'There are an estimated 190 million cell phones in the United States. A quick back of the envelope calculation says that the combined stand-by usage of all those cell phone chargers, each sucking a measly watt, could add up to 190 megawatts per day. That's enough to power approximately 100,000 homes!'*
This is my take on a Green Project that is simple, low cost and can be adapted for anyone's use.
My idea comes from the thought of simplicity. I already grab the charger's connector every time I unplug and plug in my phone, so why add another step to disconnect the charger from the mains?
By connecting the switch directly to the charging cord, it's as simple as a light pull to fully disconnect the charger from the power grid. Although the title says 'Yank the Plug!', don't actually yank on it. It's easy to pull lightly and switch off the power.
A Green Fact:
Unless a device has a mechanical on/off switch that fully disconnects it's internals from the mains power supply, it's still drawing electricity from the wall. A stereo uses power to "listen" for it's remote and a power adapter will be transforming electricity from 120V to ~5V all day no matter what. Unplug these devices or use a mechanical switch to disconnect them when they're not in use
There is a video demonstrating this Instructable in Step 7.
Plea: Please vote for the Epilog Challenge!
*source: found all across the web - taken from www.change.org
Step 1: Materials
I bought everything new, not only because they're cheap components, but because I wanted to make a good looking project for you guys.
It came out a little differently than I'd expected, but it'd be simple enough to make another using what I know now and parts found around the house or shop.
A Green Tip:
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Find these parts at the thrift shop or in Grandma's basement!
Shallow Wall Electrical Box - $1.09
Pull Switch - $3.49
Extension Cord - $3.79
Other Items You'll Need:
Heat Shrink Tubing or Electrical Tape
Hot Glue Gun
$8.37 and about half an hour of your time
MacBook Pro's camera isn't the best, sorry.
Step 2: Place the Switch
I decided to mount the switch so the mouth faces up from the side of the box.
You might decide to drill a hole to accommodate it more cleanly.
I found one in the 'back' of the box that you could use. (pictured)
Step 3: Cut the Cord
Pop out one of the holes in the box to accept the extension cord.
Cut the extension cord about four inches away from the plug end.
Pull the cord through the hole in the box.
Tie a knot about four inches down so the cord doesn't pull back out of the box.
Step 4: Strip Party
Separate and strip the wires from the cord and outlet end of the cord. The wires on my switch kit came pre stripped.
Assemble the simple circuit shown in the second picture. Essentially, you're using the switch to break the circuit with one of the wires.
Make sure you put the heat shrink tubing on before you twist and or solder!
Shrink the tubing with the heat of a lighter or your preferred method
Fit the wires to the back of the box so it looks clean
Disclaimer- Mains voltage is dangerous; BE CAREFUL. Acquire the help of a professional or experienced friend if you're not comfortable with wiring. Insulate all connections well. I won't be held accountable for fried kitties or kiddies. (=D
Step 5: Squeeze and Glue
Squeeze everything inside the box
Glue the extension cord end to the edge of the box.
Use a lot of glue if you feel necessary, but I tried to keep everything looking clean.
*If you'd rather use a real electrical outlet, just wire one into the circuit instead of the end of the extension cord.*
Put on a custom cover if you want. I mocked up a post-it to show you what could be done with plastic and some more hot glue.
Step 6: Plug in the Charger
Plug in the charger.
Using the string that came with the pull switch kit, tie a few knots around the wire so we don't destroy our charger. Leave slack so when you pull on the wire, it doesn't pull on the charger itself. Use it for other chargers when you change phones or devices.
Tips for Tying:
Hold both cord and string parallel straight up and down.
Loop the string once around cord, ending with the string on top of itself to make a loop. (This sounds confusing, but it might help someone)
Push the string up through the loop, tighten and repeat at least once farther up the cord.
Step 7: Check and Test
All connections are solid and insulated with electrical tape or heat shrink tubing
All items that are glued are secured sufficiently
Plug it in and test it out. You might want to use something less vital to your life, like a night light, first.
I always thought it was funny how outlets looked so scared.
You've been forewarned, the video is quite boring. The good thing is it'll give you an idea of how this works.
Step 8: Place It and Use It
I put mine under my bedside table between it and the bed, but it can go anywhere.
Both sides are anchored for optimum switching action, but you really only need one. Hide it or make it pretty with paint.
This could also turn on and off your night light when you go to bed and wake up in the morning. It will help you know if the charger is on or off.
Laptop Charging Adapters
Portable Gaming Adapters
Desktop Speaker Set Adapters
Anything that is 'soft powered' where the power button doesn't mechanically disconnect and connect it to power. If pulling on the cord isn't an option, consider the string that came with the switch. Hide it at the back of the desk.
If you enjoyed my Instructable, please rate it and vote for the Epilog Challenge at the top of the page. Thanks for your time and interest!
Participated in the
Earthjustice United States of Efficiency Contest
Participated in the