Having decided to finally commit to text this blog that has existed in my head for some time, I hunted down my ancient netbook (my goodness, 7 years old). I pulled it out of the little blue padded bag it has spent much of that time in, plugged it in, and remembered – ah yes! The cord was chewed in half.
The sweet bunny chewed the cord some time ago. Nibbling wires is a household hazard to both households and rabbits. Fortunately Pepper was not harmed by her gastronomic misadventures. On to the fix.
I’m an afficianado of our local chain of dollar stores, The Dollar Tree. They have a way of keeping their inventory fresh, rotating items in and out. By this I mean, whenever there is something I know I will need, it languishes in stock just long enough for me to believe it will always be there. I sent Cat Man to pick up a wire stripper, and he sadly reported back that there was a perfect wire-stripper-shaped spot in the display and no more in stock. Argh! Off the Cave Cat went to the Home Depot, where he acquired far fancier wire strippers at the retail price of nearly $6.
Splicing wires is one of the many feral skills my mother taught me as a child. It’s been a while since I had such a need, and I admit I was thrown for a loop (teehee) to realize that the two wires in a cord are no longer side-by-side, but layered like an onion (OGRES ARE LIKE ONIONS!). A few more steps are required, but here is the procedure:
HOW TO SPLICE A LAYERED (ROUND) POWER CABLE
1) Cut the damaged cord off on both sides. As you can see, Pepper bit the cord in half once and chewed through the insulation a few inches away. I cut about 2 inches back from each damaged spot.
2) Gently press the wire stripper into the insulation several inches away from the cut. Pull the insulation until the cut separates. Slide that section of insulation off or peel it with your fingernails.
3) Gather the strands of the outer wire and twist them away from the inside insulation, being careful not to break any.
4)Choose a spot to cut the inner insulation. You want to leave space between the two insulation cuts, but also leave enough bare wire to work with easily. Again, gently press the wire stripper into the insulation and pull it away as you did before.
5) Repeat all steps for the other piece of cable.
6) Take the inner cord (in photos, the white one) and, overlapping the copper by a few inches, twist the wires together. Try to make sure each wire touches wires from the other side of the cut.
7) Wrap the twisted wire in electrical tape. Make sure to completely cover all the copper with substantial overlap. If the inner and outer wires touch you will wind up with a short-circuit and have to start over!
8) Take the two outer wires that you twisted off to the side before. Gently twist them together as you did with the inner wires. Don’t bother trying to recreate the concentric circles, just make an old-fashioned parallel line. Pull it as tight as you reasonably can and wrap in electrical tape.
9) Examine the two new wires for any gaps or loose parts of the electrical tape. If in doubt, layer it on.
10) Tape the two wires together. I wrapped the entire section once in a coil, then wrapped it the long way with two strips.
If your computer is as old as mine, take the next 24 hours to update Windows and strip all non-essential software off. I wound up with security software, a light freeware word processor, and a web browser. I also ordered a 2GB memory stick.
Type back at me!