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Thread: Dirkcheap Power Strip!

  1. #1
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    Default Dirkcheap Power Strip!

    While building a few Dirkcheap SSRs, I was still trying to decide how to best enclose them for safety and tidiness. I do not plan to have them outside in the elements because they would easily be buried under several feet of snow thanks to Northern Indiana winters. A light bulb came on (pun intended) as I looked over on my work bench and saw a power strip. I made a trip to Walmart and picked up 8 power strips for just over $3 a piece. I'm sure I'm not the first one to do this but I have not seen anything like it posted anywhere so I also decided to take pictures along the way and threw a little guide together. Questions, comments and thoughts are welcomed!IMG_20140209_134809.jpgIMG_20140209_102804.jpgIMG_20140211_145810.jpg
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    Last edited by codec101; 06-08-2014 at 10:24 AM. Reason: Updated Guide - V2

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Dirkcheap Power Strip!

    Awesome idea! Might give it a try.
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    Default Re: Dirkcheap Power Strip!

    Cool! Nice document as well!

    I guess some pre-planning where these will go in the display is needed because of the cat5 being a predetermined length? Is there room at the end of the strip for a RJ45 on a perf board so different cables could be used if it was to be used outside?
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    Default Re: Dirkcheap Power Strip!

    Great Job with that!!!! Great job on the documentation of it. Thanks for sharing with everyone!!!
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  6. #5
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    Default Re: Dirkcheap Power Strip!

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne J View Post
    Cool! Nice document as well!

    I guess some pre-planning where these will go in the display is needed because of the cat5 being a predetermined length? Is there room at the end of the strip for a RJ45 on a perf board so different cables could be used if it was to be used outside?
    As far as the cat 5 length goes, you could predetermine a fixed length. It does appear that there may be enough room at the end of the power strip to place an actual RJ45 jack yes, in fact seeing how I have 6 more of these to assemble, I might try that. With this particular strip, there is 4" to place your circuits and Dirkcheap is 2.25" long. I have in front of me a couple RJ45 wall mount jack left over from when I installed a couple CAT5 lines a while back, I think that would fit in there. I'll update pics if I can make that work. These SSRs are going to be plugged into an arduino mega and will be sitting very close to it and will be plugged into a little adapter I made to go from RJ45 to the Arduino board so for these I just cut 6' pre-made patch cables in half.

    Again these are not waterproof but I guess you could use them outside if you put them in some other watertight container.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Dirkcheap Power Strip!

    Nothing is really new under the sun. There was a lot interest in this approach about eight or nine years ago over on the computerchristmas.com site. That site is even harder to search than diyc, but here is a how-to that I just located.
    Phil

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Dirkcheap Power Strip!

    Thank you Phil!!! Nothing like visiting a old friend computerchristmas.com where I first stated lurking.
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  9. #8
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    Default Re: Dirkcheap Power Strip!

    What a clever idea!

    As far as the length of the cat5 goes, it'd be easy to attach a straight-through F-F adapter onto the end of the existing cat5 to get more length. If I recall, Monoprice has these for about 40 or 50 cents apiece or so.

    Nice craftsmanship, writeup and a very useful result!

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  10. #9
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    Default Re: Dirkcheap Power Strip!

    You are switching the neutral, not the hot. While electrically it will work, it's a NEC violation and a safety hazard as the lights will be connected to live 110v when they are off. The proper fix would be to leave the neutral intact and instead put the SSR in the hot lead (the one connected to the switch).
    /mike

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Dirkcheap Power Strip!

    Quote Originally Posted by n1ist View Post
    You are switching the neutral, not the hot. While electrically it will work, it's a NEC violation and a safety hazard as the lights will be connected to live 110v when they are off. The proper fix would be to leave the neutral intact and instead put the SSR in the hot lead (the one connected to the switch).
    /mike
    I wanted to leave the existing on/off switch in tact which does switch the hot, but I get what you are saying with the SSR switching the neutral. That did cross my mind but given the fact that with the SSR would be constantly switching the circuits on and off, why one even try to do anything while its plugged in and operating?

    As I said, the existing switch does completely turn the HOT wire off when switched off. I suppose one could rewire it completely to have the existing switch control the HOT and the SSR switch the hot as suggested. I'll update it for that.
    Last edited by codec101; 02-10-2014 at 01:38 PM.

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