Why did my cable melt?

I have a water distiller plugged into an extension cord. It uses a 3 pin/3 prong cord. I used to have it plugged into a smaller gauge extension cord until I noticed a plastic burn smell, so I bought a large gauge extension cable which seemed to have resolved the issue. Now it seems that it has melted where the two cables connect! I understand that there is resistance there causing non-conductive material to become conductive, but how can I know if the issue is because of the machine, because of the cable or because of the power coming from the outlet. Thank you for your help community!


Update (02/24/2019)

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Back panel of the water distiller: http://starsound-kontinuum.com/wp-conten...

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Cable provided with machine: http://starsound-kontinuum.com/wp-conten...

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Burnt extension cord:http://starsound-kontinuum.com/wp-conten...

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按维修分数 1


Your very lucky you didn't set your house on fire!

Hi @izzycarus ,

What is the power rating on the water distiller model information plate?

This should give you the current rating of the extension cable necessary to handle the current flow required.

e.g if the power used by the distlller is 580 watts and the mains supply is 120 Volts then the current required is 4.83 Amps.

The wall outlet is capable of supplying it but perhaps the extension cable is not capable of carrying it.

It is not a case of resistance causing the material to become conductive.

Where there is resistance to current flow there is power dissipation which generates heat.

If the extension cable cannot handle the required amount of current due to insufficient cross section area of the wires this also causes the build up of heat, which causes resistance which causes heat until the cable melts.

This is the principle of how a fuse works.

Find a suitably rated extension cable which can handle the necessary current to supply the distiller. Always err on the high side of what is required (i.e. add a bit to be safe) that way the cable doesn't become a fuse

The cord from the distiller which the manufacturer has connected (provided?) will be of the correct rating. They don't want to start fires by using the incorrect wiring. Bad for business ;-)

@jayeff - Its more than just the cords rating, Any break in the pathway adds resistance and the terminations as well. Thats why the connectors melted Vs the cord its self. The voltage of the device also has a bearing (220 Vs 120).

Hi @danj ,

I'm always forgetting to state the obvious (obvious to me that is) that such things as a poor termination of the wires of the cable in the cable plug (or even an incorrectly rated plug) can also cause problems.

As you say, voltage is a consideration but assumed that the extension cable and its' plug/socket voltage rating insulation specifications but maybe in this case perhaps not its' current rating would have be suitable for the location it was being used in, but I guess that I shouldn't assume anything.

Cheers ;-)


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Here’s how to select an extension cord. 15 Amps is a very heavy load.

Choosing a Safe Electrical Extension Cord



按维修分数 3

There is a big difference between line cords and in the wall wiring!

Cords use stranded wire where flex is important but they don’t handle high current loads over 4~5 ft. In the wall wiring is solid core wire which can offer the current, it’s not flexible!

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Your device is using to much current for the extension and the inter-connection! You need to get an electrician in to place a proper outlet near your water distiller device. The shorter the line cord the better and no extensions!


按维修分数 2


So the appliance reads:

120V 50/60Hz 14A 1650W.

The cord reads:




So regardless of that, the cord could not handle the current over the 16 feet it had to go?

@izzycarus - Yes! The cord is way to long given the current draw.

As I've stated, you'll need to get an electrician in to setup a new outlet with dedicated 20 Amp for this one drop back to the breaker panel (with AFCI/GFI breaker). Depending on the distance to the breaker panel you'll need 10/3 or 12/3 ROMEX. Any device that has a heating element tends to pull a lot of current.

As an example: If you where using a portable heater just turning it on for 10 minutes to warm up a bathroom then you would be OK. But, using it for hours on end would be very dangerous!

But, thats not what a distiller does! Here you are boiling water for hours at a time so the length of time builds up the heat in the cord and the connectors each minute loading up more and more heat until the connectors and/or cord fail.



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