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Author Topic: What's Romex 12/2 wire good for?  (Read 12990 times)
K3GHH
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« on: November 11, 2012, 02:03:31 PM »

Cleaning up the basement back room, I came across about 100' of "General Cable MT Romex UF 12/2 600v" cable, stiff stuff with two #12 solid conductors. Many years ago I put a 2-prong non-polarized plug on one end and a two-outlet socket on the other, so I must have used it as a long extension cord. I'm not sure I would want to use it that way today (I did a lot of things as a teenaged Novice I wouldn't do now)... but what IS it good for? 
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WB4SPT
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2012, 02:15:45 PM »

low voltage landscape lighting, if it's only 2 conductor.
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N2MG
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2012, 06:19:04 PM »

Typically, modern-day 12/2 has 3 wires  - two for the "power" and one more for earth ground.  You sure your cable does not have the ground?

UF is underground feeder - good for direct burial.

600V is typical rating for home wiring.


Mike N2MG
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W9GB
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2012, 08:57:11 PM »

Quote
I came across about 100' of "General Cable MT Romex UF 12/2 600v" cable, stiff stuff with two #12 solid conductors. What IS it good for?
Commonly found from 1960s to early 1980s.  
NEC 1965 and 1970 code changes (Green safety ground for USA) really ended its widespread usage.  It can be used for single light switch runs, but new light switches with metal frames also have a safety ground wire.

You could strip out the 12 AWG conductors and build a 80 meter 1/2-wave dipole.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2012, 03:59:51 AM »

If that romex cable has a plastic covering, the third wire is probably there.  Strip back a few inches of the covering from one end.  If it doesn't, it isn't suitable for much of anything.  Of course, you could add a 12 gauge green insulated wire to it and use it as you would any 12-2 romex with ground, but the use of just 12-2 wire today is against code for any home wiring.
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NA4IT
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2012, 04:38:20 AM »

So you have 100 foot of 2 conductor 12ga romex? Strip the outer jacket completely from it. Now you have 2 100 foot 12ga wires. Make up a center insulator and two end insulator from a piece of PVC pipe. Add enough ladder line to reach from your house the where you would install you antenna you just made, and get on the air. If you don't have a ladder line capable tuner, add a 4:1 balun at the tuner with a short piece of coax.
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K3GHH
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2012, 05:16:33 AM »

Good comments, guys...

N2MG: Thanks for the identification, but yes, there's no third conductor. This is old wire, probably from the late 1950s when I was a Novice. I probably bought it, with paper-route earnings, to use as a cheap, long, extension cord.

W9GB and K1CGS: Please be assured that I have NO intention of using this for house wiring! I found a copy of Richter's "Practical Electrical Wiring" that identifies this as "nonmetallic-sheathed cable" and, IIRC, reports that code changes in 1962 made it illegal for use in house wiring.

WB4SPT: Thanks, but we have no low-voltage outdoor lighting. NA4IT: I'm pretty well antenna'd... but I'm aware of current wire prices and appreciate having a couple of hundred feet of nice solid-conductor #12 available whenever I want to put in the labor!

One further question: Since plenty of modern extension cords have only 2 conductors (with polarized plugs and sockets), could I wire a modern two-prong polarized plug and sockets to this cable? Its function would, of course, be the one that modern commercial extension cords are supposed to serve: a temporary expedient.
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KE3WD
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2012, 09:27:05 AM »

Why strip the wires out of the jacket? 

you've got the makings of a Cobra antenna there...

Big sig, smaller space available. 

As inverted vee, can make a great 'stateside' net control antenna on 80 or 40...

Google it.


73
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W9GB
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2012, 09:36:55 AM »

Quote
Since plenty of modern extension cords have only 2 conductors (with polarized plugs and sockets), could I wire a modern two-prong polarized plug and sockets to this cable?
Its function would, of course, be the one that modern commercial extension cords are supposed to serve: a temporary expedient.
Actually, except for 18 or 16 AWG home lamp extension cords (no more than 6 to 9 feet in length) it is RARE to find NEMA 1-15 connectors on extension cords.
Some GFCI protection is found on 2-conuctor, BUT it must be marked as such.

NEMA 5-15 is most common.
http://www.nooutage.com/nema_configurations.htm
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KE4DRN
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2012, 05:21:09 PM »

#12 Romex is good for 20 Amps

73 james
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W5DQ
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2012, 08:23:43 AM »

Cleaning up the basement back room, I came across about 100' of "General Cable MT Romex UF 12/2 600v" cable, stiff stuff with two #12 solid conductors. Many years ago I put a 2-prong non-polarized plug on one end and a two-outlet socket on the other, so I must have used it as a long extension cord. I'm not sure I would want to use it that way today (I did a lot of things as a teenaged Novice I wouldn't do now)... but what IS it good for? 

It's good for about $3.403 per pound at today's SPOT price for COPPER.

http://www.kitcometals.com/charts/copper.html

Gene W5DQ
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
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