Monday, October 15, 2012

Switch Box

This weekend I finally finished a project that has been on my mind for quite some time: a Switch box!

In a few words, it is a box of electrical plugs, each with its own switch.

A few months ago we changed our old CRT TV by a new flat modern HD thing, mainly to get rid of the annoying little decoder box that we were forced to use in order to see the channels that we liked that were moved from analog to digital, and, since we every night switch off all devices, in the hardware switch we made sure the new TV had such a hardware switch.
So when we come home, all happy with the new TV, and switch, we discover that the nice sound bar that came with the TV not only required a separate power supply (plug) but didn't have a real switch, that allied to some devices hanging around that did not have a hardware switch (DVD player) which required a unplug action, until I hacked a light switch on to the cable, I decided to make the following contraption.

 Under side

 Top side

It is a series of 6 plugs, just like an extension cord, but where each individual plug has its own switch, UK style. I then hid it under the furniture where the TV and all devices rest on, with the plugs nicely hidden under it.
I think these things should be sold in shops! As a side note, I did consider having a remote control for this, using a micro-controller and some SSRs,  but that would complicate it, both in terms of build time, and safety considerations.
I am also not sure I it will ever recover its cost in saved energy, but hey, if we account for the energy I save going around unplugging devices at the plug, it already payed it self off today!

I hope you can get a good idea of the result from the pictures!

Mounted in place

Another view of it in place