How To Fix A Broken Plug
We all have favourite electronics – whether it’s a gaming console, television, or simply a trusty extension cord, a broken plug puts a damper on things. Before you throw out the whole thing, though, it is possible to replace them yourself. However, it’s important to know your limitations here, as the process is ever so slightly involved.
Broken plugs can be replaced at home for a fraction of the price it would cost to replace the entire device. All it takes is a little bit of technical know-how and 15-20 minutes of your time.
Keep reading to learn how to easily and quickly replace a broken plug on just about any type of electronic device.
Repairing a Broken Plug 101
First things first, this is a process that will require a few special tools and a bit of know-how. If you don’t feel comfortable working with wiring, just replace the device or purchase a new power cord for it.
While you could get lucky and do everything properly, messing up the wiring for the cord you’re trying to replace could have larger consequences than the few bucks you saved by trying to replace just the plug. You risk damaging internal electronics of the device, as well as electrical fires if done very poorly.
With the obligatory warnings out of the way, let’s get to it, shall we?
We’re going to assume you don’t want to (or don’t know how to) solder electronics. If you do, you can certainly use those skills to help in the process, though we won’t be discussing that in this article.
First, you need to figure out where the damage to your plug is on the wiring. Is it near the base (where the plug attaches to the cord) or somewhere farther along? Additionally, you’ll need to get the closest possible match to the plug you currently have. This means finding one with the same number of prongs and the same amp rating. If you’re unsure of the amp rating, it’s generally written along the side of the plug.
If you can’t find the proper match, you’ll need to either solder the new plug on or simply replace the whole thing.
Before getting into it, you’ll want to assemble your tools. These are going to be:
- Your new plug replacement
- Screwdriver (Phillips head is most likely, look at your plug to see)
- Electrical tape
Next, unplug the device and give it a few seconds to ensure there’s no charge in the wiring. There’s no need to electrocute yourself over a simple plug, right? I recommend unplugging the device first and then collecting your materials.
Once you’ve located the damaged parts of the wiring, look for major breaks in the insulation, burn marks, and the like. These are parts that will need to be fully replaced. If your cord is entirely broken or heavily damaged, it cannot be safely rejoined – so don’t try it. If there’s minor damage, continue down the list.
Wrap minor damage (scratches on the wiring, thin spots, etc.) in a liberal amount of electrical tape. Next, figure out exactly where you need to screw in your replacement cord cap to see where the wire fits.
If there are no labels, the black wire connects to the orange brass screw. The white wire will connect to the silver screw, and the green ground wires connect to the green screw. Alternatively, you may have a brown wire instead of black, blue instead of white, and yellow instead of green – it varies on where you live.
Now we move on to replacing the cap itself!
Now it’s essentially colour matching and playing arts and crafts – you know, the fun bit!
After you’ve removed the old cap, reattach the wires to their corresponding terminals in the new plug. Do this by wrapping the wires one by one clockwise around the proper terminal. Most plugs will have small notches that allow the wires to fit snugly into place, so use them if yours has them.
Turn the screws clockwise with your screwdriver to tighten the wires to the cap. Ensure that all wires are tight and in their place. Loose wires could cause a short circuit and all other manners of shenaniganry that is entirely unwanted in this project. Additionally, any loose wires getting caught in another screw could cause the connection to not quite work.
Slide the other half of the plug housing over the cord and onto the cap. It should fit snugly and keep all wires covered – if not, something is amiss and you’ll need to figure out what went wrong.
Once it’s in place properly, tighten the screws on the outside of the plug cap.
Be careful not to over tighten them, as it could damage the casing or wires underneath – you want it just tight enough to keep everything secure.
Now it’s time to test your work. Locate an outlet that you’re certain works, and ensure power to the outlet is off. Now, connect the new plug and turn the power back on once it’s secured into place.
If you notice anything out of the ordinary, such as smoke or a hissing sound, turn off your power immediately – do this at the breaker, not by unplugging the cord.
If this hasn’t solved the problem, but everything seems in order, it could be the outlet itself, or the wiring in your home. Replace the device and if nothing changes, call an electrician to check things out.
While replacing a plug is theoretically easy, there are a lot of small factors to keep in mind. Ensuring you have the wiring assembled properly is vital to both your health and safety, as well as the performance of your device.
If you’re not comfortable with rewiring something like this, it’s likely better to just purchase a new cord or device. In fact, you can find a list of the best wifi smart plugs available today right here! Maybe this is a sign it’s time to make a jump to the 21st century?
You don’t want to accidentally cause a fire or damage your home or device – so just be careful, okay?