Do power strip switches serve the same kind of protection a breaker do? How are they different?
I'm designing a small switchboard for my desk / workbench, in order to have better cable management and convenient outlet access. I estimate all of the equipment used together wont exceed 5 A. For that usage I want to add a current limiting switch and I think I can get a 5A (maybe less?) breaker switch from the hardware store.
My question is, does a power strip switch would add some meaningful protection if installed downstream the breaker? (I do not think that switch would trip on 5A, as most strips are rated 12A or so) Would it make sense to hack such a switch to add it to my switchboard?
I have never had a power strip tripping although I'm a regular user. I have read that they have a limited amount of events they can handle after which you basically end up with a overly complicated extension cord. Most p.s. packaging states they protect against "spikes", but I'm not sure what that refers to.
Some project details:
I never use all the equipment at the same time but I want to safely tuck most of the cables safely and not need to unplug them every time. I'm thinking of about 10 receptacles, most of them with a dedicated switch and possibly a pilot light (an indicator of whether the outlet is powered). The panel would be accessible near my desktop / workbench, bolted to a cabinet. (Main usage: Programming work on weekdays, small electronics hobbyist projects and toy repairing on weekends and free time.) Some outlets would be covered and a couple of them accessible for quickly (un)plugging tools.
My concern is someone else may turn all the switches on or plug in some other equipment in there (For example a hairdryer rated 1350 watts, or a clothes iron rated 1200 watt. A person not knowing the purpose of a conveniently placed outlet.)
I'm planing on using 3 conductor wire, about 2 meters long due to cable routing, to bolt the switchboard to a cabinet near the wall outlet. I do not want to use as thick wire as most power strips have because such cable is difficult to bend and manage neatly. I will use the proper cable gauge depending on the confirmed load rating of my device collection. The main cable would be routed around the back of a cabinet.
This won't be used near water.
The equipment I plan on using here:
- 2 Laptop switching power adaptors.
- 2 Cell/tablet chargers rated 0.35A
- 1 Radio Cassette Recorder (Boombox)
- 3 Other low power music devices (speakers and such)
- 1 Hot glue gun (temporary)
- 1 Soldering iron (40Watt, temporary)
I'm not in the USA but rather in Central America. Here we use 120 V (I have measured it to range 110-127 in normal circumstances). Here most homes and buildings use only plain breakers and switches/outlets, i.e. no GFCI or similar, so they are not easily available from hardware stores. Buying electrical equipment from internet is frowned upon and being here delivery cost would not be worthy.
I live in a 3 year old apartment building and have never had an electrical mishap within the building complex but we have very frequent power outages.