Posted by: markfender | July 14, 2015

Power Strips

Plugging things in used to be so much easier.

pivot_power_inuseBut all of our recent electronic devices no longer are using standard plugs. You don’t seem to get the simple two-prong or three-prong cords any longer. Now, they’re all big squares of varying oblong shapes that don’t play nice with other big squares with oblong shapes.

Like many Americans, I have the need for various surge proctetor/power strip type devices. The computer where I’m typing this at has a full power strip under the desk. Likewise, the TV has a power strip near it, full of magical devices that push entertainment to the television. And, at least one device at each of those power strips has to take up at least two slots on the power strip, simply because the plug itself is a weird shape that overlaps the plug next to it.

I recently added a new device to the entertainment power strip that took up three spaces. The square plug itself overlapped the space next to it on the power strip, but the “lip” of the device also overlapped onto a third plug space. Since one of the devices plugged into the tv also was already taking over two spaces on the power strip, we now have a situation where one power strip is capable of holding two devices. Thanks, manufacturers.

I think the problem is that power devices are still designed as if they plugged into walls. Yes, there’s a big square thing attached to the plug that would be in the way, so the manufacturer makes sure that it doesn’t overlap onto the plug above or below it on the wall outlet. But, no one uses wall outlets for their modern electronic needs. I don’t have eight wall outlets near the television. I have had big giant wall plugs too heavy to even plug into a wall before, and yet the device was still oriented as if it was going to plug into a wall outlet. In fact, I only have one entire plug near the television because the other plug on the only wall outlet is connected to the light switch. So, I would have to use a power strip if I had more than one device that needed plugged in….and what modern consumer is only using a television? No, there’s a cable box, maybe a gaming system, perhaps a fancy streaming device, and various cords and plugs for the audio equipment.

So, the device that would work fine in a wall outlet is not shaped for a power strip…even though that’s the thing it’s going to be plugged into in 99% of cases. Yes, there are weird solutions, like the picture above, but I think the onus is on manufacturers to make their plugs work with power strips. I mean, in my case, I’m now plugging a power strip into another power strip in order to have enough plugs for all the devices…and that seems like an electrical fire waiting to happen (This excludes the fact that two power strips means about $60 was spent on plug solutions….more than at least one of the devices plugged into it and half the price of the other device. Great return on investment there.)



  1. Not to mention that surge strips come either vertical or horizontal and sometimes you can have a strip with 8 spots but only be able to plug 2 things into it.

  2. these can be quite handy for getting around that problem if most of your devices use USB cables. I have a bunch of them and they are great.

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