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Old 27th Oct 2017, 10:53 pm   #1
Richard_FM
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Default Compact 4 way Mains Connector

In the late 1980s one of my friends had a 4 way mains connector about the size of an audio tape box.

It used some small sized plugs, I can't remember what the connections were like but they were about 2 cm square.

My friend used it on his Commodore 64, TV 2 other devices in be bedroom.

I can remember seeing this multi-way in the Argos catalogue around this time but in a few years they had vanished.

I guess having a non-standard plug with probably no suitable adaptor to connect into a normal socket counted against it.

Does anyone have any idea who made this, or has encountered something similar?
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 11:02 pm   #2
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

I had one that had 4 plugs with 3 round thin pins in line. The centre pin was earth and longer than the others.
I forget the current rating but it was probably around 6 amps, the connections to the sockets inside the box was a printed circuit I think.
I dumped it when I found that for some obscure reason it introduced interference into any audio device plugged into it.
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 11:04 pm   #3
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

Not much to go on there. Was it a 2 pin connector?
Were the pins flat, to fit the rectangular sockets shown here?
http://www.quadrevisie.eu/images/165.jpg
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 11:16 pm   #4
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

No, 3 round pins. It was a 4 way extension lead.

Graham. Are you referring to the 3 pin Bulgin mains socket in the picture? Ah, no, I see, flat pins as in American 2 pin mains sockets shown in the picture.
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 11:25 pm   #5
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

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Originally Posted by Boater Sam View Post
I had one that had 4 plugs with 3 round thin pins in line. The centre pin was earth and longer than the others.
I forget the current rating but it was probably around 6 amps, the connections to the sockets inside the box was a printed circuit I think.
I dumped it when I found that for some obscure reason it introduced interference into any audio device plugged into it.
As a schoolboy photographer I wired all my darkroom equipment with 3 Amp Bulgin plugs with sockets on a distribution board (earthed metal box) with individual toggle switches. Yikes, the pins would have been live, domestic ELCB/RCD were unheard of, and the darkroom was, well, dark.

Thing was, you couldn't roll up to your local Supermarket and buy a four-way distribution bar, I don't think either of those concepts were well established in the mid '60s.
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 11:30 pm   #6
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

Hello. Was it like one of these currently behind my kitchen audio system.
See pics.

David.
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 11:34 pm   #7
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

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Originally Posted by Boater Sam View Post
Graham. Are you referring to the 3 pin Bulgin mains socket in the picture? Ah, no, I see, flat pins as in American 2 pin mains sockets shown in the picture.
Sorry Sam our posts crossed my question was directed to Richard, I don't know why I thought his box might use those connectors, people did all sorts of daft things in the past hence my darkroom anecdote, and I think I once saw a distribution box using them
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Old 28th Oct 2017, 12:04 am   #8
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

They come worse than the one in post #6.
4 sockets bunched together and the 13 amp pins molded into the other side so that it covers the 13a socket next to it.
Not very useful.
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Old 28th Oct 2017, 12:09 am   #9
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

But fine if used in a single socket.....
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Old 28th Oct 2017, 12:27 am   #10
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

How often do you see let alone get to use a single socket?
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Old 28th Oct 2017, 1:40 am   #11
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

As Rambo said, there wasn't all the modern "protection" household circuitry in place back then but I never heard of any death or injury except from people being unwise with ordinary 13amp sockets and adaptors. You couldn't plug your 3 Bar Electric Fire in from the lounge for example. These systems or just a terminal strip, were much more tidy but I didn't generally go there as it was more convenient to be able to plug "separates" into a standard plug board when experimenting. I'm not sure these gadgets were inherently more dangerous than anything else though, just not as adaptable in the end!

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Old 28th Oct 2017, 4:45 am   #12
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

Getting back to those 4-way socket blocks, I am pretty sure I had one (may still have it) that was a little larger and which took those plugs that have pins like the normal 'kettle lead' but without a shroud round them (so that the plug could be dangerously mis-mated with a normal IEC socket, earth into live, for example).
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Old 28th Oct 2017, 8:42 am   #13
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

Quote:
Originally Posted by teetoon View Post
Hello. Was it like one of these currently behind my kitchen audio system.
Yes David, that's the one but mine was white. It worked but could never understand why it caused interference on the mains, I remember pulling it apart but never found any loose connections.
I have an inherent distrust of PCBs with high current mains on them so it went in the bin.
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Old 28th Oct 2017, 11:44 am   #14
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

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Originally Posted by Refugee View Post
How often do you see let alone get to use a single socket?
As it happens, every day. It's above the cooker in the kitchen and powers the ignition system.

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Old 28th Oct 2017, 11:48 am   #15
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

I use those 13A plugs you can fit four wires into quite a lot.
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Old 28th Oct 2017, 1:05 pm   #16
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

Thanks for the feedback, I done some searching & found these were made by Micromark.

http://www.plugsocketmuseum.nl/GB/MultiConnector.jpg

Somehow I imagined them to be smaller than they actually are.

The plugs look like Italian ones.
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Old 28th Oct 2017, 1:24 pm   #17
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

Quote:
Originally Posted by Herald1360 View Post
As it happens, every day. It's above the cooker in the kitchen and powers the ignition system.
I will let you off for that one due to the wall area being borderline too narrow.
My house has three single sockets but I am allowed because the consumer unit is an old brown Bakelite one.
By the cooker we have a triple socket to make up for those singles.
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Old 28th Oct 2017, 1:28 pm   #18
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

The "Masterplug" adaptors in various incarnations (initially with a short cable, later with a rigid plug to four sockets adaptor and later still back to having a cable) were sold by Argos (at least), and popular until the advent of moulded-on BS1363 plugs for things like hi-fi stacks and computer equipment.

My Dad made his own version with "LNE" connectors (the mains-rated version of XLR connectors) that may or may not have been ex-BBC. (LNE connectors are touch-proof either way around, and I believe suppliers were inconsistent with what they used for outlets and inlets ..... So much potential for hilarity .....)
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Old 28th Oct 2017, 2:48 pm   #19
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

I remember reading in a Cannon catalogue that their mains XLR connectors were designed in response to a request from the BBC.
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Old 28th Oct 2017, 2:57 pm   #20
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Default Re: Compact 4 way Mains Connector

Quote:
Originally Posted by julie_m View Post
My Dad made his own version with "LNE" connectors (the mains-rated version of XLR connectors) that may or may not have been ex-BBC. (LNE connectors are touch-proof either way around, and I believe suppliers were inconsistent with what they used for outlets and inlets ..... So much potential for hilarity .....)
I can remember my Dad saying he accidentally wired an extension for his strimmer so the flat 3 pin plug was live, but realised before he plugged it in.

When I bought a similar plug & socket combination for extending a cable & made sure I got them the same way round.

Specialist non-standard connections are worth a thread in themselves.
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