The CPSC Says Plug To Socket, Not Plug To Plug, Please

During a power cut, it goes without saying that all the lights and sockets in a house stop working. Savvy rural homeowners stock up on candles, batteries, LED lights and power inverters. The more adventurous simply hook up their home electrical system to a generator using a power cord with a plug on one end between the generator and a wall outlet. It should be so obviously dangerous that it’s useless, but it’s become widespread enough that the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a warning regarding the practice. In particular, they’re worried that you don’t even have to wire a track because they’re readily available on Amazon.

The dangers they cite include electrocution, fire hazards from circumventing home electrical safeguards, and even carbon monoxide poisoning because the cables are so short the generator must be next to the socket. Hackaday readers will not need to be told about these dangers, even if in very rare and very special cases we have seen people in our community do it. Maybe there is a flaw in the way we wire our homes, and we should provide a way to decouple our low-power circuits in the event of a power outage.

It’s likely that over the next few decades the growth of home battery storage units, like the Tesla Powerwall, will make our homes more resilient to power outages, and anyone tempted to use a plug-to- plug won’t notice their home switching to stored or solar power. Meanwhile, some of us have our own ways of coping with power outages.

Image Taken: Evan-Amos, Public domain.

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