1-to-5 power splitter better than a power strip

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/31/1-to-5-voltage-splitter-better.html


Voltage splitter? Like this?


I like the concept of these, but they always come at such a premium over standard power strips.

An alternative is to buy a bunch of 1-ft extension cables from Monooprice and plug them into your power strip instead.

Or, overload your outlet even faster with the marginally more expensive splitter version.


I found these on Meh or another deal site for $5 ea and bought a bunch. They are surge suppressed and great!


There are many different potential solutions!


Meh. I bought a couple of squids a few years ago, and I’m not too sad about having misplaced one of them.

They seemed to me like a great idea for all the reasons listed here, but I found them to be bulky, hard to manage, and a pain to plug and unplug things from – you can’t do it one-handed like you can with a regular powerstrip, you have to hold both the plug and the outlet and push them together. Which means you have to get both hands to where the squid is to use it, not behind stuff like a regular power strip.

I’ve bought several strips since then, but I wouldn’t buy another squid.

Voltage splitter? I assumed that was something that had two 120 plugs wired in serial to a 240 outlet. Which seem like a poor and unsafe idea.


Millions of people have an unbalanced 120 volt tap from a 240 volt plug in their electric clothes dryers. That’s why you have that extra neutral prong in the plug, basically.

You can theoretically wire two 120s to a 240 without using a neutral - assuming the loads are perfectly balanced. But as you say, it is usually a poor idea!

In any case these power squids are nifty, but insufficiently squidlike for my needs. They need moar googly glazzies.


Friendly word of caution, that thing is AWG 14/3 so it will only rated up to between 13-15 amps (medium duty). Try not to run all that stuff you listed at once. Electrical fires are scary things.



It just seemed like something one would type in all caps.

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Practically a weapon.

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That looks like a good way to burn a house down.

I’d still make one, but I’m surprised Make would have “plans” for that.

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Well, if you’ve got a circuit that’ll let you draw more than 20 amps from a 15 amp wall outlet, you’ve got bigger problems than a lack of googly eyes on your power squid :slight_smile:

If everything inside the walls and fusebox was wired properly, you’ll just trip a breaker if you overload a circuit. No fires. I have plug strips with ten outlets that I use all the time.

If you want to completely terrified by home electricity, check out the questions here or the pictures here.. Are you sure everything is wired properly?

My dryer runs on plain old 120…and natural gas.

Those are cheaper to run than electric dryers (unless you’re off grid) and they really do dry the clothes better and faster. On the down side, if you fail to keep your ducts clean an electric dryer will probably set the ducts on fire, but a gas dryer will certainly set the ducts on fire…

Also, the higher initial cost of a gas appliance is to a great degree offset by lower maintenance. They simply don’t have coils that burn out…

Yeah, dryer coils are very long-lived, but a gas burner is even more so.

In my first house I had a 40+ year old gas dryer. I was cleaning the flues and burner and I noticed the machine contained a fairly significant amount of asbestos (not loose asbestos, the less dangerous woven kind), so I replaced that with woven ceramic fiber cut to the same patterns.

I sold the house to a friend, and 20 years later that gas dryer is still running fine! I expect it’ll last at least a hundred years, and like you said there’s very little maintenance. It has a brushless universal motor, so basically four bearings, a belt and a timer switch that are the only parts that wear out, and they’re all readily available as replacement parts.

Of course modern gas dryers have fancy control systems that only last 40 or 50 years… :slight_smile:

That’s as may be, but both of the “build your own power squid” links from the Make page you posted are defunct. And I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it was from fear of legal repercussions. I have friends that I would trust to wire something like that safely and correctly, and other friends that I would barely trust to flip a switch in a breaker box.

I noticed that, and noticed that all other links on the Internet that use the specific phrase power squid seem to have been taken down, too. Except the ones for Power Squid ® of course.

I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with safety, since you can readily find online instructions on building multi-outlet extensions that aren’t named after decapodiformes, and honestly the only way you could make one of these unsafely would be to use grossly wrong sized wire nuts and a metal box (you’ll note the one on Make used a rated plastic box.)

So yeah, I believe you are at least half correct - fear of legal repercussions is the reason for the links being down! :slight_smile:

It’s kind of funny. I had to replace the belt and bearings in my 8 year old Whirlpool dryer and the parts were basically the same for every dryer in the Whirlpool brand spectrum of my size made in the past 30 or so years. Compared with fixing my washing machine when it’s main bearing blew (which was a multi day slog requiring special tools and lots of cursing) repair of the dryer was a total breeze. There’s barely any parts in there!

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