Safe to screw outlets directly into wood?

I’m currently working on an 8-outlet arduino-controlled power strip. I have a bunch of unused outlets lying around so I figured I’d use those instead of trying to find a surge protector that I could take apart. I’m using an 8-channel relay (isolated/on its own power source), 8 outlets with no boxes, an arduino UNO (also on its own power source) and a chunk of scrap wood.

Can I screw the outlets directly into the wood without outlet boxes or is this a terrible idea?

is this a terrible idea?

If you don't add some overlay of a non-conductive material such as plastic, and the outlet screw connections are exposed it IS A Terrible Idea...

Depends also on how much you hate the person that has to use it...

wvmarle: Depends also on how much you hate the person that has to use it...

Reminds me of my brother worked as a maintenance guy for a small business. He had a similar notion of electrical safety. One day I was visiting and he was changing the ballast in a light fixture. "Shouldn't you turn off the breaker?" I said. "Or at least turn off the light switch." I say. He points a screwdriver perilously close to a pair of wires and says, "It's all OK as long as you don't touch both of theeeeeeeeeessssssssssseeeeeeee" and all the lights in the whole building went out and his hair all stood up.

spencercc: Can I screw the outlets directly into the wood without outlet boxes or is this a terrible idea?

The fact that you added .... 'or is this a terrible idea?' .... suggests that you know the possible consequences if something goes wrong ----- in terms of negative impact on safety to either yourself, or to somebody else. It's best to avoid becoming a candidate for a darwin award.

OT but here's a story about how with safety, what leads to dire effects is where lots of little things go wrong all at once. Everyone thinks it's impossible for many things to go wrong at the same time, but here's a true story, at least as far as I can recall the details.

Electrical maintenance guy was called out to a user having no power. He spoke to the guy, decided what to do, and went up the pole. Got blown off, and died when he hit his head on landing.

Synopsis of all the things he did wrong:

  • Didn't isolate and bond
  • Didn't hook on his harness
  • Didn't wear his 1000V gloves
  • Didn't don his helmet

If he'd done even one of those he would probably be alive today. Injured perhaps, but alive.

Isn't that with most accidents? Lots of things have to come together to make something unexpected happen. Very few accidents can be tracked down to a single cause - you often enough hear "that was THE cause of the accident" ignoring the many other things that had to come together to make it happen.

I have the impression that when people work in a risky environment that has a very good safety record they tend to forget (or lose awareness) that it is only safe because a huge amount of attention is devoted to safety every minute of every day. Then some challenge arises - something is urgent is a common reason - and one of the safety features is ignored and BOOM. Because, unknown to them some other feature had failed at the same time and the design had relied on at least one of the two being operative.

Then there are the candidates for the Darwin awards. Maybe there should be a preliminary "bovine" award. Have you ever looked at a cow looking at you and realized just how aptly the word "bovine" captures the concept of stupidity :)

...R

Very few accidents can be tracked down to a single cause

It depends on how you define "accident." When there is a single identifiable cause, people usually say "well, that was stupid!" (Being an ex-gymnast, I'm in a facebook group called "handstands anonymous." People with really good handstands apparently like to do them on the edges of cliffs, etc. That's WAY past my tolerance for "how much has to go wrong to really ruin your day"!)

spencercc: I'm currently working on an 8-outlet arduino-controlled power strip. I have a bunch of unused outlets lying around so I figured I'd use those instead of trying to find a surge protector that I could take apart. I'm using an 8-channel relay (isolated/on its own power source), 8 outlets with no boxes, an arduino UNO (also on its own power source) and a chunk of scrap wood.

Can I screw the outlets directly into the wood without outlet boxes or is this a terrible idea?

Hi, can you post a picture of your outlet please. Outlets come in different configurations and level of insulation, depending on what part of the world you come from. I would be heeding all the warnings give in previous post, if it is what we call a GPO, general power outlet, there are many types, some that can be screwed to a batten. What is your mains system? Tom.... :)

"outlets with no boxes" implies that those outlets are normally mounted inside some kind of boxes, and that without those boxes they have exposed parts.

wvmarle: Isn't that with most accidents? Lots of things have to come together to make something unexpected happen.

Yep that was my point.

What part of this qualifies as potential 'accident'? Wouldn't 'Homicide' or 'Suicide' be more appropriate?