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Preserving (not replacing) your original Hammond cord?

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  • Preserving (not replacing) your original Hammond cord?

    As we all know, many original 50 year old Hammond power cords are cracked, bare and outright dangerous. The quick fix is to replace the cord, but that's not what this thread is about. I'm wondering if there are any other options to safely repair and/or preserve your original Hammond cord.

    (I'm aware that some sites sell OEM Hammond cords for us obsessed purists, but I'm not obsessed enough to pay $143 for a cord!)

    The cord I have is not yet cracked, but it's pretty stiff so it's just a matter of time.

    A few ideas I'm considering:
    1. Determine the chemical composition of these cords (does anyone know? Is it actual rubber?) and then find a preservative or lubricant for that material.
    2. Try "liquid electrical tape" (PlastiDip, Gardener Bender) to coat the cord preventatively. Might not stop cracking but it'll keep everything together.

    Any thoughts or experiences?

    EDIT: I found the answer to my own question...

    Spent the last 2 hours investigating the chemical composition of electrical cords made up to the 1950s. Vulcanized rubber. I also found some archived electrician's manuals that stated the proper method of preserving vulcanized rubber cords is a mixture of glycerine (the active ingredient), alcohol and a small percentage of natural oils. Some later formulas added lemon juice. The stuff was patented and sold as a commercial product, but they stopped making it once cords started being made with PVC.

    Applied thoroughly, this should return a great degree of elasticity & flexibility to cords or any vulcanized rubber products. Anyway if you read along this far, cheers I hope you found this helpful.
    Last edited by HammondRye; 05-23-2020, 03:37 PM.
    Watch me make a fool of myself on YouTube

  • #2
    Please just replace it. It cracks inside too. In fact i think they crack even more on the inside. I know this is not the answer you want but being ”purist” in this way is just foolish. In worst case you die. Or someone else die. Can you live with it?
    A+A20+PR40+145. Novachord.


    • Sweet Pete
      Sweet Pete commented
      Editing a comment
      Those judges at Pebble Beach are brutal dunderola

  • #3
    A C-3 at a friend's music studio had stopped working, so I dropped by to take a look. The problem? They were using some ancient, original Hammond power cord that was so worn out that it no longer made good contact with the plug on the organ's outlet box.

    Power cords don't last forever. Just replace it.
    I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.


    • #4
      I'm only a master electrician and not completely up on the design of the amps and other parts with metal frames in a Hammond, would a grounded cord be better or is there a problem grounding the old electronics?


      • Baseman norm
        Baseman norm commented
        Editing a comment
        Adding a ground to mine made a lot of noise

    • #5
      I upgrade all mine with grounded power cords and *fuses*
      Tom in Tulsa

      Fooling with: 1969 E100, 1955 M3, 1963 M100, Leslie 720


      • #6
        It seems foolish to me to use the original when it is no longer doing its job well--the insulation is for safety, and needs to be able to flex. Not only is there the danger of electrical shock but also of starting a fire. There is a good reason why cable manufacturers switched to different materials for household use.


        • #7

          Certainly, with worn tires we can redo new ones by adding new rubber. But if they are too old and fall to dust it is impossible.

          Because they have very good properties that PVC does not give, the rubber cables are still manufactured.
          Example: Nexans Titanex H07RN-F
          And very used on stage because they are heavy, flexible and they stick well to the ground without getting tangled. They are also easy to wind and unwind.

          Another solution consists in getting rid of this problem by installing an IEC base with fuse on the organ and then you can change the cable easily as many times as you want.



          • #8
            You want to hang on to it, stick it in the bench and at least use a safer alternative.


            • #9
              Do not replace with grounded or 3 prong cord.
              Use 2 prong only.

              3 prong is one of those "better now, worse later" situations.
              See, everyone feels very safe with the 3 prong. It must be good. It's modern. etc.
              And it's fine. You ground the amp chassis to the green wire and you've basically eliminated the rare-but-theoretical "shock problem".
              But no good deed goes unpunished.
              If you have a leaky transformer - which happens often - that ends up shorting to the chassis - which also happens - then you now have a unregulated path to ground creating heat, sometimes a lot of heat, which can and has ended with fire. None life-ending or catastrophic that i know of, but plenty of scary moments.

              3 prong is not a solution in this case, IMO.


              • Sweet Pete
                Sweet Pete commented
                Editing a comment
                Fuses on transformer secondaries? Sure! All my 2 pin AC is staying that way though,with new cable all around.
                Same with Wurly200A,careful with the pickup ground cover,those 140V electrostatics can do serious harm!
                My requirements for AC onstage are one grounded 15 amp outlet box,separated from SR and lighting thanks.
                I need only one outlet.Yeah I know it's a Hubbell Quad box,just one thanks! I'll take it from here.
                "Where is the stove plug?" was my solution more than once."Get out the panel".

            • #10
              Just replace that tired cord