Hack A Power Strip Into A USB To Keep Accessories From Draining Electricity

One of the problems with having a lot of accessories plugged in around your computer is that even after you turn everything off they're still draining power. Instructables user schubertj wanted a way to automate the powering off of his speakers, monitors and printer, so he hacked a USB into a power strip so it's powered by the computer itself.

Using a set of supplies totaling around $US30, the basic premise is pretty simple. When the computer powers on, the USB sends power to the power strip and the rest of the devices turn on. When the computer is powered down, so is the power strip. As you'd expect, this is a pretty complicated project that deals with high voltage so you have to be careful, but the end result is a nice automated system that will help cut down your power consumption by looping everything together. You can find the full guide for the project over on Instructables.

Computer Controlled Power Strip [Instructables]


    your story has so many errors i don't know where to start.
    "hack a usb into a power strip" = switch a a power strip with a 5 volt signal from a usb port.
    also many computers are set to keep usb power on after the computer is switched off to charge the
    batteries of phones, this would keep the power strip switched on
    this "hack" is not new. it is commercially available pre built or in kit form from places like jaycar electronics and has been for five years or more. this project doesn't use high voltage. high voltage is anything over one thousand volts.

    next life hacker post, hack some round into a square to make a circle

    there are serious safety concerns with this instructable, the author doesn't know which is the active(live or hot) conductor and switches the neutral, this means every thing plugged into the power strip will appear to be turned off while still live. that is such a rookie mistake that a first year apprentice wouldn't do it. it is such a safety hazard that a licensed electrician would be fired for doing it. "twist neutral wires together and tape" you have to be kidding me, that is a recipe for arcing and fire, the wires should be either soldered and encased in double wall heatshrink or put in a bp connecter(also known a a wire nut)
    after construction the project should be tested with a megameter to check insulation resistance.

    this is a bad and lazy article on a poorly written and dangerous instructable

    Why not plug a power board into the monitor power socket in the back of your computer instead?

      Two reasons:

      - Most PSU's down have a "power out" port these days

      - In Australia any electrical work involving mains voltage is required to be performed by a licence electrician. This isn't a lifehack that I would recommend for anybody.

    Sounds RISKY. For mains power appliances simply buy a Green type power board. Computer goes into primary socket and the device printer scanner etc into the secondary sockets and when you turn PC off the secondary devices will also turn off

    i dont know about anyone else but all my accessories have a on/off switch why not just switch it off? if your worried about power usage.

    this hack seems like a waste of time to me

    brilliant lifehack. This is what lifehacker should be about, this is what it used to be about. No more productivity articles! We need stuff like this, DIY projects that involve risk and learning!

    If you simply bought a powerboard with a master switch on it and powered all the accessories from it then it's just 1 flick to turn them all on/off with no risks attached


    You can get board like this on special all the time. plug the computer into the green one and the rest are control by whether the computer has power. Although it doesn't work with laptop if they are still charging. And if a printer gets its power cut when it is in the middle of cleaning its heads or printing the ink can dry out.

      I have one of these; and I love it! Router & a reading lamp are powered all the time; Laptops, Monitors & Speaker system are powered off as I exit the room and hit the remote control switch.

      I also know a guy who has 3 of these for a 'recording studio' set up, all of them coded to use the one remote control. Brilliant product!

    If you're in Victoria, you can get up to four standby power controllers for your home free from businesses like http://www.energymakeovers.com.au/standbypower/ and http://www.energymakeovers.com.au/standbypower/

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