The CPSC says plug to socket, not plug to plug, please


Of course, if the power goes out, all the lights and sockets in the house stop working. Smart homeowners in rural areas stock candles, batteries, LED lights and inverters. More reckless people simply connect their home electrical system to a generator using a power cord with a plug on one end between the generator and a wall outlet. This should be so obviously dangerous that it isn’t necessary, but it has become widespread enough that… the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a warning about the practice. They are especially concerned that it is not even necessary to connect a cable, as they are easily available on Amazon.

The dangers they cite include electrocution, fire hazards from bypassing the home’s electrical protection measures, and even carbon monoxide poisoning because the cables are so short that the generator must be next to the outlet. Hackaday readers don’t need to tell about these dangers, even in a few and very special cases we have seen people from our community do it. Perhaps there is a flaw in the way we wire our homes, and we need to provide a means of disconnecting our low-current circuits in the event of a power outage.

It is likely that in the coming decades the growth of home battery storage units such as the Tesla Powerwall will make our homes more resistant to power cuts, and anyone tempted to use a plug-to-plug cable will instead will not notice their home switching to stored or solar energy. In the meantime, some of us have our own ways of coping with power outages.

Plug image: Evan-Amos, Public domain.

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