I have a UPS and the problem is that my monitor's plug no longer fits in perfectly. It kind of slips and my monitor turns off and when I try to adjust it, it turns on but with little sparks from the UPS outlet. My question is can I insert toothpicks in the outlet along with the plug for better grip? Would that be safe because I don't want to replace the UPS.

  • Putting flammable wood next to known electrical arcing sounds like a recipe for disaster. If the problem is with the plug on the monitor, then replace the cord (or just the plug on the end). If the problem is with the plug on the UPS, then it's probably time to replace the UPS.
    – Johnny
    Aug 26, 2017 at 16:37
  • Have you tried bending the blades on the plug slightly away from each other? This will help the blades make contact on both sides of the receptacle. This is the easiest temporary fix. This is just temporary though.
    – ArchonOSX
    Aug 26, 2017 at 18:35

4 Answers 4



That would not be safe. Absolutely DO NOT DO IT.

In fact, do not even try to stick anything else in the outlet besides the plug.

Now that said, how old is the UPS? Indeed... how old are the batteries in the UPS? Do you need the monitor on a UPS? I suspect if the outlet is frail, then the ups is YEARS old. I'd hypothesize it doesn't even work anymore.

So, go replace the UPS. If the unit has been serviced by you, and you have been replacing batteries, and you absolutely must use the outlet on it in question, replace the outlet. There is a chance you can service the outlet and expand the spring/blades but sincerely, I wouldn't bother.

  • Thanks everyone for your comments. Highly appreciated. Yes you're right the UPS is quite old and I just wanted to extend its life to december. Thanks, I won''t do it and probably for the time being I'll use the same outlet I use for CPU via extension. Aug 27, 2017 at 7:17
  • While it may (MAYBE) provide some electronic protection from surges; I say Maybe because most UPS' claim they do, but their actual ability is limited - Did you run a test on the UPS? Just pull the plug, If you haven't been changing lead acid batteries numerous times a year, I'd wager it lasts 30 seconds
    – noybman
    Aug 27, 2017 at 14:02
  • @IntrovertGuy so change the battery. UPSs last a lot longer than their batteries, sorta like cars do. That won't renew the surge protection, but you can cover that with a power strip. Aug 27, 2017 at 20:02
  • noybman True that. It doesn't last much longer. Around 1 minute, sometimes just enough to save the work and shutdown. @Harper Yes, that's what I have been doing but since now the outlet dying and all. I'm thinking about replacing the whole thing. Just hope it sticks a couple more months. Aug 29, 2017 at 13:27

Do not insert toothpicks into the outlet. The plug blades on the cord depend upon the friction contact with the metal contacts in the power outlet to make a good low resistance connection. If you insert toothpicks you may actually be making the connection worse which can lead to heat buildup in the outlet and possibly even letting it catch fire.

You should investigate if another power cord does fit well into the UPS outlet. If so you may be able to replace the monitor cord with another one. Most monitor power cords use standard plugs on each end and these are replacable. The sad fact exists that not all power cords are designed to the same dimensions in all aspects. Even the IEC type plug at the monitor can be so loose in some cases with certain cheap import cords that they literally fall out of the monitor jack with minimal pull.

If the outlet on the back of the UPS is truly worn out then there is the possibility to replace it. Many of the panel mount outlet components used are standard parts that you may be able to purchase at a place like Mouser.com. But if you do venture to open up a UPS to lookinto repair be very careful. Even unplugged from the wall there can be high voltage inside the UPS on capacitors or from the battery to AC conversion circuitry that can give you a severe shock or even electrocute you.


Absolutely do not stick things in the receptacle. It's broken anyway; that will not even solve the problem.

Replace the receptacle

Turn off and unplug, remove the battery, and disassemble the UPS (warning: it still has energized stuff inside, at low voltage unless it's on, then high voltage too! unless the battery is out.)

If this is the very familiar, common shape - you know the one - you can get a good one for $3 at the hardware store. (Avoid the 99 cent ones).

If it is an odder shape, then go hit your favorite electronics supplier, e.g. mouser.com, digikey.com, Galco, Halted, etc. and shop for a receptacle of the same dimensions and securement type. I've never had any trouble finding such things, fact is there are only a few styles.


Harper once shared this teardown and the image you really need to see is this

enter image description here

Note that the one on the left simply has a folded piece of metal. That's your "cheap" outlet. The one on the right has several more substantial pieces making the connection. So a toothpick won't actually fix the problem. Even if it weren't a fire hazard, it would eventually just drive that piece loose again.

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