Product: Plug
Pop Out Electrical Plug   (+9)  [vote for, against]
Add a powered pin

I live in a three storey house, with one vacuum.

My vacuum is equipped with a cable rewind mechanism which helps wind the cable back in. This is only half useful to me.

Given the length of the cable and the size of my house, at some point in the hoovering processes, I have to walk back down or across to where I'm plugged in to enable me to move on to the next part of the house. At the end of my session, I must still return to the socket since the auto rewind thing won't work if I'm still attached to the wall.

The pop out plug incorporates an additional pin into the 2 or 3 pin plug you currently use. This pin which is normally held within the plug, is pushed out when activated from the vacuum, pushing the plug out of the socket. I can then rewind easily.

If the electrical unit had circuitry within to test the power in, it could automatically activate the pushout pin when it senses trouble - a form of mech/elect fuse if you will.
-- jonthegeologist, Aug 13 2004

Sounds like a good idea! Here's a way it could work.. Like a GFCI, the pin could extend when it detects an overcurrent or a leakage of current to ground. The pin could be retained by a small springclip that is held in place by a magnetic field produced by a small coil, like how a relay works. When a fault is detected, it could just remove power to this clip, causing the clip to fall aside, letting the pin extend, pushing the plug out. You could fire it remotely by using the same thing a 'test' button on a GFCI outlet uses, a momentary switch to short hot to ground through a high value resistor (so not much dangerous current flows, but a fault is still present). This would be detected as a fault by the plug and the plug would 'eject'. You wouldn't even need an additional conductor in the wire!

Neat idea. +
-- phidauex, Aug 13 2004

An eject button. I don't think this would be too difficult to build (think X10 technology). Getting it past the safety folks would be a different story.

-- half, Aug 13 2004

obviously, [phidauex] has summarised this perfectly!
-- jonthegeologist, Aug 13 2004

corrected. cheers [tabs]
-- jonthegeologist, Aug 13 2004

Good idea. The eject could also be mechanically actuated in such a way that in a situation where you would normally accidently rip the plug out of the wall at a significant angle, bending the pins, it would sense the increasing tension and shoot itself out before too large of a force was applied.
-- scad mientist, Aug 13 2004

[phidauex] describes a good way to achieve this. Although I think it is not a safety circuit, which means that it shouldn't upset the electrical regulations, there might be a couple of problems:
1. The intentional small current to earth may conflict with the central Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, and cut off the power supply.
2. If the controlling ground current is small, then there may be spurious incidents where a suppressor or small unintentional leakage might pop the plug out.

So, somewhere in between these two might just do the job, but I wouldn't be very pleased if my PC plug kept popping out.
-- Ling, Aug 13 2004

me neither, but if it stopped the house fuse box going, then I'm all in favour.
-- jonthegeologist, Aug 14 2004

Great idea! [+]
-- devnull, Jul 21 2008

random, halfbakery