Author Topic: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)  (Read 43944 times)

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Offline wow

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One of the most commonly asked questions on the FOG is about using Plug-It cords on other tools. This thread will attempt to answer all those questions. I will endeaver to get everything right the first time, but - contraty to poular belief - I'm not perfect.

 [wink]

If I make a mistake I'm sure I will be promptly and appropriately corrected. I will come back and edit my initial post to correct any errors or omissions and to make sure that it's always the most up-to-date for future visitors.

First, lets get out of the way the fact that the Plug-It items I will be explaining are NAINA. They can, however, be obtained in many ways: picked up while in the UK, brought over by a friend, ordered and shipped from a UK dealer, or ordered from Amazon UK. I'd like to thank my UK friend for helping me get these as it was somewhat of a hassle for him. Thanks, UK friend!

Note: Of all the EU contries, basically it's only the UK that uses 110 volts (close enough to the US 120 volts for our purposes) so you typically can't buy the Plug-It's anywhere else in the EU. I've tried.

Legalese: You should not attempt an electrical modification to any tool unless you are qualified or competent to do so. Improper modification could result in the risk of damage to the tool, severe electrical shock, or death. The content posted here is strictly my own. It has not been accepted, approved, authorized, blessed, certified, checked, condoned, confirmed, encouraged, recommended, reviewed, sanctioned, substantiated, verified, vouched for, or warranted by Festool. There - that oughta hold 'em.

OK, with that out of the way let's get down to business. Here's what we're going to be starting with:



In this photo are two Plug-it pigtails, a Plug-It replacement plug, and two US Plug-It power cords.

Clockwise from upper let they are:

1. 491144 plug it conversion-kit
UBS-PUR 360 plug it 240 V
Length   360 mm


2. 491145 plug it conversion-kit
UBS-PUR 420 plug it 240 V
Length   420 mm


The two Plug-It conversion-kits are IDENTICAL exept for the length of the cord that is supplied. One is 360mm, one is 420mm. That's the only difference.

Note: Both Plug-It conversion-kits are unlabeled as to gauge, but appear to be around 18 gauge. They are definitely NOT heavy-duty cords, so pick your conversion machines carefully. I would recommend them only for tools that draw less than 10 amps (1200 watts) continuous.

3. 489685 RK plug it, plug-it plug
Repair plug for replacement


So first let's look at the Plug-It conversion and the US Plug-It cords that you will want to use them with. Here's the standard Festool 18 ga cord which is included with most sanders, jigsaws, the OF1010, and other 'smaller-draw' machines on the left, and the Plug-It conversion along side on the right:



See the problem? The cord end (with the white center) has a triangular protrusion molded into it to PREVENT this light-weight cord from plugging into a higher-current machine. It will not mate with the Plug-It. So, we'll set that aside...

Now let's look at the Plug-It conversion on the left, along side the 16 ga. heavy-duty  Festool Plug-It cord which is included with TS-75 and other 'higher-current' machines on the right:



Looks good, but what if we try it out:



SUCESS!! You now know WHICH Plug-It conversion fits on which US Plug-It cord. This works out particularly well if you have a 16 ga Plug-It cord strapped to your DE hose like many here do.

So what if you managed to damage or destroy the plug-it end on one of your Plug-it cords? That's where item #3 comes in.

The 489685 Repair Plug mates with any of your Festool tools that use the plug-it connector. It also mates with the Plug-It conversions:



The 489685 Repair Plug cover unscrews and disassembles into 5 parts:



Yes, I said FIVE. If you missed it, look closely at the bottom right side of the paper. There are (taped to the paper) two tiny hollow tubes (called ferrules) that you slip onto the end of your bare coper, then insert into the plug sockets and clamp down. Some people (like me!) prefer to solder them on, but it's not required.



This ensures a much better electrical connection than you could get just clamping down on bare copper strands.

Edit 2014-11-6: European power cords (like Plug-Its) tend to use a brown-blue-green color scheme, while US power cords tend to use black-white-green. The green is obviously ground in both schemes. The BLACK wire is the equivalent of the BROWN wire (HOT lead), while the WHITE wire is equivalent to the BLUE wire (NEUTRAL lead). Do not connect them in reverse or you may defeat the safety features built into the tool.


And don't forget to put the Plug-it cover on the power cord BEFORE you clamp those wires down, otherwise you'll get to take them out and do it over!

I hope this answers all of your questions on which Plug-It conversion kit you want, what you will get, and how it will work. It is my intent that it serve as 'the' definitive reference document for anyone who wants to learn more about Plug-It conversions.

If you find an error, PLEASE PM me so I can correct it. I'm not asking you to PM me so I can hide a mistake or avoid being embarrassed. I'd simply prefer to make any necessary corrections in this initial post and keep discussions about errors or corrections out of the thread to avoid confusion as people read this in the future.

You are, of course, ALWAYS welcome to post questions and comments below.

Hope this helps!
« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 11:05 AM by wow »
Trying to be one of the most helpful members on the FOG.

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Offline jonny round boy

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2014, 09:33 AM »
The two small metal tubes are called 'ferrules', and they are not supposed to be soldered on. Ferrules should be crimped. Just thread them onto the cable, and squeeze with pliers to stop them falling off. Then screw them down.

PS - what's the odds on this thread still being here when Shane returns from holiday? [big grin]
Festoolian since February 2006

TS55R EBQ saw - CTL26 - CTL Mini - OF1400EBQ router - KS120 Kapex SCMS - ETS150/3 sander - RO90 sander - DF500 Domino - PDC18/4 drill - PSC420 jigsaw - OFK500 trimmer

Wish list (in no particular order!): Anything not listed above....

Offline jonny round boy

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2014, 09:39 AM »
I forgot to add - It's been mentioned in other threads that I as well as others have had issues with the connectors becoming corroded, resulting in blackening of the metal and leading to the whole 'infection' scenario.

That plug-it plug replacement (489685) has much beefier connectors inside than the standard plug-it cord (at least, the ones we get in the UK). Since I changed my plugs for these replacements I've had no more issues.
Festoolian since February 2006

TS55R EBQ saw - CTL26 - CTL Mini - OF1400EBQ router - KS120 Kapex SCMS - ETS150/3 sander - RO90 sander - DF500 Domino - PDC18/4 drill - PSC420 jigsaw - OFK500 trimmer

Wish list (in no particular order!): Anything not listed above....

Offline wow

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2014, 09:57 AM »
The two small metal tubes are called 'ferrules', and they are not supposed to be soldered on. Ferrules should be crimped. Just thread them onto the cable, and squeeze with pliers to stop them falling off. Then screw them down.


Corrected - thanks!

PS - what's the odds on this thread still being here when Shane returns from holiday? [big grin]

Since the instructions here are for using the products (Plug-It conversion-kits) only AS INTENDED, I hope there would not be an issue with it. I am not suggesting that anyone modify their Festool products, but rather pointing out that they can modify other products to better integrate with the Festool system of Plug-It cords. But only:

A. if Festool doesn't offer the product, or
B. Until such time as they can get rid of their inferior product and buy a Festool.

 [big grin] [thumbs up]
« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 10:57 AM by wow »
Trying to be one of the most helpful members on the FOG.

Offline acrewood1

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2014, 02:49 AM »
Has anyone put a plug-it on a Kapex?
kapex ks 120 eb, C12, Centrotec sys, PS 300EQ, TS 55 R, EHL 65 E-PLUS, DOMINO 500 Q-PLUS,DOMINO 700, DELTEX 93 E-PLUS USA, DUPLEX LS EQ-PLUS USA, LR 32 SYS, OF 1010 EQ, OF 1400 EQ, MFK 700 EQ SET, EST 150/3 EQ PLUS, CT 22 E, TWO CLT MIDI, MFT 1,CSX, TSX, RO 150

Offline jonny round boy

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2014, 04:17 AM »
Has anyone put a plug-it on a Kapex?

The Kapex is 1600w, and potentially could draw more current than a plug-it can handle, so you shouldn't do it.

Same reason the OF2200 doesn't have it either.
Festoolian since February 2006

TS55R EBQ saw - CTL26 - CTL Mini - OF1400EBQ router - KS120 Kapex SCMS - ETS150/3 sander - RO90 sander - DF500 Domino - PDC18/4 drill - PSC420 jigsaw - OFK500 trimmer

Wish list (in no particular order!): Anything not listed above....

Offline wow

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2014, 06:53 AM »
Has anyone put a plug-it on a Kapex?

The Kapex is 1600w, and potentially could draw more current than a plug-it can handle, so you shouldn't do it.

Same reason the OF2200 doesn't have it either.

As I said above, I would personally recommend limiting the draw through a plug-it to 1200 watts or less (~ 10 amps at 120 Volts). This obviously isn't an 'absolute' limit. The largest tool that I own with a plug-it cord is my TS75, which the Festool USA website says is 1600 watts / 13 amps 120 v AC - IDENTICAL to the current draw on the Kapex.

One reason I wouldn't modify the Kapex - besides warranty issues (and REALLY dirty looks from Shane and others) is that I'm not sure it would be an advantage? Yes, you could then disconnect the cord for transport or storage, but you could also lose it, forget it, or ? I'm not sure how much value that adds to what is essentially a stationary machine? And I say 'stationary' because the Kapex doesn't constantly move while in use like a router or sander or track saw. It sort of just sits there - albeit rather regally - and does its thing.

The one minor benefit that I *do* see is that you could quickly swap out a damaged Plug-It cord. But realistically, has anyone damaged their Kapex cord enough that it had to be replaced? I'm sure it's happened - but I'll bet we won't hear from even 3 people who have done it. Let's see if anyone fesses up?

 [popcorn]

My [2cents] - although it doesn't seem to violate any laws of physics, I certainly wouldn't do it.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 10:43 AM by wow »
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Offline Loogie

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Thanks for the very informative post. I just got a TS-55REQ, my fifth Festool and discovered that it wouldn't plug into the the Plug-It cord that I already had-and kept-plugged into my vac. I now understand why. But having said that I must admit that for a company who prides itself on making premium level tools this seems like penny pinching in the wrong place. The difference between a 16ga and 18ga cord at the lengths that Festool includes and the volume they do would be tiny - less than a dollar. I'm sure some accountant added it up and said they could make X $ more if they used different cords, but this truly does lower my image Festool.
Festool, just provide an 16ga cord with everything so that we can use it with any Festool product we come across. The work around is simple, I understand. However, at this price point I don't expect to have to work-around anything - especially something that is obviously an economic issue, not and engineering issue.

Offline wow

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Loogie:

I don't necessarily disagree with most of what you said, and I ABSOLUTELY agree that I'd prefer the HD power cord come with everything. I just don't see a noticeable difference in the weight.

That said, I'd like to present another viewpoint. While a financial consideration is likely, it is probably not 'THE' reason. You have to understand the German mindset, to wit:

Viewed by itself, there is ZERO benefit to having a 16 ga. cord on - say - an RO90. None. Therefore, a German company is going to ship it with an 18 ga. cord because it's 'the right cord for that tool'. The idea that an American might want it with a 16 ga. cord 'just because' is something that they just can't understand. I don't mean that they are stupid or anything, just that the concept is so foreign to them that they just find it unfathomable.

(BTW - I am NOT an expert on German culture, but I have had enough business dealings with them to understand some things.)

I wish they'd allow dealers to substitute a 16 ga on request (for a small fee, if necessary) when you buy a new tool. Similar to the way you can substitute a 'Holey' rail for the standard one.

As a alternate, I wish they'd at least offer a trade-in or 'amnesty' program for those of us who don't want 18 ga cords. I have a half dozen BRAND NEW, NEVER USED 18 ga. cords that I'd LOVE to swap for 16 ga. ones because I will NEVER use them. And it's not like Festool would have to scrap them? They could ship them with recon machines, or send them out from service if someone needed a cord. They could create a lot of goodwill if this was done properly.

Anyway, thanks for posting. Hopefully the head honchos in Germany read this and decide to do SOMETHING...
Trying to be one of the most helpful members on the FOG.

Offline Loogie

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Wow,
If this were Makita or Dewalt I might agree, but Festool, more than any other tool manufacturer touts their tools as a system. Everything works together - or is supposed to. So, sorry the stand alone argument doesn't hold water for me. In fact, I'm certain that they have run into this very issue in their own shop while doing R&D but made a decision not to address it. Like you, I hope they do address it stateside.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2014, 08:06 PM by Loogie »

Offline MGB

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I've rigged my setup so Scms/Tracksaw have a power connection at the end of the hose. Really speeds up swapping tools, but more just to get rid of cables everywhere.

Was thinking of adopting this system into some non-festool items. But glad I read this thread. Didn't realize there were two different sizes.

Definitely an oversight by festool IMO. For the amount of engineering they invest you'd think this wouldn't be a problem.

This seems like the way to go https://www.talkfestool.com/vb/festool-tools/6273-my-answer-plug-pigtail-dilemma.html
« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 01:38 AM by MGB »

Offline David Werkheiser

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I recently picked up 3 of the "Plug-it" pig tails and plan to convert: RAS 115, Fein multitool and Bosch 3" planer.
My question is the wires on the plug-it are brown and blue and when I open up the tools the wires are white and black; what colors match up? I have repaired a lot of power tool cords over the years and know black-black and white-white and green is ground.
thanks, David

Offline Bohdan

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The brown is active and the blue neutral in Australia. I don't know which is which in black and white.

Offline neeleman

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I have done may Plug-it conversions (RAS115, DX93, SuperCut, EHL65, DSC, DSG, DRP).
The colour of wiring for European power connectors doesn't make any sense, because you can rotate the normal power-plug in the socket. This way it has two options, and the blue or brown wire changes that way. So white or black there's no difference.

BUT I don't know about UK or USA connections!
Festoolian since 1998.
FESTOOL:
SYSROCK BR10 | SYSLITE KAL II | SV-SYS D14 | DSC-AG125FH | CDD9.6 | SYSLITE DUO | DF700 | HKC55 | TXS2.6 | CTL SYS | CXS2.6 | DWC18 | CTWings | BHC18 | CS50 | CMS-OF | MFT/3 | MFT/3-VL | KS120 | TS55 R | PSC420 | PS420 | BS75 | RAS115 | RO90 | RO150 | RS400 | RTS400 | RS300 | LS130 | DX93 | ETS150/5 | ETS150/3 | OF1010 | OF1400 | OFK500 | MFK700 | T18 | EHL65 | CTL26 | CTL22 | CTL MIDI | WCR1000 | D27-AS Plug-it | D36 UNI-RS | D36x7 | D50x2.5 | FS800 | FS800/2 | FS1080/2 | FS1400/2 (2x) | FS3000/2 | FSK250 | FSK420 | Gecko Dosh | Toolie | CE-SYS-2010 | RB-SYS CART (2x) | LEV1400 | LEV350 | SYS-MFT
PROTOOL:
CHP26 | PDC18 | FLC UNI | VCP260 | DSC-AGP125 | DSC-AGP230 | DSG-AGP125 | DRP16

Offline Alex

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I recently picked up 3 of the "Plug-it" pig tails and plan to convert: RAS 115, Fein multitool and Bosch 3" planer.
My question is the wires on the plug-it are brown and blue and when I open up the tools the wires are white and black; what colors match up?

In Europe en Germany where all Festools are made, the colours are the same as Bohdan says: brown is active, blue is neutral.

Wires inside double insulated powertools don't have to follow the same rules as set for the mains net ( I think).

It also doesn't matter, with alternating current the polarity constantly changes so the same wire is at one time plus and then minus. This means you don't have to connect a specific colour to another, either one is good. When you plug the cord in the mains socket, there are two ways to do it, because you can flip the plug over, and it makes no difference.

European colour codes are not valid in America anyway.

Just had a looksie inside a couple of my Festools, and almost all wires inside are black. Only the ones coming from the electronics board are red, and the two coming from the plug-it socket are both brown. Sorry, I had no camera at hand.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 10:30 AM by Alex »

Offline David Werkheiser

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Thank you Bodin, neeleman and Alex for the wire color information. Alex in the US 110v 2 prong plugs have one spade wider than the other so you can not reverse plug (polarized?).
David

Offline Bohdan

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The significance of the active and neutral wires depends on the type of switch that is fitted in the tool.

If the switch is single pole (switches only one wire) it is placed in the active lead so that when the switch is off the motor is not "live". This is a safety consideration in case the tool casing is damaged exposing the innards.

With most double insulated tools (only two wires no earth lead) they are usually also fitted with a double pole switch which switches both wires and it really doesn't matter which wire goes to active.

In both cases the tool will work normally whichever way you connect it but for safety reasons you should endeavour that the active is switched.

Offline Loogie

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In the US a standard NEMA 1-15P plug has one blade wider than the other. The wide blade is the neutral and the narrow blade is the hot. So using the info above, it should be wired black-->brown and white-->blue.

Offline wow

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2014, 10:54 AM »
In the US a standard NEMA 1-15P plug has one blade wider than the other. The wide blade is the neutral and the narrow blade is the hot. So using the info above, it should be wired black-->brown and white-->blue.

Sorry I am late to respond, but Loogie has it right.

US computer power cords often use the EU color codes interchangeably with the 'normal' US ones. The black wire is the equivalent of the brown wire (HOT lead), while the White wire is equivalent to the Blue wire (NEUTRAL lead). Do not allow them to be connected in reverse or you may defeat the safety features built into the tool.
Trying to be one of the most helpful members on the FOG.

Offline Peter Parfitt

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2014, 11:16 AM »
Can anyone help me - I hope this is not too great a distraction from the theme of this thread....

My friend has a standard UK plug-it cable and has damaged the wire. I am about to give him one of my spares but would like to resurrect his old one by replacing the cord. How does one disassemble the plug-it end?

Many thanks.

Peter

Offline Pixel

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2014, 11:36 AM »
Can anyone help me - I hope this is not too great a distraction from the theme of this thread....

My friend has a standard UK plug-it cable and has damaged the wire. I am about to give him one of my spares but would like to resurrect his old one by replacing the cord. How does one disassemble the plug-it end?

Many thanks.

Peter

You don't, you cut if off and replace it with a new head unit

Offline Peter Parfitt

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2014, 11:41 AM »
Hi Peter

Many thanks - I guessed that might be the case.

Peter

Offline Pixel

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2014, 11:48 AM »
Hi Peter

Many thanks - I guessed that might be the case.

Peter

Sorry Hi Peter

It is probably the weakest link in the plug it system (for a reason I assume) but very easy to replace, I have a box full of spare ends because I am always damaging the cables

Peter

Offline Peter Parfitt

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2014, 11:53 AM »
After reading your post I did a quick search and don't seem to be able to find the ends here in the UK. Is there a Festool part number? I want to make up a cable using thicker cord for my own workshop and had originally hoped to start with my friend's duff bits.

Peter

Offline Pixel

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2014, 11:59 AM »
After reading your post I did a quick search and don't seem to be able to find the ends here in the UK. Is there a Festool part number? I want to make up a cable using thicker cord for my own workshop and had originally hoped to start with my friend's duff bits.

Peter

489685

Offline Peter Parfitt

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2014, 12:06 PM »
Many thanks Peter.

Peter

Offline wow

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #26 on: November 27, 2014, 03:23 PM »
After reading your post I did a quick search and don't seem to be able to find the ends here in the UK. Is there a Festool part number? I want to make up a cable using thicker cord for my own workshop and had originally hoped to start with my friend's duff bits.

Peter

Peter:

Sorry that I didn't catch this sooner. The part number is 489685, clearly shown in the first post - but if you were scanning in a hurry you might not have known that those were UK numbers and not US ones.

BTW - please let me know I caused or encouraged you to spend money? You have done that so many times to me that I think a bit of turnabout would be fair play?

 [big grin] [poke]
Trying to be one of the most helpful members on the FOG.

Offline Peter Parfitt

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #27 on: November 27, 2014, 04:35 PM »
After reading your post I did a quick search and don't seem to be able to find the ends here in the UK. Is there a Festool part number? I want to make up a cable using thicker cord for my own workshop and had originally hoped to start with my friend's duff bits.

Peter

Peter:

Sorry that I didn't catch this sooner. The part number is 489685, clearly shown in the first post - but if you were scanning in a hurry you might not have known that those were UK numbers and not US ones.

BTW - please let me know I caused or encouraged you to spend money? You have done that so many times to me that I think a bit of turnabout would be fair play?

 [big grin] [poke]

Thanks Bill, I will let you know the instant that my credit card comes out of my pocket !

Peter

Offline Marshall Monnett

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2014, 10:02 PM »
Thanks for all the great information, I have wanted to change some of my dewalt and porter cable tools to plug it ends, and this information helps greatly. But i do have one question.
For the 491144 plug it conversion-kit, in the seventh and eighth picture it shows screws holding the pigtail together, is it possible to take the screws out and change the green wire to part of the original cord on my other tools? Or is the pigtail not able to be taken apart like the ends on a factory plug it cord?

Thanks

Offline wow

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Re: Everything you wanted to know about Plug-Its conversions (USA Version)
« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2014, 04:31 AM »
Thanks for all the great information, I have wanted to change some of my dewalt and porter cable tools to plug it ends, and this information helps greatly. But i do have one question.
For the 491144 plug it conversion-kit, in the seventh and eighth picture it shows screws holding the pigtail together, is it possible to take the screws out and change the green wire to part of the original cord on my other tools? Or is the pigtail not able to be taken apart like the ends on a factory plug it cord?

Thanks

The green cords are designed to REPLACE the cords coming out of your other power tools, converting them to 'Plug-It' compatibility. Festool doesn't make just a 'Plug-It' end for the tool side that can be attached to the existing cord coming out of the tool.

I have been VERY careful to only post information and practices that are supported by Festool. Because Festool doesn't specifically offer such a connector, I believe it is against the forum rules to post or discuss such a modification as it would apply the product in a manner that it was not intended, and potentially expose the user to dangerous voltages and possibly unsafe electrical connections.

If a moderator wants to chime in here and tell me otherwise, I'll be happy to attempt to disassemble one of my 'Plug-It's' to see if what you ask could be done safely.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 11:14 AM by wow »
Trying to be one of the most helpful members on the FOG.