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I have a smart power strip (Max Load: 15A, AC 100-240V 50/60Hz) which I plan to use for automating the led light strips (5V x 5pcs) on my display shelf (built in). I don't plan to plug anything else to it.

However, the smart power strip's cord does not reach the wall outlet.

I have another power strip (non-smart, 250V, 10A) and I was thinking to plug the smart power strip into it. Is this safe? Are there other better options?

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    Daisy-chaining power strips is against the UL listing of any approved power strips.
    – Jon Custer
    Dec 26, 2022 at 19:37
  • @JonCuster Thanks, not familiar with the UL. Can I use an extension cord then? Or is this also unsafe? What do you suggest?
    – kiiro sora
    Dec 26, 2022 at 19:41
  • UL is a nationally recognized testing laboratory, perhaps the most common one for US listings. But, no, an extension cord is not appropriate either. You need a power strip with a long enough cord on it already.
    – Jon Custer
    Dec 26, 2022 at 19:44
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    It really depends on the quality of the power strips and the amount of load on the power strips. Dec 26, 2022 at 19:56
  • get a longer power strip
    – Traveler
    Dec 26, 2022 at 22:40

3 Answers 3

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First, websearch "octopus outlet fire". Then...

Manufacturers and safety agencies really don't want to approve anything that might encourage people to overload circuits and start a fire. And if you have power strips plugged into power strips it's too easy to make that mistake. Even extension cords are frowned upon because you might eventually forget and plug another power strip or other high load into the extension cord, or plug the power strip into an extension cord with lower amperage rating, or plug the extension cord feeding the power strip into another power strip

Really, UL doesn't much like power strips or extension cords at all though they recognize the necessity.

But realistically, people do it, and it works, and it's ok if you can take the precautions that UL doesn't trust you to take and ensure that the next person who touches it does likewise.

If the power strip is lightly loaded (worst case with everything turned on is well below its rating), and the new load is small (as the LED lights probably are) and doesn't push that worst case over the rating, AND you make sure the extension cord can handle that worst-case load, AND you make sure everything is very visibly labelled so nobody can forget and overload it later... Well, it's still not a good practice, but you are at least being unsafe in the safest way possible.

And you should replace it with a proper long-corded power strip, and/or have another outlet put in where you now need it, at your earliest convenience. Because no matter what signage you put on it, someone is eventually going to try to plug in at least one more device, and overloaded extensions and outlets are notorious for starting fires.

"WARNING:* Do make absolutely sure the extension cord is rated for the load you will be putting on it; ideally, the same rating as the power strip. And it would be a good idea to test this before hiding it -- plug everything in, turn everything on, and make sure neither the extension or the power strip becomes warm to the touch either immediately or after some time of usage. If either warms up, at any time, UNPLUG IMMEDIATELY. Ditto if you smell anything that suggests either is cooking itself. And, I say again, do switch to a proper solution at your soonest opportunity.

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  • Thanks! I would put a label in it as well as put the power strip/extension in places no one can see or reach (also, I live alone anyway). I do plan to have a wall outlet added instead in the future (can't afford it yet) but perhaps this should do for now (just for the led lights). I don't plan to plug any other appliance to either power strip/extension
    – kiiro sora
    Dec 28, 2022 at 5:07
  • Do make absolutely sure the extension cord is rated for the load you will be putting on it -- ideally, the same rating as the power strip. And it would be a good idea to test this before hiding it -- plug everything in, turn everything on, and make sure neither the extension or the power strip becomes warm to the touch either immediately or after some time of usage. If either warms up, at any time, UNPLUG IMMEDIATELY. Ditto if you smell anything that suggests either is cooking itself. And do switch to a proper solution at your soonest opportunity.
    – keshlam
    Dec 28, 2022 at 12:33
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The best option would be to swap the short cable for one of the correct length.

No joins, to code anywhere in the world.

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  • I agree that buying a strip with a longer power cord is a better answer. Putting an outlet where you need it is better than that. Realistically, people are sometimes looking for a quick and dirty solution using what they have already purchased.
    – keshlam
    Dec 28, 2022 at 12:24
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STOP!

I have a smart power strip (Max Load: 15A, AC 100-240V 50/60Hz)

There are plenty of appliances which can handle a wide voltage range and dual (50/60) frequency. Laptop computers. Phone chargers. Plenty of other consumer electronics that don't include heaters or motors. These devices have auto-ranging power supplies and are used with a location-specific cord/plug.

But a power strip? I don't think so.

I find it extremely unlikely that you will find a legitimate power strip (i.e., a device you can plug random local AC mains powered appliances into it) that can handle both ~ 120V/60 Hz and ~ 240V/50 Hz power. While the electronics of such a device can easily be designed to handle the full range of voltage and frequency, there is a major safety problem. What if you plugged this power strip into a European receptacle (~ 240V) and then plugged in standard US appliances, that expect only 120V, into it? It won't be pretty.

So if you can find such a device properly listed by UL, ETL or an equivalent organization in another country, use it. Note: FCC has to do with radio emissions - that doesn't count. CE is widely faked because it is basically self-certification with no enforcement unless manufactured in or sold by retailers physically located in certain countries (i.e., mail-order CE doesn't mean a thing). Plenty of other marks mean nothing. Even UL or ETL can be faked, but for legal reasons that is far less common - but at least with UL and ETL it is possible to verify a particular product or manufacturer.

Find a properly listed product, then update this question with the specifics of that product (probably 120V/60 Hz or 240V/50 Hz) and continue from there.

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  • Thanks for the advise, I live in the Philippines and I don't have any US appliance. I only wanted to make use of the smart power strip gifted to me to automate some USB LED strips on my display cabinet (no other appliance will be plugged in for both power strips). I plan to label, and hide both power strips somewhere out of sight and reach. I do plan to have a new outlet added near the cabinet but I'd have to save for it. With this being said, is it still not advisable to use this configuration (outlet > power strip > smart power strip > led lights)?
    – kiiro sora
    Dec 28, 2022 at 5:16
  • My biggest concern here is that a "smart power strip" that claims such a wide range of voltage & frequency is likely to be strangely, and possibly very poorly designed and therefore unsafe. While in general using relatively low quality stuff is relatively safe when you limit the amount of power (which you are doing), things can still go wrong. I saw an article about faked Apple USB chargers - amazing how bad (and unsafe) some of them were. A better solution, if possible, is to use a known good source for getting from 120V/240V AC to USB (5V DC) and deal with all your controls on the 5V side Dec 28, 2022 at 5:20
  • Switching power supplies that will take either voltage are ubiquitous these days. I do not find it at all strange that the circuitry of either a USB power supply or a smart power strip should have been designed to tolerate either voltage, Doing so lets the manufacturer use the same circuit board worldwide, changing only the connectors, and quite likely at no additional cost (or a cost far less than dual-stocking). I think you're overreacting, @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact. (Yes, a fake is possible. It's also possible a unit rated for single voltage is badly designed and blows up. Unlikely.)
    – keshlam
    Dec 28, 2022 at 12:17

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