Category Archives: Electronics

IP Power Strip “Reverse Engineering”

Wöhlke Websteckdose
Image © Wöhlke EDV-Beratung

I recently came across an IP controllable power strip from Wöhlke, which looked quite neat, however, it was way too expensive. They want 199€ for 3 controllable sockets. Reichelt has an IP controllable power strip for only 70€, and there you have 4 sockets including nice LEDs. The one from Reichelt also looks more like a custom designed product, while the Wöhlke one looked more like a product “mashup” (which isn’t a bad idea at all). They even sell a separate board, so my interest was increasing.

I’ve been looking for a nice power strip which I could re-cable for quite some time, but most power strips are designed down to a price, so they do whatever they can to keep it cheap. That’s also the reason why you’ll find so many power strips in a 45° angle – they’re much cheaper to produce.

A cracked open cheap power strip

I’ve cracked a cheap power strip open (literally – most cheap power strips don’t have screws, because they’re bolted down or only clipped together). You can clearly see how the (presumably) copper strips are arranged. If you’d have 90° outlets, you’d have to pay lots more for the copper strips, because they have to be routed in some sort so that they don’t short out.

I realized that the power strip Wöhlke used must be much simpler to modify, so I did a quite long search for power strips and I finally came across a manufacturer where the power strip looks pretty much identical to what Wöhlke uses: the Bachmann Craftsman Power Strip.

 

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The Bachmann Craftsman Power Strip
Image © Bachmann

I decided I’d give it a shot, mainly because of curiousity, and ordered the strip. It isn’t a cheap power strip; it costs 19,98€ on Amazon, whereas most cheap 6 port power strips come in the 3-6€ range. When the strip arrived, I realized that I was absolutely right: You can easily open the strip using 4 screws (2 on each side) and an additional one for the cover. They also use some kind of copper strips, which happen to be about 6mm – great for 6,3mm cable lugs. Now it’s easy to understand how Wöhlke (probably) did it – cut the copper bars, and put cable lugs onto there which are fed into their custom board. The case isn’t aluminium, but plastic, but that’s completely okay for the price IMHO.

 

That’s a real nice base for own projects, and you can even get 9 or 12 port ones, and the 12 port is only 36€ – quite a nice price! Of course, you’d have to rip out 2 or 3 plugs to make space for electronics and take care on how you cover the holes, but the problematic part is solved: Getting a base for any power control projects.

More Pics below!

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