Let's Take a Trip Inside Low-Cost Power Bars, Part One

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qlum

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This article makes me wonder how well my own no brand power bars fare but I don't have the expertise to know what to look for when opening them and they probably look failry different from the US ones as well, at least they do on the outside. We use the german plugs here and also 230v is probably making a difference as well.
 

Shin-san

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There has been several things I bought from Sunbeam, and I'll never buy from that company again (Sunbeam, Oster, Jarden, and Holmes). Their stuff simply doesn't last.
 

hp79

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This article format really sucks. I click on "see more" just to see few more words.

The article however is informative. Thanks for the write up.
 

CaedenV

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Ya, the team that run's Tom's website really REALY sucks, the commenting section in IE sometimes doesn't show up, sometimes it shows up but you cannot do quotes, and sometimes you hit submit and it just gets lost in space. Clicking on a picture on any other website on the internet will take you to a larger or better quality picture, but on tom's the linked picture is often smaller/worse than the picture in the article. These kinds of picture+text articles are by far the worst though, offering minimal readability combined with smallish pictures. And we will not even get into how broken the Tom's charts are... it is just sad. And using Tom's without some sort of ad-blocking is an absolute nightmare! Tom's is the reason I use ad-blocking extensions in all of my browsers because it became such a hassle so early on.

But the content on Toms is often golden, and the data is both accurate and well explained. Not to mention that the community is amazing. It is more than worth putting up with a broken web page when the content is so good.
 

Niccodemure

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Thank again. I am really looking forward to the name brands and hope they include Monster, PSaudio, Panamax, thurman, APC,
 

Flying-Q

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In the UK most power bars are unprotected, but there is a limit to the number of outlets you can expand from a single wall socket and most houses have been uprated to full RCCDs in the consumer unit supplying a ring main. Sadly, many people do not know of the 'max-4-expansions-per-socket' rule and 6-socket bars without protection are available to buy at hardware stores and supermarkets. That said, every UK plug must have a built-in wire fuse with 13A rating, or 5A or 1A depending upon the equipment.
 

Daniel Sauvageau

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This roundup was for sub-$15 power bars - all nine of them.

The goal was to show how much (or little) of a difference there is between inexpensive power bars with surge suppression ratings of some sort.
 

Daniel Sauvageau

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Tom's is supposed to have something in the works for supporting higher-res images in picture stories. Until that gets implemented though, the standard/preferred resolution is 640x480. This does mean having to be a little more choosy about how to scale and crop pictures.

For the story layout, you always have the option of reading the story in print-friendly format. The picture-story format would be much better if THG's layout was not limited to ~1024px wide layout. If an extra 200px were allowed to spill over to the text area, it would make the picture-story format a fair bit better - even cheap phones and tablets have 1280px-wide displays so a layout update to fully use at least this much seems overdue. A full 1920px-wide layout would not hurt either since lower resolution desktop monitors have been nearly extinct for several years already.
 

Asvoria

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Is the Sunbeam bar have thermal fuse in it? I couldn't see it in the photo, but if that's true, then it could be a fire hazard! How could ETL approve such product to put on their cert mark?! This thing shouldn't be allowed in any household!
 

nostall

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Interesting. Well, I never have used power strips such as these with any thought of surge protection, so the findings so far are not personally discouraging. IMHO power strips of this type simply are used to "move" an electrical plug and "Increase" the number of things you can plug in. Not for plugging in computers or work tools etc, but maybe a table lamp or two, Christmas tree or trim LED lights. Light weight stuff.
 

Daniel Sauvageau

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It does not and I have said so in the "Firestarter" page: "there's definitely no thermal cut-off here."

In the "double-check" page, you can see the whole MOV with its full-length uninterrupted leads, exactly how it was when I desoldered it from the bar.
 

Daniel Sauvageau

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Underwriter Labs call them "relocatable power taps." Can't say I remember hearing that name in everyday life. I think most people I know would give me weird looks for a few seconds before figuring out what I asked.
 

Christopher1

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Sunbeam has a history of having counterfeit power strips out there after looking on Consumer Reports, the BBB's website, etc.
I would not recommend anyone picking up a Sunbeam power strip from ANYWHERE unless Sunbeam themselves after you called them when you got home said "Yes, this is a legitimate product!"
That Sunbeam could not verify that was a legitimate product was, as the article writer said, a huge red flag.
 

Christopher1

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Interesting. Well, I never have used power strips such as these with any thought of surge protection, so the findings so far are not personally discouraging. IMHO power strips of this type simply are used to "move" an electrical plug and "Increase" the number of things you can plug in. Not for plugging in computers or work tools etc, but maybe a table lamp or two, Christmas tree or trim LED lights. Light weight stuff.
Except that in a poor person's home, that plugging in computers and work tools IS what they are used for in the real world.
So, I'm of the opinion that these things should be required to meet a quite stringent minimum standard for surge protection and protection of equipment connected to the device.
 

Christopher1

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This article makes me wonder how well my own no brand power bars fare but I don't have the expertise to know what to look for when opening them and they probably look failry different from the US ones as well, at least they do on the outside. We use the german plugs here and also 230v is probably making a difference as well.
At least you CAN open your power bars. The ones in my home are literally sealed shut somehow (no obvious screws, no screws under plastic labels or plastic pucks that are removable).
They are some bargain basement Wal-Mart brand strips so I would REALLY like to get them open and look inside them to make sure that they have thermal cutoffs like they are supposed to have and are not a safety risk.
 

Danifilth

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Apr 22, 2013
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Its almost 2015 and they still can't make a single power bar spread out enough for the bulky power plugs like from the subwoofer for example lol.
 

Daniel Sauvageau

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Intertek (the ones who control the ETL mark) are the ones who told me they could not verify the product and sent the inquiry to field investigations. Sunbeam simply told me they would investigate and did not comment on the counterfeit theory.

It has been about two months since the first mail I sent about this. I should go revisit the dollar-store and see if these bars got pulled off the shelves.
 

Orofjord

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Very fascinating article. I never put much thought into my power bar besides it needs to be ground and surge protected, also when I bought my dynex model TE1080 power bar years and years ago, I did not cheap out and spent ~$35 in which case my unit has served me well, still does to this day. I bought my power bar rated at a high amount of joules (2950) since at the time I did not know what else to look for besides those three factors. "15A 125V AC 60HZ 1875W surpressed voltage rating 330V" is displayed on the bottom so I think that is a decent one. Never used it either, but has Phone/Fax/Modem Protection along with EMI RFI Noise Filter. 10 outlets was also plenty.
 
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