I am constantly having to unplug my computer's power strip to plug in my portable AC unit, both because only one will fit into the one available plug I have and because the AC unit claims it can draw up to 13 amps, and I don't want to try and run it and the computer gear on the same 20 amp circuit.

Is there some kind of switch I can get to split the power from the outlet in two, but that only energizes one output at a time? Then instead of un-plugging and re-plugging things constantly, I could just flip the switch.

I could just chain both loads on a normal 15 amp power strip, but that sounds like an easy way to push a power strip beyond its rated current limit.

  • 2
    Why can't you simply use the switch on the AC unit, since you've already mentioned that you don't want to run both? Just don't run both... Aug 28, 2019 at 10:49

2 Answers 2


A 3-way switch, A duplex socket, a length of cord with plug and a nice box will do it.

Attach the live from the cord to the common on the 3-way and attach the 2 traveler connections to the live side of the socket and break of that tab.

Pigtail earth to everything that needs an earth. And make sure there is adequate strain relief where the cord exits the box.

That way if the switch is on one position only 1 side of the duplex gets power, if the switch is in the other position the other side gets power.

  • The A?C unit switching might cause interference on the pc...
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 28, 2019 at 8:38
  • 2
    @SolarMike If you power the AC unit the PC will lose power, which is kind of the point of this question. Aug 28, 2019 at 9:23

Another approach: get an adapter of the type which plugs into your wall and has double(or triple) sockets on the output side. Now plug in any kind of switchable item into each of these sockets - use two power strips, or even switched extension cords. Just turn off one or the other as desired.

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