you can find them at Walmart or the hardware store–just ask someone)
1. Strip the wires. That’s just fancy talk for peeling back the rubber that covers the actual wire. You want your wire to be exposed enough on both pieces that you can can reattach them by twisting the wires together. As you can see in the pic above, my husband only did about 1.5-2 cm. You can do as much as an inch or two if it will make you more comfortable.
2. Match the wires correctly. You have 2 wires connected together, like a zipper. (If you have a different kind of cord, like a for cell phone, or one with 3 prongs, then this isn’t the tutorial for you.) One of the wires is the “hot” wire, and one is the “neutral”. The hot wire is where most of the power comes from, and the neutral is what keeps it “grounded”. My husband throws those terms around, and I’ve never really been sure what they mean, but here’s how I understand it: having your electronics “grounded” is the difference between standing in a lightning storm up high in a tree holding an umbrella, vs lying in a ditch next to flat ground. Obviously, you want to be in the ditch. It’s safe there. (If you didn’t know that about lightning storms, then your welcome for potentially saving your life.)
Here’s how you figure out which wire goes where. Run your fingernail around each side of the wires (over the rubber). One wire will have ridges running the entire length of it, and one will be smooth. The one with ridges is your “neutral” wire. The neutral wire feeds into the side of the plug with the fat prong. The smooth wire is your “hot” wire. The hot wire feeds into the side of the plug with the skinny prong. There is usually print (numbers and letters) on the smooth, or hot wire, just so you can be doubly sure.
3. Twist the appropriate wires together. Look at the pic above Step 1 to see what this looks like. Do it on both sides.
4. Twist on the “coupler.” You just screw it on, just like a cap. It even looks like a cap, with threads on the inside and all. Do this on both sides as well.
5. Reinforce with electrical tape. Don’t leave any wire exposed, and wrap until you feel it’s all secure.
There you have it. Now you should have all the info you need to fix a standard power cord. I hope this helps!
And let’s not disregard the moral of the story: Never trust a puppy.