Is there a simple power strip that has two male
plug-in cords instead of one, with a switch
controlling which cord connects to the female
outlets on the strip?
It's needed for quickly switching some stuff
between solar power and regular house A/C mains
Extension cord comes from the solar panels and
inverter to the power strip, and the power strip
is also plugged into the A/C mains.
When there's enough sun, the idea is to throw the
switch on the power strip to it takes A/C input
from the solar side.
The same thing could be achieved by unplugging
from A/C mains and plugging into the solar
inverter, but that gives a couple seconds of no
power, which is not desired.
Is there some reason why your solar power
system is not permanently wired into your
home's mains power ?
What sort of battery array do you have to
store the solar power ? You make it sound
as if the solar array is directly connected to
A properly outfitted alternative energy system
to provide power to your home would be wired
up with a proper automatic transfer switch so
that there is no chance of ever cross circuiting
things by making improper connections...
There is no extension cord that I have ever seen
in 30 years which would do what you describe,
sure you could construct something which could
accomplish what you want to do, but I don't
I'm assuming that said switch should be break-before-make otherwise
bad stuff could happen. Or just use one with a center-off position in
case for whatever reason you would ever want to completely disconnect
the attached devices.
Right... So if he can not locate one of those which has the proper
rating, and create his own junction box to install it on his power
strip, then he shouldn't be pondering that direction...
I still wouldn't construct such a device as it wouldn't be UL tested
or approved and just sounds like it could cause trouble... At least
having to manually unplug the power strip leaves no room for both
sources of power to short to each other as could happen if the
switch broke or the connections to it fail...
Along those lines and as I said before, I'd be interested in hearing
what the loads are. Even without a switch, unless the solar system
includes a battery to even out the power, it would be unsuitable for
many loads. Every time the sun goes behind a cloud there will be
a brown-out condition. And batteries quickly drive up both the
initial cost as well as maintenance costs, as they need to be
replaced. That's why full house systems rarely have them and
instead rely on the grid to stablize the power.
Like so many posts, this one seems to be hit and run, with
no further info from the poster.
We never heard any more from the op. But I can see small loads
working with a center off switch. Anything with a power supply
probably has enough reserve power to handle a fraction of a second
without ac power. Simpler loads like small motors, etc don't really
care of the power is lost for a little bit of time.
I wanted what I asked for.
The load is a couple of laptops. If you interrupt the power for more than
a couple of seconds, it discharges the internal batteries, and when it
goes on solar power each laptop draws hugely more power because it's
started recharging its battery (100w vs 30w each), which won't work on the
So I want a fast switchover, not using any noticeable internal laptop
If such a device is ready-made I wanted to hear about it.
On a sunny day, I could run the laptops on solar power all day, which
would help keep the electrical load below the low-rate load balancing
minimum on the billing.
If you wire up a DPDT switch to switch quickly between two LIVE
sources, you will have big problems unless the sources are phase
locked....It is not easy to phase lock your inverter to the grid.
The more practical thing to do is wire a switch that has a center off
position. If you don't phase lock the sources then you MUST go to the
OFF position when switching from one source to the other.
Note that a UPS when it is running on batteries, when the grid power
returns, it does not immediatly switch back to the grid, it first
phase locks itself to the grid which can take a few seconds, and then
it switches. If you don't understnad what this means, then the
simplest course for you to take is to go through an OFF setting
between the two sources. Unfortuntly this means you have to interpupt
the power for a brief time.
If you don't do this, you can destroy the inverter. Don't ask me how
I know this.
I hope he has batteries in that solar system to even out the power.
Otherwise, it sounds like a problem, depending on what the loads
are and how sensitive they are to power variation. For example,
sun goes behind a cloud, power starts to brown out.
Yes, there is. Such devices are used in data centers to provide
redundant power to computer equipment that does not have its own
redundant power system.
All you need to do is search Google for "redundant power strip" and
all sorts of products will come up.
They are not cheap.
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