Homemade power strip

Homemade power strip

Chris Kaufmann’s interesting take on the power strip involves outlet and switch boxes spaced along a cord. Great step-by-steps on the project site.

32 thoughts on “Homemade power strip

  1. Jeff says:

    The OP has used cable connectors that aren’t designed to be used with non-metallic sheathed cable (NM), or romex. The screw will wear through the outer sheath and insulation on the romex, creating conditions for an electrical fault. By all means, folks, MAKE stuff… but do it safely and correctly, particularly if you’re going to post it for general consumption.

    1. Jeff says:

      I commented accordingly on the OP’s site, as well. Hopefully he’ll edit his post to prevent folks from hurting themselves or their property.

    2. Scott says:

      Yeah, those “protective clamps” on each end of the outlet boxes are not the correct ones for proper strain relief. Jeff is correct.

  2. mikeiver says:

    That is the first thing I noticed. Guess You beat me to the post.

    Use the proper connectors and instead of NM, how about using SO instead. Also, use 4S boxes with raise plates, they will work better and they will have far less edges to get caught.


  3. misterx says:

    the other problem here is the installation of a male plug on NM cable. They are designed for stranded wire only and should not be used as shown. In fact NM cable shouldnt be used in this application at all. Proper cord (SO/SJO/ST/SJT and their varients) should be used along with the proper strain reliefs. I also dont see the boxes bonded. Nifty idea, but poor implementation.

  4. mikeiver says:

    I just buy the steel boxed power strips and a 12Ga extension cord. Throw in a proper strain relief and you have a proper power strip. Have used it for years in construction with not an issue. Nice thing about the power strip is that it has built in over current protection in the switch.

    I fell like a d!@k for ripping into the guys project but… Electrical and Gas are the two trades where you do not tread unless you really know what you are doing.


  5. Tom Lynham says:

    For the cost of the components, you can buy two Chinese UL-approved power strips. Plug one into the other, and wow! — eleven outlets!

    Sorry Chris – bad build. To be constructively critical, if you had put all of this into an approved box and included a breaker, nice build.


  6. Chris W says:

    I agree with the previous comments.

    Did anyone notice this?
    “Consumables 1 plug (I get two because I almost always mess up the first one)”

    If he messes up a simple plug then he shouldn’t be doing electrical work.

    That said, a lot of power strips (even steel ones) are poorly made and if you need heavy duty then some thick rubber jacketed cord and a pair of duplex receptacles in a quad box or two make a great homemade 4 or 8 outlet expander. The older metal Waber power strips were notorious for having poor connections between the AC bus wire and the outlet. I have had to solder the contacts on a couple dozen of them. The newer ones are better.

  7. mikeiver says:

    I went through 3 different boxes before finding one I liked the internals of. It had real 15A duplex outlets and the case was made of deep drawn 24Ga Steel. I have been using the same box for years in construction. Besides the occasional over current trip when you have 3 saws running at the same time it works great. Now if I could just keep the idiots from cutting my cord…..


    1. misterx says:

      just a FYI, dont know what kind of construction you do but OSHA prohibits relocatable power taps (outlet strips) on construction sites.

  8. mikeiver says:


    If all construction was done under strict adherence to OSHA not a thing would get done and a simple $1,000.00 shed would cost $10,000.00. OSHA is fine to a certain point, but only so…

    FYI, you are supposed to use a spider box with GFCI on each outlet. Problem is that allot of the GFCI units are so sensitive that they trip on almost nothing. Another problem is that the cables and boxes are stolen off of the site so often that it is hard to keep in compliance. LOL

    1. misterx says:

      Electrical safety on a construction site is a serious issue, I am glad you find it amusing. People have been killed by temporary power on construction sites. As I said, I dont know what sort of construction you do, if youre only building $1,000 sheds you probably never cross paths with an inspector. That said, the prospect of getting caught should not be the deciding factor when considering whether to comply with safety standards, it should be your own welfare and that of those around you.

      GFCIs are a must. If you find that they are tripping all the time you have leakage in whatever you have plugged into them which is dangerous. The GFCI is doing its job.

      Whether or not you are using a spider box would depend on if you have a 50 amp CS twistlock feed or not. Doesnt really have anything to do with an illegal outlet strip or lack of GFCI protection.

      1. mikeiver says:

        You misread my comment, obviously. Not a one of my tools have ever tripped a GFCI, they are all in perfect repair. If I have a leaky field, it is pulled and replaced. If i have a cord that has even a nick or a small crack, it gets replaced. If 14Ga is good enough, it is 12Ga for me. I used to have a spider box and 100′ of 50Amp 6/8Ga cable with the proper twist locks. A NEMA 3R box and booted cover for mounting at the panel. Guess where they are now. $1,000.00 GONE. The fact that I have worked in shops and construction all my life and NEVER been injured should speak to my seriousness regarding safety. No one working with or for me has ever been allowed to do something that would allow them to get hurt either. Strict adherence to the rules negates the need for simple common sense. Where are the thinkers now days? They are fewer and farther between. Use common sense and think things through and there will be little chance of injury.

        At this point we are far off subject and the spirit of the article. I have worked everything from simple 110volt home feeds, not a typo, to 1600Amp 480 office buildings while hot, Major data centers, 1,000 cube roll outs, etc. You are not the only one who has some idea of which way the wind blows. So kindly do not assume. Thanks!


  9. Jamesmyname says:

    I don’t have any electrical knowledge to add here, but if there is a fire, and something like this is found anywhere nearby, good luck making an insurance claim.

  10. craig says:

    I made an outlet strip like this, but I made heavy duty pipe standoffs between the boxes. What is wrong with this, other than no strain reliefs mentioned earlier, is 14/2, 12/2 construction wire is not intended to flex or bend often. As long as proper strain reliefs are used and a heavy duty insulated stranded (not solid copper) cord is used, wired correctly and securly… I see no reason why this is unsafe or more unsafe as a cheap brittle plastic flimsy Taiwan made “UL approved” outlet strip.
    Mine was made to STAY on the wall mount unlike brittle plastic ones where the keyhole slots broke as soon as you unplugged something, as well as allow room for transformers.

  11. Chris K says:

    Rather than reply one-by-one since there are a few here:
    Yes, I used the wrong cable connectors and re-did the whole thing with the right ones – but didn’t re-take the pictures. Definitely my bad. I know one shouldn’t use romex where it flexes at all, but this is a case where I knew it wouldn’t be moving – if it was I’d have just used a cheap power strip. The reason for not using a power strip in the first place – I wanted a more convenient switch for turning everything off and more spacing for convenience. For the plugs – when attaching it, I either lose one of the screws that you have to take all the way out to attach things, or the cheap plastic wasn’t put together right in the first place – If I end up with a good one, it’s fine, but they’re often so cheap (read:disposably cheap) that they weren’t right to start with. All that said, I’ll do better next time with the suggestions here, promise.

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net

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