I bought a 6 way with switches and a 4 way gang extension leads.
I bought them online and I found them being closed by these screws with a flat round disk as a head.
Now understanding the meaning of "security screws", it seems to me that this time they really got it right!
The questions are:

  • Are these screws or clips or something else?
  • Is there any way to open this extension lead other then using a sledgehammer?

4 Way Gang mains Extension Lead, back

  • Pictures might help...
    – ROIMaison
    May 20, 2015 at 18:33
  • 6
    looks like a rivet of some sort. Might be able to drill them out.
    – DA01
    May 20, 2015 at 18:54
  • 1
    could also be screws with snap-off heads. But seriously, given how cheap these are, it isn't worth opening them...
    – keshlam
    May 20, 2015 at 19:07
  • if you look close to the picture, it seems to me that there was like a hex head; then been filled with melted metal. I pressed hard against that with a steel bit, nothing happened
    – Claudio
    May 20, 2015 at 19:13

3 Answers 3


So, is it a screw or a stud?

Well, I cut a couple open to see. They all seem to be screws, in my case. It’s hardened steel so I wouldn’t waste time drilling. I’ve managed to actually remove a few now very easily using a drill-bit upside down with a drop of glue. Works best if you use a bit the size of the head.

Press down, not too hard or fast, and set drill to reverse. Viola! Replace with regular screws.

If you don’t have a drill you could try an old screwdriver cut off at the shaft and sanded flat. It even works with an Allen key/wrench. Good luck.

enter image description here


Those could be screws with the heads removed, specifically to prevent people from opening the device. In that case, try to cut a slash across the top of the screw so that you can get a flat-head screwdriver in there. A dremel comes to mind, although you'll damage the plastic casing, but, hey, if you want to make an omelette...

Just as likely though, they are like ring-shank nails, with notches on them designed to catch on the plastic inserts on the other side and ensure that they never, ever get removed without destroying the device. In this case, the answer may be to drill the head off of them so that the shank can be pulled through the hole in the plastic. Understanding, of course, that you won't be able to put them back together.

Why do you want to take it apart, incidentally?

  • No need to open it right now, but I want to buy more of it. Before doing so I want to know if I'll be able to maintain it. Stupid pieces like switches, LED, surge usually fail over prolonged usage, the cable usually is pulled off. I'm “environment considerate” and I really hate the modern philosophy of “don't bother, throw it and buy a new one because it's cheap”
    – Claudio
    May 20, 2015 at 20:21
  • The maintenance parts, in small quantities, are likely to be as expensive as the whole unit, especially when you include the value of your time. Either buy something more robust and/or that is designed for repair, or treat this one as disposable, or treat it ax a puzzle and figure out whether it's openable/closable ... possibly destroying a few in the process, which adds to the cost of going that route.
    – keshlam
    May 20, 2015 at 21:16
  • 2
    I completely understand the philosophy of "fix it, don't pitch it" but that also requires buying the more expensive, serviceable equipment in the first place. You might be better off keeping the internals and ditching the frame/exterior and fashioning your own enclosure with something akin to a waterproof exterior outlet box or similar. Just my two cents I guess... May 20, 2015 at 22:03

Whatever it is, it's made not to be opened - why are you trying to open it?

Rivets seemed like a good bet at first, but I'm now inclined to say the "snap off" as mentioned by @keshlam - a screw engineered so that the item can be assembled, and then the means of turning the screw can be broken off (leaving the non-soft hex scar)

You could probably grind a slot into them if you really cared to waste the time, and didn't mind damaging the plastic somewhat. At a higher equipment and skill level, if you have or get the type of bit that uses two pins to engage two small holes (USA use is spanner, but in the UK that's just a wrench, AFAIU), you might be able to drill those two small holes, though you'll likley need a above-average drill bit (the heads may well be hardened) enter image description here

  • 1
    What you know as a wrench in the US, is called a spanner in the UK. The drive type of the screw you've shown, is known as a spanner drive (or spanner head) screw in both locations.
    – Tester101
    May 20, 2015 at 20:31

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