Fixing a frayed cord

My laptop is six years old, which seems ancient these days, but it is going strong.

However, the charging cord was not so happy, the charging-port end fraying with dangerous exposed wires.

So…what to do? Turns out, trusty electrical tape comes to the rescue, in 3 easy steps:

1. Unplug charger at both ends

2. Wrap tape from the unfrayed end and towards the exposed end, stretching and wrapping as you go, as tightly as possible.

3. Cut tape and smooth.

In my case, the little clip to hold the headphones or cord or whatever was in the way (in hindsight, it would have been good to push that down to the unfrayed part when it first started fraying) and so I had to wrap two separate section, resulting in a looser wrap than I would have liked.

It’s now more stable, and more importantly, safe! (more ways to fix your cord here – but it depends on what you already have!)

Electrical tape is magical stuff – I’ve previously used it to repair sticky bike handlebars and as well, tape, in a pinch. There are many, many more uses.

The tape, unfortunately, is made of vinyl, though vulcanized rubber, fiberglass cloth tapes and silicone tape are available. However, it’s very insulating. 3M posts the history of the tape here (but no science, really). Also, Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA) also technically does not endorse its use officially, likely for safety reasons, in cases of fully exposed wiring.

For the time being electrical tape is not the most highly used tape, and you can likely borrow some from a neighbor if you ever need some. But with all the tape used across miles of cables and when we finally decide to start repairing more rather than replacing things, will we want to keep using plastic tape? Instead, can we use tapes that are renewable, lasting long enough to hold a repair but not so long they permanently damage the environment?

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