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Hints, Tips and Solutions (Do NOT post requests for help here) If you have any useful general hints and tips for vintage technology repair and restoration, please share them here. PLEASE DO NOT POST REQUESTS FOR HELP HERE!

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Old 1st Nov 2017, 6:35 pm   #1
merlinmaxwell
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Default Sockets on a roll

This is a perceived solution to the all too common lack of sockets, how about "Sockets on a Roll" a bit like tiles on a roll but sockets. Modern double sided tape is awfully strong and would hold them up well. Passing over a flush socket box would allow for connexion.

As they say, discuss.
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Old 1st Nov 2017, 6:54 pm   #2
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

You can get 'conversion' boxes/sockets that screw over an existing 1-way 13A outlet to convert it to 4-way.

https://www.directtradesupplies.co.u...ple-convertor/

I don't like these, but have seen plenty in use.
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Old 1st Nov 2017, 7:21 pm   #3
M0FYA Andy
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

I'm not sure I'd want to rely on sticky tape alone, it would depend too much on what it was adhering to - wallpaper, paint etc., and it might deteriorate with age, so I'd want the facility to have retaining screws as well. But tape would be useful to position it whilst inserting the screws.
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Old 1st Nov 2017, 8:02 pm   #4
merlinmaxwell
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

I have loads of sockets in the house, most seem to be full of stuff using less than an amp or so. Perhaps it's time for a BS1363 "lite", no earth, wide voltage range, AC/DC. Most modern SMPS powered stuff will cope with 100 to 250V AC and DC and it would make local "off grid" power much easier to implement. Pins (sockets!) at the top (so wall warts don't drop out), shuttered, defined width maximum so you can plug loads next to each other. Three would happily fit in a double socket box.
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Old 1st Nov 2017, 8:33 pm   #5
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

2-pin low-current [5A max] unpolarised outlets would be useful. Kinda like a slimmer version of the traditional US 10A 115V 2-pin outlets. You could fit six (two rows-of-three) into the footprint of a traditional single-outlet box.

But high-density and wall-warts don't play together.

Must admit, the one thing I really find annoying about BS546/1363 outlets is the way the flex always exits at 90-degrees to the axis of the pins. It makes mounting them low-down on skirting-level trunking essentially impossible. Putting the flex exiting in-line with the pins (like the standard US style and Schuko - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...px-CEE_7-7.jpg ) - seems oh-so-obvious so why wasn't it done??
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Old 1st Nov 2017, 9:03 pm   #6
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

The GEC catalogue for 1910-11 lists both plugs with in-line flex and what was then a new "Home Office Pattern" range of plugs with side entry flex and shields to reduce the possibility of inadvertently touching the pins when inserting or removing. An introductory note about the new plugs says:

" The Plugs here illustrated are all provided with a registered form of hand shield and handle, whereby the flexible cord in no case passes through the hand of the user, thus rendering personal injury impossible, even if the Plug is inserted on a dead short, neither is it possible to withdraw the plug by pulling the flexible cord. The Plug is withdrawn by using the handle protected by the shield.

Our efforts in designing this series of Wall Plugs have been greatly aided by the particularly clear and concise manner in which the objectionable features of the present types and the desirable modifications are set forth in the Annual Report of the Electrical Inspectors of Factories, G.Scott Ram, Esq. (see Annual Report of the Chief Inspector of Factories and Workshops for the year 1909, Pages 183 and 184)."
(emphasis in the original)

I did try to track down a copy of that report, but didn't have any joy. The IEE (as it then was) library didn't hold a copy, and someone I spoke to at the DTI said they didn't have a copy either, but the National Archives might. As that was about the time Marconi started going down the plughole I had more pressing things to do (like sorting out my redundancy package and getting stuck into the new job that I was thankfully able to walk straight into) so I never did pursue it further.

The Home Office design can't have been very popular. The only plugs of that configuration I have seen were the "Wandsworth" gauge plugs that were provided in the council estate in Becontree , Essex, when my aunt lived. They had them until they were re-wired with 13A ring mains in the 1960's. All the 15A and 5A 2 pin plugs I have seen have had in-line flex entry, and the only side entry 2 pin plugs I have seen are the 2A 2 pin plugs that were still being sold by Woolworths until the regs changed requiring plugs to have flex grips in the 1970's.

The only 13A plug with in-line cable entry I have come across is the Clipsal weatherproof range. Screwfix used to sell them and I bought number of these for use in the garden. They no longer carry them but an internet search yields at lest one UK supplier. They are now part of the Schneider line.

Last edited by emeritus; 1st Nov 2017 at 9:28 pm.
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Old 1st Nov 2017, 9:32 pm   #7
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

Quite a few modern sockets include a USB connection, which in many homes would be used instead of a wall wart in a main socket.

I did think a 12VDC supply would be useful in many homes, if each connection had a variable voltage like some of the universal power supplies.

This would save on the number of wall warts needed to be use, which aren't often very ergonomic.
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Old 2nd Nov 2017, 1:54 pm   #8
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

Quote:
Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
Putting the flex exiting in-line with the pins (like the standard US style and Schuko) seems oh-so-obvious so why wasn't it done??
To prevent people pulling the plug out of the socket by yanking on the flex.

It's also neater to have the flex hang neatly down against the wall and helps reduce the risk of kicking the plug/flex.
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Old 2nd Nov 2017, 3:37 pm   #9
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

Several posts have expanded your concept so here's another step in that expansion.

I've got an article here from New Electronics Outlook 2017 extolling the virtues of USB-C which seems to be a high power variable voltage source. One quote: "AC wall sockets with the USB-C port embedded in them have started appearing. This represents the first high powered DC output from a wall socket". I think the load negotiates with the supply on the voltage to provide.

No idea if it will catch on but if so, when the chip-sets become priced at commodity levels, that off-grid idea could be built into outlets.

I've had a simpler scheme in mind for a while to keep my EEEPC and Jornada permanently on charge. It's an appropriate DC-DC converter to plug into a standard USB power outlet as frequently available on 13A twin socket plates. In the limit, the 13A socket can be done away with and the plate covered in USBs.
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Old 2nd Nov 2017, 6:14 pm   #10
dseymo1
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

There was at one time a system based on skirting board with integral busbars into which could be clipped sockets wherever desired.
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Old 2nd Nov 2017, 6:32 pm   #11
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

Quote:
Originally Posted by dseymo1 View Post
There was at one time a system based on skirting board with integral busbars into which could be clipped sockets wherever desired.
Still exists - it's called "Powerline" or "Powerlink" trunking. https://www.mkelectric.com/Documents...ink%20Plus.pdf

I used loads of this - fitted at desktop height - when fitting-out offices, labs, workshops and the like. It avoided the need to scrobble around under desks/benches when you needed to pick-up an additional power outlet.

Annoyingly they didn't offer Schuko or 16/32A "Commando" type outlets...
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Old 2nd Nov 2017, 10:15 pm   #12
Richard_FM
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

I see MK offer their "T-Earth" sockets, probably because places like hospitals, labs etc often use specialist equipment with a non-standard power requirement.
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 12:16 am   #13
OscarFoxtrot
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

There's also this system, where you can clip sockets in where desired and relocate them

http://www.mainlinepower.com/home/
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 8:15 am   #14
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

Quote:
Originally Posted by emeritus View Post
The only 13A plug with in-line cable entry I have come across is the Clipsal weatherproof range..
Im Sure i have seen (possibly still got it somewhere) a Duraplug 13a plug with in line cable entry. Also, the industrial Lewden 13a plugs with the screw thread around the diameter.

Jan
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 10:35 am   #15
Nickthedentist
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

My parents' garden shredder (1980s vintage) had something like that fitted too. It looked like there would have been a mating, inline, weatherproof socket to go with it, but it plugged into a normal 13A extension lead perfectly well.
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Old 3rd Nov 2017, 5:06 pm   #16
dseymo1
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

I suspect that's half of a Duraplug cable connector, Nick. They were also made in a 15A version, an example of which I have here. A very sensible arrangement, IMO, as the appliance can be used as-is, or via the waterproof connector with an extension cable.
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Old 4th Nov 2017, 9:02 am   #17
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

Got one of them around here as well somewhere, yes it fits fine in a standard BS1362 socket but has a matching inline connector to make it weather tight. The only strange thing is that the cable inlet is a cut to size type and therefore doesn't seem very watertight if a all.

attached is a picture from an eBay listing of a similar version of the connector pair (5A BS546 TYPE D variety).
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 8:03 am   #18
dseymo1
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

I think the idea was to cut the inlet to be a tight fit over the cable. There's a degree of elasticity in the housing to allow the cable to be pulled through, but I remember that it was much easier to feed it from the inside, as you'd expect. These days, I'd probably use a smear of silicone grease too.
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Old 5th Nov 2017, 11:51 am   #19
dglcomp
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Default Re: Sockets on a roll

They do seem to be advertised as splash proof which I would expect is right. If I remember though the earth connectors are visible like on old plugs but, of course, having the earth exposed is less of a problem.
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Old 19th Nov 2017, 1:46 pm   #20
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Question Re: Sockets on a roll

Quote:
Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
Must admit, the one thing I really find annoying about BS546/1363 outlets is the way the flex always exits at 90-degrees to the axis of the pins. It makes mounting them low-down on skirting-level trunking essentially impossible.
To overcome that, I have often seen a socket mounted upside-down on the skirting board, so that the cable from the plug goes upwards, not downwards. But is that an infringement of the wiring regs.? And if it is, why?

Al.
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