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Author Topic: Assistance with electricity. Safety first.  (Read 771 times)
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I'm starting a new hobby project where I can control a light source with my arduino.  I visited this page as it seemed most relevant (http://www.glacialwanderer.com/hobbyrobotics/?p=9).  I have a program that controls lights in my apartment, but I am nervous about modifying a three prong power strip.  I don't want something bad happening.  I want to cut open the power strip and insert my SSR.  Its rated up to 380VAC.  I'm nervous about exposing the wires.  After that, I planned on connecting the wires on the other end of the SSR into the correct arduino pins so the program works. 

Can someone provide some tips? I'm most nervous about the power strip part as that can be fatal. 

Thanks for all tips and ideas.
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There is a commercial product available that will perform that task:

http://www.powerswitchtail.com/Pages/default.aspx

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I kinda wanted to try myself.  I'm a novice hobbyist, and I need to start somewhere.
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I kinda wanted to try myself.  I'm a novice hobbyist, and I need to start somewhere.

And dabbling in the mains is exactly the wrong place to do that....
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And dabbling in the mains is exactly the wrong place to do that....

So, then my only recommended option is to buy the above item?  I was thinking safety first, hence my posting here.  I only wanted to explore arduino automations. 
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Well it's certainly all I'm going to recommend, that's for sure.  Your insurance adviser might agree... there will be no UL mark* on your home-grown solution.

You'll be doing just as much of the programming side of it by buying that device, and not lose out on any of that learning, and will have significantly less risk.

And yes, your safety first thinking and the post is spot-on.

Edit.....   * not that I can see one on the pic in that link either... you might want to check its certifications.

More edit.... It says this on the instruction sheet:

Quote
Our liability is limited to the purchase price of this product only. By using this
product you agree that PowerSwitchTail.com, LLC can not be held liable for any
damages or injuries resulting from use or repairs
« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 11:50:38 am by JimboZA » Logged

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Thanks.  I'll pick one up.  I'm hoping to not burn things down and make larger projects over time.
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Yeah check the various parts of this forum for the things folks get up to, and which have little risk of burning the house down!
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I agree with Jimbo. There are a zillion things you can do to learn about electricity
and electronics, especially with cool devices like the Arduino controller, but to "start"
out by hacking devices connected to the power mains is probably not the wisest
strategy. Do something with less chance of electrocution and/or burning the house
down.

So, I would buy devices specifically made for connection to the power mains. Also,
for my part, I would "not" buy "anything" sold on ebay, and coming from china, to
connect to the mains. People on this forum talk about doing this every day, and
therefore they'll save a few pennies, but for safety purposes, you only want to
connect something to your power mains that has all kinds of "Agency Approval"
stickers on it.

Those stickers are there for a reason. No devices are 100% reliable, but at least
some have been tested.

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Quote
Those stickers are there for a reason. No devices are 100% reliable, but at least
some have been tested.

... not only that, but Mr Murphy is incredibly clever. He can make the least obvious "little flaw" turn into a problem.

ANYWAY... for more on ways to work with household voltages safely, at not exhorbitant expense....

http://www.arunet.co.uk/tkboyd/ec/ec1mains1.htm
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I'm especially sensitive to issues of "burning down the house", and g-jobs designed
by dummies. In the condo I live in, the previous owner installed everything himself
[this is obvious from the mistakes I found] in addition to painting the place, etc.

One day I smelled smoke and discovered one of the wall sockets was melting. Turns
out, the microwave was daisy-chained off this socket, and the screws were loose,
and apparently arc'ed over and started a fire.


* outlet.JPG (59.99 KB, 432x292 - viewed 24 times.)
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In the condo I live in, the previous owner installed everything himself
[this is obvious from the mistakes I found] in addition to painting the place, etc.



Sounds like the previous owner of the house I bought.  I finally broke down and re-wired the entire house, outlet boxes, fixtures, wires, and all....bringing everything up to or exceeding code requirements.
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