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Dangerous extension cords

Extension cords seem like a safe place to save a few dollars by buying something cheaper. Don't!
Melty plastic!
1 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Melty plastic!

That must have been overheating for a while.

Signs of arcing
2 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Signs of arcing

Looks like the contact was making por connections and causing arcing.

The diagnosis...
3 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

The diagnosis...

... poor quality connectors.

Poor quality construction
4 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Poor quality construction

Even the contacts that hadn't melted were showing signs of overheating.

Damaged wire!
5 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Damaged wire!

The wire going to the neon indicator was also charred and damaged.

More overheating
6 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

More overheating

Looks like the surge protection module was also causing overheating.

Damaged neutral wire
7 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Damaged neutral wire

The insulation on the blue neutral wire was also sliced through by being trapped under the earth rail. 

Surge protector circuit
8 of 8 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Surge protector circuit

Here we have thermal fuses (the translucent components), metal oxide varistors (blue discs). This is a very basic surge protector circuit found in extension cords.

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