A kill-switch is a separate electrical AC switch to be used for cutting off the electrical power that is consumed by a device. This is convenient for reducing stand-by electricity consumption and for manually switching devices. In most cases, a luminous switch is being applied.

This instructable explains how to modify a kill-switch in such a way that the indicator light in the luminous switch is disabled.

The niche applications for the kill-switch without an indicator light can be found in the area of atmospheric lighting, for switching devices where an indicator light is disturbing and for switching devices with relatively low electricity consumption and relatively long times being active, such as a charger for a mobile device.

Power consumption measurements in this instructable show that the electricity consumption of an indicator light is really low (approximately 0.17 W for a single kill-switch). Consequently, the maximum electricity consumption is 1.5 kWh per year, resulting in expenses ranging from 0.20 to 0.40 euro annually (0.25 to 0.50 US$ per year). However, as the purpose of a kill-switch usually is to switch things off, the typical energy consumption for most users will be less.

This instructable shows how the indicator light can be disabled by interrupting a single connection, by simply cutting the right internal wire. Three hacking alternatives are being presented:

1. The safest way: removing the entire internal cable;
2. The reversible approach: cutting the cable and electrically insulating it against short-circuiting. This allows to reconnect the wire and to restore the original functionality of the luminous switch;
3. Kill-switch de luxe: adding an additional switch that allows putting on or off the indicator light as desired.

Important: first read the safety instructions introduced in the next step.

For info: openproducts is offering kill-switches with disabled indicator lights through the webshop, see http://www.instructables.com/member/openproducts. This only regards CEE 7/4 AC power plugs and sockets (Schuko), which is, among others, common in a number of European countries.

The concept described in this instructable is being made available through a Creative Commons BY license, see Step 9 for additional info.

Step 1: Safety issues

A kill-switch is meant to be operated at 230 V AC or other voltage levels depending on national circumstances. In itself, 230 V is dangerous. Make sure not to touch bare cables. Never operate the kill-switch without having properly closed it. If in doubt, consult an expert.

Important note for usage: an adapted kill-switch might mislead users when the indicator light is off while the power actually is on. Therefore, instruct all users and clearly mention on the switch that the indicator light has been disabled.
nice documentation, are you using this for a lamp or was that just an example?
Thanks. The most important feature of a kill-switch is reducing stand-by electricity consumption in various appliances, especially when AC power adapters are involved (12 V lamps, laptops, charger plugs). Some electrical appliances have an integrated transformer, such as audio or video equipment or desktop computers. Other applications can be found in electrical equipment without an own switch. The added value of this hacked kill-switch is that one isn’t distracted by the luminous switch. The picture of the lamp highlights such an example: atmospheric lighting. But the hacked kill-switch might also be appropriate for connecting media equipment (including TV set-top boxes) and computers.

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Bio: Openproducts' focus is on design of new products and on innovative approaches towards improving existing products. Also, quick fixes and on-the-fly repairs are documented here ... More »
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