Am I going to burn down the house with outlet splitters?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Pixel_Outlaw, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. Pixel_Outlaw

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 30, 2010
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    OK from my childhood I remember those electricity safety campaigns starring "Louie the Lightningbug". I remember seeing cartoon drawings of sad wall outlets that were crammed full of splitters. Currently I have 10 game consoles hooked into a single outlet. The catch is that I never power on more than one system at a time. Is this still dangerous? I assume they are still putting a load on the power even when powered off. I just don't want to end up engulfed in a towering inferno while I am asleep one night.

    Here is the scale of my problem...
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30681754&l=666f6de91c&id=1534433814
     
  2. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    IF you don't power up more than one at a time it is probably safe. How many times are you splitting the power (how many power strips and or blocks)? More than two in a chain can also be dangerous, since the resistance of the wire and connector is also important.

    I have a similar problem with my entertainment center. I use reasonably high quality power strips, and star off of them to minimize how many outlets I go through. I suspect the devices we had when we were kids were also much more high power, which added to the problem then.

    If you feel an outlet or power strip (or even wire) getting warm to the touch this is a sign, alarms should be going off for you.
     
  3. Pixel_Outlaw

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 30, 2010
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    I have a cover screwed on to the outlet that has 6 sockets,the 6th branches off to a 6 socket power strip with a power switch on it (which is turned off unless I am using a device on the strip). I guess that gives me a total of 11 sockets with 6 off most of the time...
     
  4. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    It sounds like you are doing what I was suggesting. Following the electrical power to each device, you are only using 3 outlets (including the wall outlet). I'm sure there are a lot of folks that think that is too many, but I don't have a problem with it, as long as the current to the device is reasonable.
     
  5. studiot

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 9, 2007
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    There is nothing intrinsically wrong with power splitters, after all that is what have multiple wall outlets connected to your fuse box is all about.

    There are some dangers however.

    Out of sight is out of mind. These connections are often considered unsightly and so are hidden away and forgotten, so any problem that appears over time will not be apparent. Papers and othe stuff can fall and cover them, reducing their cooling so they can overheat.

    The block type that plugs directly into the socket with device leads plugged directly in can become mechanically unbalanced, especially if one block is plugged into another. This can tip the block and produce poor connections, leading to arcing and overheating.

    So Bill is right to say keep an watchful eye on them.
     
  6. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    As long as the multiple socket outlet is approved and used correctly. Like never use two in a chain, it should be safe. Also do not use something that is older than say 10 years. The classic is the old good one used for xmas lightning for over 40 years:eek:
    On my workbench I have two 6X multiple socket outlets. They are fitted with a switch with light. Very handy as I easy take out power to the workbench. And as long as the multiple socket outlet is in off position. The risk is almost zero.
    If a multiple socket outlet fail it will most often happen over time. So now and then you can check it. If it become hot you should be replace it asap.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
  7. russ_hensel

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2009
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  8. Pixel_Outlaw

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 30, 2010
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    OK, thanks for the help.
     
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