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I have seen many dangerous uses of
extension chords and outlet multipliers.
The multiplying of outlets from just one
outlet is not in itself dangerous if all
components using those outlets are small,
but this could be dangerous if there are
many large appliances on the circuit. But
is one to tell how many amps are
being drawn from each appliance?
Vacuum cleaners are a little easy, many
say "12 amps" right on the front of them,
but what of the others? Blenders, drills,
TV's? An outlet should be created that has
a cheap LED that displays the amount of
amps from that plug. If the outlet is
multiplied and more appliances are added,
the user will know how many amps he as
drawn, and safely limit them to the wire
rating and the breaker rating. I believe
that this would reduce electrical fires.
Also, not an invention, but something that
could be cheaply inplemented is the power
rating be listed on each appliance, clearly,
on the chord so when they go to the plug,
they can see the other plugs with their
ratings and safely make an estimation on
whether to plug in or not.
Kill A Watt
Measure energy consumption rates [csea, Dec 24 2006]
||Buns but no annos? Boring or just no
||In the US at least I think this is already required. All appliances list voltage and amperage required. Although this is not listed on the cord.
||It being on the cord, it would then be easy
to mentally tally up the amps drawn, and
make for a safer electrical situation.
||Too sensible, [twitch] [+]
||Maybe I discount the intelligence of the common person, but I don't believe this will change anything. To this day, three prong plugs somehow become two prong plugs. I don't think many will take the time to do the amp adding, or even care. What's more, it is often difficult to tell which recepticles are on the same circuit. Now you have to add all the amperages from all the recep's on the same circuit to find the circuit's total draw. I think the best solution to the problems you have described is properly rated and installed circuit breakers, both in dist. panels and power strips. Homeowners don't have to do any addition, or any thinking really. If they turn on too many things at once, the circuit's conductors are protected from overheating.
Also, appliance ratings are baked as per [jhom...] you just have to look at the manufacturer's nameplate.
||See [link] for a useful gadget that will actually measure wattage including phase, so the "volt-amps" ratings are more meaningful.