Introduction: Wire Up a Fused AC Male Power Socket

Picture of Wire Up a Fused AC Male Power Socket

I've been using these cheap AC Male Power Sockets from Amazon and Ebay for a number of my projects. They are easy to incorporate into my electronic enclosures, and they provide both a switch and fuse for whatever load. Unfortunately, no wiring diagram or instructions are provided with these units. Several sources on the internet discuss how to wire these [1,2], although the knowledge is a bit scattered. My attempt here is to put all of this knowledge into one place as well and discuss safety and offer suggestions for mounting the unit into your enclosure.

Note: images courtesy of [3].




Step 1: Warning!

Picture of Warning!

Before starting on this project, you need to be aware of related electrical hazards and how to keep yourself safe. 120V AC can lead to fires and, although not commonly, kill.

  1. Always disconnect (not just turn off) your unit from the wall before getting anywhere near the electrodes or other exposed wires.
  2. Make sure no electrodes are exposed. Anything dangerous should always be enclosed or shielded with electrical tape, electrical terminals, etc.
  3. Always use a fuse with this device. In addition, make sure you size the fuse for your application. Check the power load of your desired device to determine your fuse size. Amps (current) = Power (watts) / volts. If uncertain, err on having smaller fuse that you need. If it repeatedly blows under normal operation, slowly increment up until the fuse stops blowing. Never go any higher than you absolutely have to.
  4. Use the correct wire size. The unit is rated for 10 A, and it is recommended that you use 12 gauge wire at 10 A. Smaller power/current requirements means to you get away with smaller diameter wire. There are plenty of tables on the internet to tell you which wire gauge to use for any current.
  5. Always connect the ground between your two sockets. If you're using a metal enclosure for this project (which is safer than plastic), make sure connect it directly to ground.

Step 2: Understand the Diagrams

Picture of Understand the Diagrams

Before wiring up the socket, you should take a minute to understand its circuit diagram. Power connects to the front, and the exposed electrodes are on the back. A fuse connects the "unfused hot" to the "fused hot" section on the back (see image). The fuse is internal to the enclosure and can be accessed from the front.

To incorporate the switch into the circuit, two jumpers need to connect the left-most electrodes to the switch. Notice that the switch has two sets of electrodes, the narrower set and the wider set. The jumpers should connect the socket electrodes to the narrow set in order for the LED in the switch to work. Polarity shouldn't matter. Wires connected to the wide set of electrodes, in addition to the ground, continue on to your load.

(Edit thanks to dave-46): Note that the wire colors specified in my diagram is specific to United State 120V wiring code. If you live in another country, your colors may likely be different.

Step 3: Wiring

Picture of Wiring

As far as wiring, I recommend either soldering (for permanent installation) or crimp terminals (for ease of maintenance). Using the diagram on the previous section, make the correct connections. As previously discussed, make sure you use the correct wire gauge.

Edit: In the pictures above, I'm using 12 gauge wire as I want this unit to safely handle 10amps.

Step 4: Mounting

Picture of Mounting

Please see the attached diagram and CAD files for mounting hole dimensions for the socket. Units are in inches. Most of my enclosures are laser cut, and I use this same CAD files when cutting the mounting holes. Dremel or other cutting tools will work just as well. If using one of these methods, print out the cad file to scale on a sheet of paper, trim and tape it to whatever surface, and drill and cut along the lines. M3 or 4-40 screws are the ideal size for the screw holes.

Good luck!


voxelman (author)2018-01-17

I noticed that you made all of your connections with white wire. It is generally good practice to use the same color wire as the incoming leads for the extended connections. As you have shown for the US: Green for Ground, Black for Hot and White for Neutral. This minimizes confusion when making the final connections to the load. Otherwise, Great Instructable!

jwbrooks0 (author)voxelman2018-01-18

Haha. Yeah. If I had those colors in that gauge wire, I would have used them.

scottm214 made it! (author)2018-01-17

Thanks for this instructable. Solved my small problem in this project.

crs48 (author)2018-01-11

I have a follow-up question. I recently purchased a power switch, but rather than 4 prongs at the switch, there are only 3. How would I wire this up?

jwbrooks0 (author)crs482018-01-12

Hmm. Do you have a picture?

crs48 (author)jwbrooks02018-01-12

I do, but I am having a hard time attaching it to a comment. I'm not used to a Mac. LOL

KlausC9 (author)2018-01-05

Great guide, thank you

linesma (author)2017-12-12

Thank you very much for this guide. As others have said, guides for this type of switch setup is hard to find. It has helped me to overcome the final hurdle to a project I am working on. Now I can hopefully finish it in the next couple of weeks!

blaklite (author)2017-11-11

Excellent guide, unfortunately I found it only after piecing together most of the info I needed.

However there is one issue that I still cannot find a definite answer for.

!!! ?? What type of fuse do you use for these ?? !!!

Here in the UK a "BS1362" plug fuse is 1" by 1/4' (approx 6mm by 24mm), which means nearly all of the "normal" mains fuses you find are the same diameter, but a little too long for these sockets =(

What I have pieced together is that you need something akin to an "internal" fuse. The same diameter but only 20mm long. Most of which come in the glass type, which I do not want to use.

What should I be searching for when looking for a fuse for these sockets ?

jwbrooks0 (author)blaklite2017-11-13

Thanks for the feedback!

Also, good point. Many of the AC sockets come with a fuse, but I've also bought those without it. What you're looking for is 5x20 mm fuses. I recommend one of the assorted fuse kits from ebay as they are cheap and provide a nice variety.

jwbrooks0 (author)jwbrooks02017-11-13

Bad grammar. Edit: What you're looking for "are" 5x20 mm fuses.

blaklite (author)jwbrooks02017-11-13

I only need one of them.


Only wish I knew that before I got the thing, realized I didn't have a fuse, went out to get locally, to find none would fit.

So lesson no 1, if you are ordering one, get the fuse(s) at the same time.

What I actually ended up doing was carving holes in each side and forcing a 5amp plug fuse down in the hole, wrapping it all in tape. At least I got to practice wiring it up before the new one arrives.


JoshuaH156 made it! (author)2017-03-12

Thanks for the directions on this. Probably saved me a lot of trial and error (and shocks.) It was surprisingly hard to find directions for this on the internet. Once I finish my project, I will link my Instructable to your page.

adrianp144 (author)JoshuaH1562017-10-08

Wonderful!! thanks for posting these photos!! This is EXACTLY why I looked this up for! I'm about to set up my 3d printer soon too!

jwbrooks0 (author)JoshuaH1562017-06-21

Glad I could help =)

kbui2 (author)2017-06-20

I have a question. Need help. Basically what I am trying to do is I have a device that I want the outside of this wooden box to have this connector. inside I have a power strip with multiple devices plugged in.

Basically is it possible to cut the plug end of the power strip, and connect it to this Fused AC Male Power Socket? It's all i want to do. any help is GREAT appreciated

jwbrooks0 (author)kbui22017-06-21

Absolutely (assuming I'm understanding your question). Cut off the 3 pronged plug of your power strip, strip the wires back, add crimp terminals and plug into the connector (or directly solder).

Of course, follow all electrical safety when doing this.

Good luck.

dstryker made it! (author)2017-03-03

Stumbled upon this while in the middle of wiring one, still helpful and well written.

Josehf Murchison (author)2017-02-03

Nice did you enter this Instructable in any contests.

I tried entering it in the Tools contest (which I know was a longshot), and it was understandably declined. None of the other contests seemed applicable. Do you have one in mind?

jwbrooks0 (author)jwbrooks02017-02-04

Actually, I double checked, and the Remix and Epilog categories seemed like reasonable fits. Thanks for your prompt!

You are welcome

KISELIN (author)2017-02-03

Good enough from You. Just the but.... as a thumb rule, make the protecting earth, (the green one with yellow stripes), to be 5~10mm longer than them other strands, because: it would be the last one to brake when broken. This "green one", ( AKA protecting earth), is actually connected to the "neutral", (AKA neutral), in your junction central. DONT NEVER EWER misunderstand them AC-powerline for the one end to be "neutral" IT ISN'T, it just divertes the current to go to "mother earth". It's wery essential with this phenonem in them "marinas for boat's" you having a landline to a power outlet. If your boat or your neighbourgh isn't proparly isolated from mains protecting earth, You'll got a problem..... Your battery's,( or your neigh..), will be drained, strange but true. Because you have the 12V system grounded as well as the mains "neutral" is. So, allways use a "separator" transformer 1:1. Thereby you are separated from the "earth", that is: neither the HOT or NEUTRAL will give you the kiss of death, (unless You touch them both at the same time)

jwbrooks0 (author)KISELIN2017-02-04

Good point on making the grounding wire a little longer than the rest. Thanks.

KISELIN (author)2017-02-03

The protecting earth

dave-46 (author)2017-02-03

In other parts of the world Black = Brown, White = Blue, Green = Green with Yellow stripe.

Older colours (Au NZ) This is tricky Black = Red, White = Black, Green = Green

jwbrooks0 (author)dave-462017-02-03

Good point. Thanks for pointing this out.

BeachsideHank (author)2017-01-28

Very good tutorial on a much overlooked safety and control systems device for any electrical powered apparatus.

jwbrooks0 (author)BeachsideHank2017-01-28


JonathanT111 (author)jwbrooks02017-01-30

What gauge wire did you use? In step 3 you said make sure you use the correct wire gauge.

jwbrooks0 (author)JonathanT1112017-01-31

Ah. Thanks for pointing this out. I recommend 12awg if you want the full 10 amps out of your device. Section 3 above shows 12awg, but I've used 16awg in other projects for lower current.

Nephi1ium (author)JonathanT1112017-01-30

I have done this and used 14 gauge wire with no issues whatsoever. It was just left over wire I had from wiring my project initially.

About This Instructable




More by jwbrooks0:Sous vide system with STC-1000 Temperature ControllerWire up a fused AC Male Power SocketWall projector mount, laser cut
Add instructable to: