Intro: Outlet Control Panel( W/ Soldering Guide)
!! Do this at your own risk!! It takes 10 Milliamps for muscles contractions to occur where you will not release a wire. House hold electrical is 120/120v amps(120,000 Ma) A TOUCH TO A LIVE WIRE WILL BE FATAL. NEITHER I OR INSTRUCTABLE IS LIABLE FOR INJURY OR DEATH.
Understand this isn't dangerous as long as you don't ever work on anything with the power on, never assume it's off. Always make sure live wires are covered and not short circuiting when flipped back on and everything will be fine. I got really tired of tangled up cords and power strips. Power strips are also very dangerous and the way I use to have mine wasn't a good idea as you can see in the picture. So I decided I'd make something a bit safer and never plug and unplug a piece of my equipment ever again.
Step 1: Parts and Materials
This project must be adapted for you. The number of switches and outlets is your choice as well as what you'll enclose it all into. Depending on what you have and how you design this project could be fairly cheap or a bit pricey.
1.Outlet checker- 4 to 6 dollars
2.Soldering iron- I have a 40watt 900 f one but you could go cooler, it can not be a gun.
3. Solder with lead— I like radio shack's but their prices are pretty bad. NOT PLUMBING SOLDERING.
4. Wire strippers
5. A way to hold wires without your hands.
6. Wire. This is where it can get costly. Depending on how far away your box is to your outlets you'll need a lot of wire. I'll discuss this more when I talk about basic wiring.
7. A box for everything. I used a Carlon junction box which was 33 bucks, a bit pricey but I was happy when I found 4 connection tabs that just allowed me to be able to put it on the metal beams in my basement.
8. Outlets and gang boxes & face covers. Outlets can be pretty cheap. I bought mine for 68 cents a piece. I bought 4 2-gang boxes for $1.30 each and face covers for about the same price each. A gang is 1 piece. For example two outlets(1 on top of another) is 1 gang. A total of 4 outlets is 2-gang.
9. Switches. I bought mine of amazon 10 dollars for twenty but light switches could be used instead. There is less wiring if non indicator switches aren't used.
10. Jigsaw and drill.
Step 2: Electrical
As the picture describes the small hole is hot which usually is the black wire and left is cold or neutral which normally white. In between the two screws on both sides there's a bridge tab. Using pliers these can be bended back and forth to brake them off. However you don't want to brake off the tab on the left side, the neutral side. You only want to brake the right side to make two different outlets to be powered. ! ! *When wiring *!! Plug the outlet tester into the outlet you will wire your box into and it should light up. Hit the wire fuse on the breaker until the light is out on the tester. NEVER PLAY WITH A LIVE CIRCUIT. If you find two sets of wires(two hots, two colds, two grounds) coming into the outlet make sure they stay connected, twist them together.
Step 3: The Switch
The concept of a switch is simple you complete a circuit and allow the electricity to flow through. LED indicator switches require a ground wire. Usually the ground terminal on a switch will be the odd one out in color or metal material. Any switch can be used, even light switches. If you don't feel like soldering you don't need to with light switches.
Step 4: Cutting Out the Box
I'm not going into depth here because most people will have to change this for themselves and what they need. My two biggest tips are use graphing paper taped on over the box and Microsoft Word has shapes that can be changed to exact measurements. I measured my switches and cut a bit smaller so I could use my jig saw on a high setting to take off materials as well as cut. Go slow and check. The switches must be snug in the wholes. If you want a electrical out its even more simple. Measure the outlet you bought from the first outlet to the second. And then from one side of it to the other. Cut a square until the outlet fits in and use a pen to mark where to drill. The face plate will hide everything so don't worry. The edge around the switch will hide a lot as well.
Step 5: Soldering
I can't describe how long it took me to learn to solder. To solder/wire the switches you'll need a soldering iron 700 f to 900 f. You'll need solder, I like RadioShack's lead mixed stuff and Flux is optional and helpful. Helping hands is also helpful too but a vice or locking pliers could work. First make sure your soldering iron is clean. If not heat it up and run it across a damp sponge. When the iron is cool brush a little Flux on to the tip and let the iron heat up. You're going to want to burn some solder on and when you do just flick off any extra. If you have no spare switches I suggest practicing on connecting to wires. Twist the wire and put a little Flux on to the wire with a paint brush. You can also put some Flux on to the wire tab of the switch. Heat up the switch and push some solder on to the tab,(! Not the iron!) the piece of metal should be hot enough to melt the solder. Take the twisted wire w/ Flux and place it against the hardened solder on the metal tab and place the iron on to the wire and wait for the solder to melt into the wire. Place the shrink wrap on to the wire and place a second shrink wrap piece if your jumping the sires between switches. (see in picture) if you have a hard time melting the solder with the iron make sure there is enough solder on the tip of the iron. Make sure to number all your wires going to the switches.
Step 6: Wiring
Strip about two inches off the hot going into the switch and the grounds going into the switch or from the outlets and the colds and solder them into the wire. MAKE SURE THE POWER IS OFF. If you need to connect wires together then you can use wire nuts or solder them together with a third branch off wire and tape them together. I like the nuts because they're cleaner however they're very weak. But strong enough.
Step 7: All Done
Put labels on it if you'd like. My stand is nice and clean, every cord has a drip loop. I can walk by to feed them hit the switch on the power heads and feed them and turn it back on. I hope you enjoy and I hope whatever design you choose works! Send a message for anything you need.