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Stiff Wires from China
By: Dave Johnson  

Iím seeing another disturbing trend coming out of China.  I see more and more devices with cords and wires attached which are brand new yet the wires or cords are very inflexible.  About once each year the wife and I have to buy a new electric blanket.  Iíll save that story for another rant about the terrible quality of those devices.  Anyway, the last blanket we bought came with the usual set of dual heat I setting controls for

 the king size blanket.  Unlike previous blankets, these wires were very stiff.  It took a lot of physical force to unroll and straighten out the cords.  I do believe that the Chinese are making these cords with less of the plastic additive, which makes the cords more flexible.  Old wires tend to get stiff with age as this additive evaporates.  Some wires get so old that the plastic turns brittle.  But, electrical cords, which start out already stiff means that they will become brittle even faster.  This is not the sort of thing you want with anything carrying electricity.  Apparently there is no standard for how flexible a wire should be but it sure bothers me when the cord of a new appliance feels like it is 50 years old.


May 2010     Issue 9

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