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Electrical mayhem

Hard-wired for hellishness

Sep 13, 2017

Desktop computer; phone; router; Time Capsule; LEDs; active loudspeakers (x2); audio mixer; external hard drives (x2); fan; desk lamp.

Twelve electrical devices, permanently plugged in just to make my work space work. Two more -- USB charger and audio recorder -- plugged in intermittently, although seldom simultaneously.

Six require step down transformers to deliver some level of DC. And of course those wall warts get in each others' way, which is why I need four (!) extension strips, offering a total of 20 outlets.

I know all this because last night one of the four extension strips that underpin this mayhem went pffft.

Hasty scrabbling around in the big box of spare cables allowed normal service to be restored in time to watch a show, but now I'm faced with really restoring things, preferably to a better state than before.

It is crazy, though, that the modern house is so, forgive me, hard-wired that the only way to adapt to modern life is with a medusoid tangle of cables and whatnot. Wouldn't it be cool if there were a separate DC circuit to eliminate all those wall warts, assuming, of course, that device manufacturers could agree on a common voltage? Wouldn't it be great if mains supply could emerge at more than two or three sockets per room? I did notice at IKEA a couple of weeks ago, while seeking to replace a lamp that had blown, and that turns out to be unreplaceable, that some of the new strip lighting has additional mains sockets and USB chargers, built in. When another lamp goes, I'll shift to those, for the kitchen. But even that won't help at my desk.

I did today see a rather stylish extension socket, which can accomodate five of the big European plugs, I like that it has a single controlling switch, but it doesn't appear to attach to the wall, and desk space is at a premium. So I'll probably end up just replacing the one that went pffft.

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