The Illegal use of aluminium cabtyre in the South African market.

Several types of products, commonly found in homes and industry, are fitted with integrally moulded plugs at the end of a length of flexible electric cable, referred to as “cabtyre”. These products typically include:

  • Cord Sets (Plug and cord)
  • Interconnection Cord Set (Plug, cord and connector)
  • Cord Extension Sets (Plug, cord and socket outlet)
  • Extension reels. (Plug, cord on a reel assembly and socket outlet).


What are the Legal requirements:

South Africa has Compulsory Specifications, issued by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), for many electrical products which specify the technical and administrative requirements in order for these (compulsory listed) products to be sold legally in our market. The purpose of these regulations is aimed at the protection of consumers, ordinary people, in their homes and places of work.

In the case of the products listed above, the specification is:


VC8029 Compulsory specification for cord sets, interconnection cord sets, and cord extension sets. (Gazetted: 3 Feb 2012 Nr 34983 – R 69 – In terms of the NRCS Act 5 of 2008)

Which lists the following standards to be complied with:

  • SANS 60799: Cord sets and interconnection cord sets.
  • SANS 1661: Cord extension sets (which includes extension reels)

These standards also list the applicable standards for components i.e.:

SANS 164-0: Plug and socket-outlet systems for household and similar purposes for use in South Africa  
SANS 1574-2: Electric flexible cables with solid extruded dielectric insulation – Part 2: PVC insulated flexible cables for domestic, office and similar environments (cords).  
SANS 60320: Appliance couplers for household and similar general purposes.  


What do the specifications say about the cables?

In all the above specifications, they mention that the cable standard shall be either SANS 1574-2 or its IEC equivalent SANS(IEC) 60277 and specifically the composition of the cores (current carrying thin wires making up each core) shall be annealed copper, for class 5 types of cables, which are deemed “flexible”


Why is this important?

The desireable characteristics of the cabtyre is twofold:

  • It must have low resistance and
  • It must withstand flexing operations.

Cable resistance is stated in the resistivity of the conductors where:

Copper 1.0 mm2 section is 19.5 W/m, whereas Aluminium is around 40 W/m (depending on the Aluminium alloy) 

Which means that at the rated current of 10A the heating effect on the Aluminium cabtyre will be 2.5 times higher.


Quick and easy test for Aluminium conductors:

The proper method of determining the material composition of conductors would require an appropriate metallurgical and chemical analysis, however there is a “quick-and-easy” method that immediately produces a clue as to whether or not the material is copper.

Each core of the 2 or 3 core cabtyre is stripped of its PVC covering in order to expose roughly 20mm of the bare metal strands.


The strands are fanned out and a flame (match or gas lighter) is brought under the fanned strands.


COPPER will glow bright red but remain in their fanned position



ALUMINIUM strands will quickly collapse under the flame.


Flexing test (not quick or easy!)

Since Aluminium has a Tensile Strength 38% that of Copper, the flexural performance of cabtyre made up with Aluminium strands will inevitably be less robust than a cabtyre made up with Copper strands. This is recognized in all standards as for example IEC 60228: Conductors of insulated cables; Under Class 5: Flexible conductors; Clause 6.1 states:

  1. a) Flexible conductors (class 5 and 6) shall consist of plain or metal-coated annealed copper.

Cable flex testing is described under SANS 60884-1; Clause 23.4 where a sample of a non-rewireable plug connected to a PVC cable is tested in an apparatus as follows:

  The flexing apparatus clamps the plug in such a way that the cable is flexed through an arc of 90o whilst the free end of the cable is loaded with a mass of 20N (2 kg) for a cable size ³ 0.75 mm2.

The plug circuit is connected to a low voltage supply and a small current is passed through all the conductors in order to measure continuity during the flexing test. If there is a break in continuity the test is stopped, and the sample deemed to have FAILED

The test is conducted for 10,000 oscillation at the rate of 60 flexings per minute.


Copper 1.0 mm2 section – withstands this without any difficulty

Aluminium – has a high failure rate where the core strands shear off, either in part or in full.

Which means that the aluminium cabtyre can either open circuit or progressively heat up to the point of burning.



There is no doubt that the use Aluminium conductors in cabtyre is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. The notion that this is a “cost-saving” initiative is invalid as it must be offset against a significantly reduced safety levels of the electrical products mentioned.

Industry 4.0 – A Simple Explanation

Some dismiss Industry 4.0 as the latest marketing buzzword, but this has changed the manufacturing industry in the last few years. The shifts that are happening in the manufacturing industry due to Industry 4.0 deserves our attention.

The digitization of the manufacturing process has led to a significant transformation in the way that we produce products. The transformation in the industry is so compelling that it is being called Industry 4.0 to represent the fourth industrial revolution that has occurred in manufacturing. The third industrial revolution was defined by the addition of computers and automation to the manufacturing process, but the fourth revolution takes this a step further with the addition of smart systems using data and AI or machine learning.


How will Industry 4.0 affect the future?

The addition of computers and automation to the manufacturing process was quite disruptive as this meant the addition of entirely new technology. With these systems already in place, it will be easier to upgrade systems, instead of having to install entirely new ones. The aim is to have computers connected and communicating with one another to make decisions without human involvement.

A combination of cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (the extension of internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects) and the Internet of Systems make Industry 4.0 possible. This can bring the dream of a smart factory into reality as a result of smart machines constantly learning more as they get access to more and more data. Our factories will become more efficient and less wasteful.


How could Industry 4.0 be applied to manufacturing today?

Opportunities can be identified that were not possible before. All connected machines in the network will collect a tremendous amount of data which can be used to inform maintenance, performance and other departments or issues.

Wiring a Plug

A Step by Step Guide to Wiring a Plug:


  1. Bare the ends of the three wires inside the electrical cord for about half a centimeter, by cutting away the plastic insulation.

  2. Gently twist the strands of copper wire with your fingers until each strand is tight.

  3. Fold over the twisted strands.

  4. Remove the plug cover by either “snapping” or unscrewing it.

  5. Unscrew the little screws on each of the plug’s pins.

  6. Insert the twisted copper wires into the holes in the pins.

  7. The green and yellow wire must always be inserted into the top pin.

  8. The blue wire is inserted into the left pin (the pin is marked with a blue spot or the letter N).

  9. The brown wire is inserted into the right pin (the pin is marked with a brown spot or the letter L)

  10. Tighten the little screw on each of the plug’s pins.

  11. Make sure the electrical cord is firmly gripped by the arrestor clips.

  12. Replace the cover of the plug.


Step 1

Bare the ends of the three wires inside the electrical cord for about half a centimeter, by cutting away the plastic insulation.


Step 2

Gently twist the strands of copper wire with your fingers until each strand is tight. Fold over the twisted strands.


Step 3

Remove the plug cover by either “snapping” or unscrewing it.


Step 4

Unscrew the little screws on each side of the plug’s pins.


Step 5

Insert the twisted copper wires into the holes in the pins. The brown wire is inserted into the right pin (the pin is marked with a brown spot or the letter L)


Step 6

Tighten the little screw on each of the plug’s pins.


Step 7

Make sure the electrical cord is firmly gripped by the arrestor clips. The green and yellow wire must always be inserted into the top pin. The blue wire is inserted into the left pin (the pin is marked with a blue spot or the letter N).


Step 8

Replace the cover of the plug.

Original Article available here.

This is how much it will cost to take your home off the grid – and avoid load shedding forever

  • Business Insider approached renewable energy solutions companies to see how much it would cost to go off the grid right now.
  • For a standard four-person family home, using around 25kWh per day, you could expect to pay around R200,000.
  • That will give you a solar system with a lifespan of between 25 and 40 years.

While Eskom has managed to stave off load shedding for a handful of days this week, experts are warning that South Africa will struggle with electricity provision for many more years given a myriad of problems at the utility, including shoddy maintenance.

For those too frustrated to deal with that kind of pain, off-grid home solutions won’t come cheap – but they are no longer entirely beyond the reach of an upper-middle-class family either.

Business Insider South Africa approached various renewable energy solutions companies to see how much it would cost to go off the grid.

Prices vary depending on what your electricity usage is, but for standard four-person family home you could expect to pay around R200,000 – without taking government rebates into account.

 According to Paul Lombard from energy solutions company Regenergy, a fundamental challenge to renewable energy has been the upfront costs. But these days, most companies offer monthly installment plans to allow users to pay off the investment over anything up to 15 or even 25 years.
“Many customers feel that the pride and peace of mind of solar ‘pays for itself’ as soon as the system powers on, and they can remotely monitor and adjust their system on their smart phone app,” said Lombard.


These are the key components to move your house over to solar energy:

Solar panels

As a rough guide, a 1 kilowatt (kW) solar array takes up about 8m2 of space on your roof. This can produce about 3-5 kilowatts hours of energy (kWh) per day depending on the angle and direction the panels face. Solar panels are typically installed facing north in South Africa, in order to maximise exposure to the sun’s rays.

You will need to replace today’s panels every 25 to 40 years.

Battery storage

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Key to going off the grid is a battery storage unit. Newer battery types have been able to push the limits to improve storage for longer periods as well as stand up to more recharges before running out of steam, two of the major problems with home installations to date.

“Lithium batteries need replacing every 8 to 10 years, especially in hotter parts of our country. Typical solar deep cycle batteries like lead, calcium or other AGM [absorbed glass mat] batteries only provide 1,500 to 2,500 recharges. These ‘old school’ batteries require replacing every 3 to 5 years,” said Lombard.

Inverter and/or charge controller

Batteries produce output power in direct current (DC) form, which can run at very low voltages but cannot be used to run most modern household appliances. Utility companies and generators produce sine wave alternating current (AC) power, which is used by most commonly available appliances today. Inverters take the DC power supplied by a storage battery bank and convert it to AC power.

You can expect your inverter and/or charge controller to have 10 to 15 years of operation.

We asked 3 companies to give us cost estimates, based on some typical home installations. Here’s how they stacked up.

Business Insider approached a wide array of the many providers of home solar systems in South Africa. Some said they were too busy to deal with vague inquiries, and others never responded.

Those who got back to us offered different types of hardware and services that affected their pricing. In addition, each home is slightly different, and every family have slightly different power requirements, all of which will influence the system they use.

Nonetheless, the three companies that gave us broad-stroke proposals give some idea of the range you can expect to pay to take a home off the grid right now: between R150,000 and R350,000.

Here’s what each of the three companies quoted us.


2 person home using 15kWh/day – R152,000

4 person home using 25kWh/day –  R270,600

5 person home using +35kWh/day – R359, 790


10kW (29 – 46kWh) average 4 bedroom home  – R215,000

15kW (75kW) 5+ bedroom – R240, 000


10kW 2-4 bedroom home – R249,669 (excluding Vat)

15kW 5 + bedroom home – R349,669 (excluding Vat)

If you feel that a full off-the-grid solution is too much, there are also other options. Björn Potgieter of SolarConnect, says they can provide a grid back up system using solar electricity for R120,000 of for R49,500 a basic back up that excludes powering stove, geysers, air conditioning.


Original Article published on on March 27, 2019.

Eskom: No load shedding anticipated this week

No load shedding is anticipated this week, as there have been improvements in the electricity system, Eskom said.

The power utility issued an update on the power system, on Sunday evening via its Twitter account.

“No load shedding anticipated this week due to the electricity system gradually improving,” Eskom tweeted.

According to a statement from Eskom, the power system is still “vulnerable” and load shedding could still be implemented, but only when “absolutely necessary”.

Eskom stopped implementing load shedding from 23:00 on Saturday evening, for the first time in more than a week, Fin24 reported.

The power utility had introduced Stage 4 load shedding on Saturday, March 16. Apart from plant failures, a contributing factor was the cyclone in Mozambique which affected imports of 900 MW from the country’s Cahora Bassa dam.

But earlier on Sunday, the power utility issued a statement indicating that five units had returned to service since Friday, and imports from Mozambique had increased to 850 MW due to the restoration of one of the power lines. The second line could take several months to restore, Eskom said.

“Employees continue to work around the clock to restore stability to operations and supply,” Eskom said.

At a briefing on the electricity crisis, earlier this week CEO Phakamani Hadebe said Eskom has set aside R50bn over the next five years for maintenance as ageing infrastructure is unable to keep up with electricity demand.

There had been a decline in spending on maintenance in the last few years and the previous administration at Eskom had pushed the power system hard to keep the lights on, he explained.

The government recently appointed 11 industry specialists to a technical review team. The team is conducting a review of Eskom’s operations, technical environment and maintenance to get to the bottom of plant failures, which have caused the recent bout of load shedding.


Original article first appeared on Fin24 on March 24, 2019.

Why Do Family Businesses Succeed In Difficult Times?

Despite the current economic uncertainty and the accelerating pace of change, South Africa’s family business sector has high ambitions for quick and aggressive growth over the next five years. At a time when other businesses are struggling to create revenue, around 78% of South African family businesses reported growth in the last 12 months, and 62% are expecting to grow steadily over the next five years.

So what is it that makes family business so resilient and successful in difficult times ?
According to Entrepreneur Magazine there are 4 forces that drive this success:

1. Family Unity

Unified families have a much easier time adapting to change and typically put family and business interests ahead of their own self interests.

2. More Than Just Money

Successful families are committed to a set of values beyond just financial gain.
Establishing a core set of values gives family members a sense of purpose and the opportunity to commit to something greater than themselves.

3. A Unified Vision

Successful families

• Align strategy with the values and vision of family ownership
• Strategically plan for the business on a regular basis
• Build an independent board to provide accountability

4. Preparing The Next Generation

Investing in the next generation is a must. Successful multigenerational families invest in the next generations by:

• Helping them match skill/passion to work (regardless of whether or not that work is in- or outside the business)
• Preparing them to be responsible owners
• Holding those working for the business accountable for their performance
• Educating them about the challenges of leadership

Below I have attached a survey done by the PWC on family business in South Africa and abroad which will give you greater insight into the dynamics and challenges faced by family businesses.…/publica…/family-business-survey.html

Apex Cordset Technologies Pty (Ltd) is a family business that was founded in 1986 and employs over 700 people. We believe that our stakeholders are all part of our extended family which has been the cornerstone of our survival and success over the years. Thank you for being a part of our family.

Lean Six Sigma


Lean Six Sigma is a structured methodology and flexible managerial concept combining Lean and Six Sigma. It is a concept that requires a collaborative effort from the entire company to improve business process performance and reduce waste and variation delighting customers with improved quality and a consistent flow. This approach reduces costs and drives performance to a new level by making breakthrough improvements.

The methodology also provides a framework for the overall organisational change of a company. Lean Six Sigma reduces costs for the supplier and the customer eliminating rework across the whole value chain, by streamlining manufacturing as well as service processes – this is done by eliminating waste and defects whilst delivering value to customers.

Six Sigma is simply a structured method of solving a problem with reducing variation, improving stability and re-engineering measurement systems. You are able to reduce the number of defective products manufactured or services provided which will result in increased revenue and greater customer satisfaction. The methodology is based on the concept that process variation can be reduced using statistical tools.

Six Sigma uses a 5-phase methodology to fix problems:

  1. Define – Define the problem and identify the defect
  2. Measure – Quantify the defect.
  3. Analyse – Identify the Root causes of the defect.
  4. Improve – Implement and verify the solution
  5. Control – Maintain the solution

In the 1980’s, consultants trained in both techniques, started to realise the synergy between Lean and Six Sigma and began to push for a combination of the two, and thus, Lean Six Sigma (LSS) was born.

The goal of Lean Six Sigma is to eliminate the following eight kinds of waste:

  1. Defects driving rework
  2. Over-Production
  3. Waiting – down time or idle time, as well as time spent waiting for the production of a product
  4. Non-Utilized Talent – a person who does not have the skills for the position but is placed in the position to try and complete the work
  5. Transportation – time spent waiting for the product to be shipped to its destination
  6. Inventory
  7. Motion
  8. Extra-Processing

Lean Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs, or finished product, by identifying and removing the causes of these errors and by standardising the manufacturing and/or business processes.

Lean Six Sigma can be used by small, medium and large businesses very successfully. The methodology has a far-reaching effect within the company as it not only increases revenue and reduces costs, but also positively engages your work force in improving the way they work. This also gives employees a sense that they are all directly improving the business, leader to greater satisfaction among staff members.

The roles in Lean Six Sigma is as follows:

  1. White Belt – Understand the structure and goals of Lean Six Sigma, use basic vocabulary terms, reports process issues to green and black belts- Applies Process Controls.
  2. Yellow Belt – Understands basic Lean Six Sigma Concepts, reports process issues to green and black belts, participates on project teams and receives just-in-time training. Makes use of qualitative assessments in root cause.
  3. Green Belt – Starts and manages Lean Six Sigma Projects, has Lean Six Sigma expertise but to a lesser degree than black belts, provides just-in-time training to others. Makes use of qualitative assessments and quantitative assessment in root cause.
  4. Black Belt – Can report to a Master Black Belt, coaches, has advanced Six Sigma expertise, functions as a coach, mentor, teacher and project leader for project teams. Applies advanced data analysis in determining root cause.
  5. Master Black Belts – Works with leaders to identify gaps and select projects, coaches, mentors, teaches, monitors and leads projects. Responsible for Lean Six Sigma Implementation and culture change.
  6. Champion – Executive leader, helps select projects and remove barriers for project teams, support change and develop the Lean Six Sigma culture


Lean Six Sigma not only reduces your costs and increases your revenue, but it positively affects your work force by challenging the whole team to a new level of thinking that drives breakthrough improvement in the company on a day-to-day basis.

APEX: Integrated management system

1.What is an Integrated Management System?

An Integrated Management System (IMS) is the combination of correlated business components into one simpler management and operational system. It refers to the seamless integration of several different standards into a common system that meets the requirements of each of the standards. This allows an organization to work as a single unit with unified objectives.

The IMS includes the following:


1. QMS – Quality Management System


The QMS comprises certain policies, procedures and processes that are compulsory for the arrangement and execution of core business operations.



2. EMS – Environmental Management System


An EMS regulates the environmental position and performance of a company. It strives to continually improve thereon.



3. SMS – Safety Management System


This form of management system governs the position and performance of an organization’s Health and Safety. It repeatedly aspires to improve on that performance. It pursues an outline of management like any other facets of business, such as marketing.



 2.Why implement it into your business?


Implementing IMS has various benefits that prove to be invaluable to all types of organisations. It benefits a business directly when implemented properly into an organizations’ strategy and direction as it permits members of top management to ensure for efficient work practices. Increased effectiveness and efficiency allows for cost reductions whilst reducing disruptive external audits.

The newly implemented IMS has been very valuable to our organisation. Some of its benefits include:

  • Meeting ISO 9001 and OHSAS standards’ requirements with one set of policies and procedures.
  • Increased efficiency and effectiveness of our various departments and processes.
  • It has helped both management and employees to display their commitment to continuous improvement to our customers.
  • Increased the time available to management to implement proactive measures, such as implementation of cutting edge data evaluation software.
  • Improved internal and external communications
  • Promotion of a safe and healthy working environment


3.Apex obtained its certification


Currently our IMS system include both ISO 9001:2015 and OHSAS 18001:2007 Integrated Management Systems. The above-mentioned systems help the company conduct its business activities in a way that all national and international regulations related to the quality of the products manufactured by Apex Cordset Technologies are fully met. They also ensure that national and international regulations related to the safe working environment of all our employees are also adhered to.

Apex Cordset Technologies Accreditation history:

1) SABS 0157 Quality Management System accreditation.                                                                                —       1989

2) ISO9002: 1994 Quality Management System accreditation                                                                        —       1999

3) ISO9001: 2000 Quality Management System accreditation.                                                                      —       2006

4) ISO9001:2008 Quality Management System accreditation                                                                        —       2011

5) SMETA Accredited – SEDEX MEMBERS ETHICAL TRADE AUDIT                                                                    —    2018

6) ISO 9001:2015                                                                                                                                                        —       2018

7) OHSAS 18001:2007 Integrated Management Systems                                                                                  —       2018


Looking forward, Apex Cordset Technologies would like to establish itself as a world class company that is able to provide our customers with excellent services and world class products. Therefore, the company intends to introduce the following standards into our IMS family of system:

1) ISO 28001:2015 – Supply Chain and Security Management System Accreditation

2) Convert from the OHSAS 18001:2007 to the new ISO 45001:2018 occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system

3) ISO 14001:2015 – Envorinmental Management System Accreditation.


Our most exciting programmes that we are currently engaging is the Lean Six Sigma methodologies. Lean Six Sigma is a methodology that relies on co-operative team effort to improve performance of the organisation by systematically reducing variability and removing waste. It combines Lean manufacturing principles and Six Sigma to eliminate eight kinds of waste:

  • Defects
  • Over-Production
  • Waiting
  • Non-Utilised Talent
  • Transportation
  • Inventory
  • Motion
  • Extra-Processing


The real value in Lean Six Sigma is not only in reducing process defects and waste, it is the basis for providing a foundation for overall organisational culture change. The Best In Class methodologies will complement our ISO systems to allow Apex to become a World Class Competitor.


4.Product Safety Approvals

On top of the above-mentioned accreditation, Apex Cordset Technologies has numerous national and international approvals for the products it manufactures.


Apex Cordset Technologies possesses the following certification:

  1. LOA –Letter of Authority issued by the South African government through its regulator (NRCS)
  2. Compliance mark certificate with various European and Australian approval bodies
  3. CB scheme test reports and certificates
  4. ENEC certificate — European mark for electrical equipment safety


Please see below the summary table of the company products approvals:




Things to consider before buying an extension cord


With the wide range of extension cords available these days, it can boggle the mind on which one to use, and for what purpose. Which is the safest? What outlet goes in where? Do you have to purchase a different cord for each different and specific application? These are valid questions and are confusing to the point of frustration. It is for this reason that we would like to provide you with helpful tips to take into consideration when buying and using an extension cord.


1.   Environment & Usage

Firstly, and probably most importantly, take note of the environment to which the cord will be exposed. An extension cord is manufactured with an outer protective housing to shield its inner electrical components from cold weather, direct sunlight or moisture, but most important of all – protect you from the electricity buzzing around in there. This housing has a designation comprising a pattern of letters, each with individual meaning. It is therefore important to take the housing and sequence of letters, referred to as electrical ratings into consideration before buying your extension cord.

2.  Socket Configuration 

Extension cords have numerous socket configurations, the majority of which are either back to back (commonly referred to as an “anus” coupler) type socket or a “side-by-side” socket. Before buying your extension cord, consider your application as you may be in need of a specialty configuration to ensure ease of use or aesthetic appeal when plugging in your appliances.

3. Power Rating

Another critical factor to take into consideration is the power requirements of the devices that you connect to the extension cord. It is vital that your extension cord can handle those power requirements.

Here is a list of a few factors to consider:

  • Know and respect the rated amperage of your appliances and tools.
  • Don’t forget that “amperes = watts/voltage”
  • In South Africa all socket outlets are protected by a 20A circuit breaker fitted in the distribution board.
  • Safety comes first! Safety is vital whilst dealing with electrical equipment and devices such as extension cords. It is therefore pivotal to consider safety requirements such as the quality of the cord and the producer thereof.

These requirements include:

  • Copper conductors (never aluminium)
  • Safety shutters on the socket outlets.
  • Integrally moulded plugs with safety sleeves on the live pins.
  • Clear marking showing the maximum ratings.

Call Apex Cordset Technologies today for your safe and high quality extension cord. We provide you with all the requirements that an extension cord can offer.


Is it safe to use multiple extension cords?

Not enough extension cords to connect your TV, heater, charger, and WIFI router? And all hope is entrusted into scratching through your cupboards for an extension cord? This may not be as good as it seems. Extension cords although very helpful in times of desperate need should only be a temporary solution and not as a long-term extension for all your household electrics.

Extension cords need to be used properly to ensure your safety. Continuous usage over time will damage the extensions thus potentially creating a serious fire hazard or risk of electrical shock.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) offers safety tips when purchasing and using the correct extension cord to avoid electrical shocks or fires:

  • Never overload your extension cords.
  • Do not allow them to run through water – whether completely submerged or through a puddle of water.
  • Never use extension cords as a permanent solution for wiring.
  • Don’t run extensions through doorways, walls, ceilings or floors or under carpets. When a cord is covered, heat cannot escape which can result in a fire hazard.
  • Extension cords cannot be used for many appliances, only one per socket outlet.
  • A high dependency on extension cords indicates that you don’t have enough outlets for your needs. The right thing to do is to Install additional socket-outlets where desired.
  • Avoid linking two or more extension cords together as each cord is specifically designed and approved for that specific length, a longer extension cord cannot handle the same load effectively.
  • Ensure that the extension cord used is rated for the appliances to be plugged in, by always having a higher rating than the appliance or combination of appliances. For example:

Extension cord rating: 16A.

Number of outlets: 3

Appliance Ampere ratings plugged in: Heater 8A, Charger 1.5A, Hair Dryer 4A

Total load: 8+1.5+4 = 13.5A – OK.

  • It must be marked for either indoor or outdoor usage.
  • Check the appliance that you are connecting to the extension. It will state the wattage rating on it. Ensure that your extension cord matches this wattage rating. Never use an extension cord that has a lower rating than your appliance.
  • Refrain from using an extension cord that looks and feels damaged or hot. If one touches an exposed strand, it will create an electrical shock or burn you.
  • Respect the South African plug and socket configurations, some are designed for 2 pin systems (double insulated) but others are 3 pin which includes a protective earth connection. Do not try to modify any plug pin or socket outlet access hole to fit a non-standard plug.
  • Use only 3 core extension cords fitted with a 3-pin plug. The only exception are cords for garden appliances such as lawn mowers and edge trimmers.
  • Purchase extension cords that are approved by an independent testing laboratory, such as TACS (Testing and Conformity Services) Laboratories or SABS or INTERTEK
  • Never substitute extension cords for permanent wiring.
  • Use round, thick and low-gauge extension cords for large appliances. Choose thin or flat cords for smaller appliances.

Avoid taping your extension cords to floors or surfaces with nails or staples.  Never bend extensions cords in use or wrap around sharp edges.

As convenient and common as extension cords are in providing power in the best places, without the correct precautions they can turn into a fire or pose a safety risk.

Here are some tips to guide you in keeping your home and trusty extension cords safe:

 Caring for extension cords

  • Dispose of any damaged cords. They cannot be re-used.
  • Unplug your extensions when they are not being used.
  • Store your extension cords indoors, before storage, check the surface of the cord for any damage.
  • When disconnecting your cords from an outlet, pull the plug – not the cord.
  • Check that the plug pins are clean and undamaged.

Don’t forget, extension cords are for temporary use. If you find yourself wrapped up in a mountain of cords, it might be about time to consider updating your home’s electrical system.


What should I do with my old unusable or unsafe extension cord?

All good things come to an end eventually. So when that plastered up extension cord finally gives in, what should be done with it?  Is it safe to reuse? Can one just plunk it away?

Below are some ideas and safety tips on what to do:

  Now is the time to throw that old safety hazard out.

  • When the cord suffers from insulation damage you should definitely get rid of it.
  • Should the inner cores be exposed, rather dispose of it.
  • If the cord is too short, and you are tempted to join two cords together – don’t; rather purchase a cord with the correct length.
  • Old worn out cords that no longer have those important safety features attached to them must go.
  • Cords without safety certification are unsafe!

Apex Cordsets is able to dispose of your old worn out extension cords responsibly.


  Do’s and Don’ts

  • Avoid worn-out extension cords. When working with extension cords we tend to roughen them up a bit, dragging them everywhere, physically using and abusing them. Work carefully with your extension cord to avoid this safety hazard.
  • Don’t overheat! When an extension cord gets overloaded by using too many appliances simultaneously, it gets overheated and finally wears out.
  • Prolong your cord’s life. This can be done by not using them under furniture and carpets and avoiding the foot traffic over your cord.
  • Know your devices well. It is vital to know which devices have a perfect match, in terms of rating, with which extension cord