Introduction: The HYDRA Power Cord

I decided to replace the 5 power cords and a power strip with a single power cord that could feed the 5 different power supplies on my lab bench (a high voltage, a DC variable, a DC fixed (from a computer ATX power supply), a programmable constant current source, and a variable AC supply). The five power cords and power strip were pretty messy so a single AC power cord would help clean up the mess of power cables.

Step 1: Putting Together the Power Cord

The finished product is shown. Putting it together was simple.

  1. Bought re-wireable female IEC connectors from ebay.
  2. Cut 7 inch pieces of a power cord and also saved the original male plug and the female IEC connector of the sacrificial power cord.
  3. Stripped the ends of the 7 inch pieces to expose the copper wire and connected the end of each 7 inch piece to a female IEC connector.
  4. Cut additional slightly shorter pieces of the power cord (the bridges) and stripped ends of these to expose the wire.
  5. Twisted the ends of the earth wires (green) together from the following three cord pieces: a 7 inch piece connected to an IEC connector, the cord connected to the original male plug, and a short piece of cord (about 5 inches).
  6. Soldered the twisted copper ends from the three green wires.
  7. Repeated the twisting and soldering of the copper wires from the black covered wire (live) and finally the three white wires. At the end I had three pieces of power cord connected with three wire joints.
  8. The exposed soldered copper wires were covered with heat shrink tubing.
  9. The next set of three power cord junctions were prepared as above. A bridge was connected with a 7 inch piece (with the IEC socket) and another bridge. The three way connection was twisted together, soldered and sealed with heat shrink tubing.
  10. The whole process was repeated for a new set of three way connections. The transparent tape in the picture was to help hold the three pieces together.

Step 2: Finishing the HYDRA Power Cord

  1. The junctions were carefully wrapped in heat fusible electricians tape. The tape was shrunk with a hot air gun.
  2. The cord was then plugged into the wall and five of the IEC sockets were connected to the back of the five power supplies.
  3. The cord can handle 15 A and is rated at 300 V AC so should be enough juice to the power supplies. Though if I was running the variable AC supply at full power it would not leave much power for the other power supplies.

The last two pictures show the final set up without the mess of power cords and power strip. Overall pretty happy at how this turned out.