Rotating Surge Protector: The Portable (and Super Affordable) Way to Free Up Outlets and Guard Against Power Surges
Filed under: Electrical, Power and Data Distribution
If you were to hit the road with your laptop, would you want it to be any less protected against power surges than it is when it’s at home? No way! But are you about to pick up that brick of a surge-suppressing PDU that’s under your desk and toss it into your luggage for safe computer plug-ins on the go? Not a chance.
At least I wouldn’t. Call me reckless, but as much as I’d like to know that my laptop isn’t going to be fried by a random power surge while it’s plugged into an unprotected wall outlet in a hotel or conference room, there’s no way I would reasonably tote along a surge suppressor just in case. I’m not going to sacrifice luggage space that I’d much rather spend on an extra pair of shoes or just-in-case jacket, and besides, what would the TSA think?
But I just came across a cool little traveling gadget accessory that’s made me change my tune about carrying on a surge protector. 360 Electrical has come up with a mini rotating surge protector that plugs right into any wall outlet (it’s about the size of a nightlight) to provide you with a single safe receptacle for, say, that roving laptop of yours.
Sounds like a great big “problem solved” to me. It takes up practically no room in a purse, suitcase or laptop bag, plugs in wherever you need it, and (get ready for the wow factor) it rotates.
Hmmm… a spinning, single-outlet surge protector. If you’re having a “what the heck?” moment here, let me explain. Ever noticed how a lot of the electronics that are important enough to plug into a surge suppressor also happen to have big fat adapters that tend to encroach on adjacent outlets, even when they’re not actually using them? Well, the same thing can happen if you plug those chunky adapter into wall outlets, and that can be a problem if you want full use of both receptacles.
That’s where the rotation feature comes into play. When you need to use that second wall outlet, just turn the 360 rotating surge protector until it (and whatever is plugged into it) is completely out of the way, and then enjoy your newly freed-up receptacle. Pardon the expression, but way to kill two birds with one stone.
Filed under: Energy Conservation, Power and Data Distribution
While I really enjoy trimming down my electric bill and having at least some piece of mind that my TV, computer and other gadgets aren’t going to get fried during some freak power surge, truth be told, I don’t have the spare time (or inclination) to go beyond a certain point in accomplishing either one of those things.
Are the printer and DVD player still continuing to draw power even when I’m asleep at night? They most certainly are, but you won’t find me unplugging anything that’s not being actively used before I shuffle off to bed. And likewise, I don’t ever want to see any of my precious electronics fried to a crisp during a thunder storm, but I’m not about to personally unplug each and every one at the first sign of a rain cloud.
Call me lazy, but I’d rather leave those jobs up to a very smart, green-minded and protective surge protector like the GreenSurge™ from 360 Electrical®. Designed to deliver the usual overvoltage protection while also going to bat for your budget, the GreenSurge features a unique combination of outlets that work together to intuitively cut power to devices that aren’t in use, which can save you some big money over time.
Here’s how it works: the GreenSurge Smart Surge Protector is made up of Master, Power Save, and Always-On outlets. You’d plug a main device, like a computer or TV, into the Master Outlet. The Power Save outlets would then be used to power peripherals (or secondary devices attached to the main device) like DVD/Bluray players, gaming systems, printers and scanners. Always-On outlets are for other non-peripheral devices that are always in use and need constant power flow.
As long as the main device (the one using the Master outlet) is on and running, the peripherals have all the power they need. But when the master device is turned off, that shutdown is detected by the GreenSurge, which then cuts power to the now-unused peripherals that are plugged into the Power Save outlets, preventing them from silently drawing (and wasting) power as they sit there doing nothing. As a result, you save energy and money without having to do a thing. If you ask me, that’s just smart… almost as smart as this surge suppressor.
Filed under: Electrical, Power and Data Distribution
This may seem like a crazy question, but power receptacles are duplex (ie, they come in pairs) for a reason, right? Once upon a time, when electricity was just starting to get around, some very thoughtful and practical engineer got the idea that if you’re going to take the trouble to put in a receptacle, you might at well have two usable outlets instead of just one (at least that’s how I imagine it went). The concept worked like a charm until electrical safety codes got stricter, and power cord plugs grew to almost grotesque proportions to accommodate ground pins, GFCIs and who knows what else. Granted, these features keep us a lot safer in the long run, but seriously – have you tried to use two ginormous mutant plugs in adjacent outlets lately? It’s impossible!
I took out a tape measure this morning to size up a few of the bulkier plugs we have laying around the house, and here’s a sampling of the numbers I came up with…
Hair dryer plug:1½” x 2¾”
Beard Trimmer (for the record, not mine) plug: 1½” x 2”
Digital camera charger plug: 2¼” x 2”
With dimensions like that, and the way they overlap onto neighboring outlets, our appliance and gadget plugs are effectively halving the number of functional power outlets in our homes. Luckily, 360 Electrical has decided to help us take back what’s rightfully ours with their revolutionary rotating outlet.
At first glance, it looks like a traditional duplex receptacle, but the 360 rotating outlet sets itself apart from the rest as soon as you plug a power cord in and turn your wrist. The outlets turn! Any way you need them to! When you have the power to shift the positions of your outlets as needed, that means you’ll pretty much never have to worry about plugs crowding each other out again. Want to have a nightlight and a hairdryer plugged in at the same time? No problem!
What’s really amazing about these rotating receptacles is that they can be spun around even while they’re powering something, so you get all the benefits of customization with complete, nonstop functionality as well. And once you have them exactly where you want them, the outlets lock into place at one of the 18 locking points along each outlet’s circumference. If you’re sick of strategizing which devices to plug in where, you’ll definitely want to give these a try.
Filed under: Gadgets, Power and Data Distribution
If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that if you need to park or charge your gadgets in or on something, that something had better be from BlueLounge® Designs. An awful lot of charging stations and electronics organizers come my way, and without fail, the items from BlueLounge are the ones that consistently cause my lower jaw to come crashing (involuntarily, of course) down onto my laptop desk. They’re always chic, modern, a little bit funky, and minimalist in a way that could never be misconstrued as boring.
Case in point, our latest BlueLounge® addition, the Refresh Charging Station. This hot little number is gorgeously designed, comes fully equipped with built-in connectors, and is so small that you could almost call it “tiny.” It’s exactly the kind of thing you’d want babysitting the cell phone and iPod™ that are, if I’m not mistaken, currently sprawling out on your counter or desktop.
This brilliant little gadget corral/charger measures only (approximately) 9½ x 2 x 5½ inches, so it leaves most of your surface space available for more important things, but despite its compact footprint, it can accommodate up to 3 small devices at once. Refresh’s gently sloped surface is rubberized to provide plenty of traction for the gadgets that lounge on it, because, let’s face it, no one wants a cracked iPhone™ screen under any circumstances… least of all a slippery charging station mishap.
As I mentioned before, the Refresh charging station is very discreetly tricked out with 2 iPod cables, 2 USB extensions, and mini and micro USB connectors, so right off the bat, it’s compatible with 1,838 different gadgets, even without their individual chargers. When it’s time to repower, just slip the connector(s) you need through the charging surface, plug in, and let the Refresh do its work.
Convenience, organization and technology all rolled into one space-conscious and very stylish package. Now that’s refreshing.
Filed under: Cables and Wires, Power and Data Distribution
Not too long ago, I blogged about an extremely cool extension cord lock that’s able to internally secure connected power extensions to prevent accidental pull-aparts. An amazing concept and product, but one that’s really better left to pros who work with power tools on a daily basis, than to a mere DIY weekend warrior like me. It’s the kind of thing that I’d love to use in the yard and garage, but considering the fact that it needs to be hardwired onto your main extension cord, this particular plug lock was just a little too hardcore and industrial for my needs.
Just as I was beginning to think that extension cord locking was out of my league, the Angel-Guard® Cord Connect™ Plug Protector waltzed in the room – only a couple of days ago, in fact. Now this is something that any homeowner or handy type can really sink their teeth into (not literally, of course). Instead of installing permanently and working internally, this plug protector forms a protective shield around joined extension cord plugs, to keep them together while blocking out water and contaminants like dust, dirt, sawdust, and grass clippings. And best of all, it’s not permanent – when you don’t need it, just remove it and toss it into a drawer until next time.
But enough of that – let’s get down to how it works. The Cord Connect™ has a hinged, shell-like design that’s equipped with a cord pass-through at each end. To use it, just insert joined extension cord plugs into the connector chamber, and route each cord out through its respective pass-through. Once that’s done, just fold the Angel-Guard’s halves together, snap it closed, and go on your way.
The Angel-Guard® Cord-Connect™ is perfect for times when you’re doing yard work that involves things like electrical hedge trimmers, running some garden/party lights to brighten up a cook-out, or throwing an outdoor kids’ party with the kind of fun stuff (bounce houses and cotton candy machines, anyone?) that needs plugging in. Once it’s in place, you can keep your mind on the work or play at hand, instead of worrying that someone’s going to snag a foot on your extension cords and pull them apart, or that some stray water from the Slip ‘N Slide is going to get on the plugs and cause a short.
Kind of a relief, isn’t it?
Filed under: Electrical, Power and Data Distribution
As I was scrolling through our extension cord page this morning, I was reminded of a product that, for no good reason, I’ve given way too little attention to. I’m all about electrical safety and smart working, and so is this little gem. How could I have passed it by?
Ever joined an extension cord to the power cord of a device or tool and started working, just to have some klutz come tripping along, catch his/her foot on the attached cords, and rip them apart? Rude interruptions like that can definitely cramp your working style, not to mention do the type of cord damage that can lead to an eventual electrical fire. Not good.
But I’ll tell you what else qualifies as “not good.” The way that people are apparently tying cords together to prevent this from happening. Are you serious??? I was so surprised to find that this is actually standard practice that, just for fun, I Googled “tying extension cords together.” A frightening number of results came back, one of the worst (and most popular) of which was a step-by-step eHow tutorial on how to get the job done.
While this seems like a quick and easy fix for the extension cord separation problem, people don’t seem to realize that tying an electrical cable in knots can lead to cracked insulation (hello, nasty shock) and damaged conductors – the kind that overheat and ignite. This solution is essentially a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or more specifically, a stupid and potentially harmful move disguised as a fast and clever fix for an annoying problem.
Call me crazy, but if I’m going for a simple but ingenious solution, I’d prefer that it be the genuine article, and not a half-baked “problem solver” that will most likely bite me back when I least expect it. That’s why I really like the Qwik-Lok Extension Cord Connector.
This twist-lock connector actually hardwires onto an industrial extension cord, replacing the original female end. Once it’s on there, whenever you plug in a power tool or piece of machinery, all you have to do is twist the connector, and it will actually lock the other plug in place internally, by sending spring-loaded locks through the holes in the device’s plug prongs. After the cords are locked together, it would take well above 250 pounds of pulling force to pry them apart.
Yep, I think that should hold.
7-Outlet Surge Protector with Individual Switches: Selective Outlet Powering for Gadget Owners Who Like to Call the Shots
I’ll admit it: I’m a little bit of a control… ummmmm…. aficionado. Take other people’s word for it that something is done? Don’t make me laugh. This chick needs to see it with her own two eyes, and make sure that it’s done right. Yes, it makes me a tad insufferable at times, but at least I know that the doors are locked before I go to sleep, that the thermostat has been turned down for the night, and that just a couple of lights are left strategically on, so that we don’t come home to a totally dark house.
That said, I’ve always liked the idea of smart power strips, which automatically shut off power-wasting peripheral electronics when the main devices they work with (ie, TVs or computers) aren’t being used. These intelligent PDUs are great to have around; they save energy and money, all without you having to do a thing. For all the normal people out there, smart power strips sound like the perfect way to plug in: they keep things on when you need them, and switch them off when you don’t… whether or not you remember to yourself.
But what about the in-charge, “I’ll-Do-it-Myselfer” types like me? Maybe we want to selectively turn things off on our own, without a smarty-pants gadget calling the shots for us. Maybe we have excellent reasons why we would prefer that certain devices remain powered. Maybe we, the hardheads who trust our own judgement most, inspired this extremely cool surge protector.
At first glance, this 7-outlet surge protector looks like most other PDUs… until you realize that each outlet has its own on/off switch. Hmmmmmmmm. Basically, thanks to those switches, you get to decide which plugged-in gadgets run, and which have had their fill of electricity for the day. In short, you’re the brains of this operation, not the power strip itself. I thought you’d like that.
There are a few nice little features that help you out in a good way, though. For example, those switches glow red when the outlets they correspond to are receiving power – a nice, easy way to assess the situation at a glance. And secondly, the 7th switch doesn’t belong specifically to a single outlet, but to the entire surge protector. Need to shut everything on or off at once? That’s the way to do it… if you make the decision to.
Filed under: Cables and Wires, Power and Data Distribution
Most people out there (including, most likely, you) would be hard-pressed to derive joy and excitement from something as mundane as an extension cord. But after 4+ years focusing on the ins and out of the cabling world, I’ve reached the point where I actually find certain power extensions interesting, even (dare I say it?) cool. And whereas it could be off-putting to others if I were to babble on in person about the amazing attributes of a given extension cable, I’m not directly subject to weird looks if I talk about them in this blog… so lucky me, and here goes! I promise, you’re going to like this one, too.
Coleman Cables is known for producing some of the most well-made, thoughtfully designed extension cords on the market, and the Cord Runner™ is no exception. I’m just sorry that I didn’t meet this product in time to introduce you to it in time for outdoor holiday decorating! If you’ve ever been hanging lights just to wish you had power outlets at regular intervals, then the Cord Runner™ definitely has New Best Friend potential for you.
Unlike most extension cords that plug into a wall outlet on one end, and provide you with a couple of outlets at the other, the Cord Runner™ extension cord actually has 3 outlets spaced out along its length, so you have convenient power access points staggered all the way from Point A to Point B. An outlet setup like this can be a huge asset not only for the holiday decorating I mentioned before, but also for jobs that require several power tools to be available at the same time, yet spaced slightly apart.
The Cord Runner™ is available in lengths ranging from 6 to 50 feet, so no matter what the scale of your job is, there’s a cord to suit it. And here’s another great feature: all 3 outlets are molded out of clear plastic, with protective flaps to keep out dirt and moisture, as well as a neon power indicator light embedded into each one. When power is running through a receptacle, the entire outlet glows to let you know that. It increases the safety of the cord, and makes it look good too, which never hurts.
Filed under: Gadgets, Power and Data Distribution
Thanks to everyone’s combined obsessions with gadgets and green energy, tech gifts like solar chargers are hot ticket items this holiday season. With a few days left of Hanukkah and Christmas just around the corner, environmentally-friendly gadget accessories are great quick-fix for the last-minute, impossible-to-buy-for friends and family on your list.
Talk about perfect timing. I just came across our very newest product, the Solar Power Pack by Manhattan/IC Intracom, and I have to say, I like it. I’ve played around with other pocket-sized solar chargers before, and while they were very cool and worked, I felt like they were a little… how can I say this? Prototypical. Like someone had only just worked the kinks out, and then put them on the market.
There’s nothing wrong with that (after all, pretty much every decent product out there has undergone a period of evolving from good to great). It’s just that I like to see little bit of polish and refinement in the things that I buy – I’d rather not have the “rough draft,” so to speak.
That’s why I like the Solar Power Pack - it still charges small electronics with the power of the Sun, but has much more of a “next generation” feel to it. And at 3.7 by 1.5 inches, it’s tiny… smaller than your average cell phone, as a matter of fact. Believe it or not, the mini solar cells have the ability to power MP3 players up to 45 hours, cell phones for up to 12, and portable video games for up to 2. Not too shabby, considering that that’s free electricity.
What’s really cool is that the Solar Power Pack comes with a small variety of adapter cables and interchangeabe tips, which allow you to fit just about any popular device out there. Need to top up the battery pack’s power at night, or during a particularly sunless day? Just plug it into your computer’s USB port, and you’ll be good to go in no time. The Solar Power Pack is also perfect for international travel, because it lets you charge your gadgets anywhere, without ever worrying about which wall outlet adapter you’ll need.
Remote Controlled Power Outlets: How to Switch On the Twinkle Lights Without Knocking Over the Christmas Tree
Filed under: Electrical, Gadgets, Power and Data Distribution
I made a discovery last night. A bad one. One that could mean the premature demise of my Christmas tree unless otherwise remedied. I can’t plug in/unplug the lights unless I practically climb over and through the tree. That’s twice a night, people, and we’re talking about one of “them balsams” referenced in the Parker-family tree-buying scene in A Christmas Story… the kind that shed their needles like nobody’s business. We’re still nearly 3 weeks out from the Big Day, and I’ve been getting nervous that I’ll have a huge, bald Christmas tree skeleton in the corner of my living room by the time the 25th rolls around.
Needless to say, the old noggin has been working furiously to come up with a solution that doesn’t involve me knocking needles, ornaments and tinsel off the side of my beloved tannenbaum 14 times a week. And by George, I think I’ve got it! Remote-Controlled Power Outlets. Don’t know why I didn’t think of these babies before, but I figured that at least a few of you must be struggling with the same problem, so I wanted to get the word out while there’s still plenty of time.
These remote-controlled outlets are cheap and easy to set up, which is pretty nice considering that most of us tend to be tapped-out on both time and money around this time of year. Here’s how they work: just plug a remote outlet into a standard wall receptacle, and then plug whatever it is you’ll be switching on/off remotely (for me, Christmas lights) into the remote outlet. Then grab the remote control, point, and click. You can even use them outdoors – we’ve gotten great reviews from a few customers who have used the outlets to operate lights and fountains in backyard water features.
Did I mention that they have built-in timers, too? During the holidays or at any other time of the year, the possibilities are endless.
NOTE: This product has been discontinued and is no longer available.
We do offer a similar alternate product – Check out the Tork/NSI 655D Remote-Controlled Indoor/Outdoor Timer