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Old 20.10.2010, 00:59
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Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

Dear manufacturer of Swiss electrical appliances

It has come to my attention that all of the power outlets in my apartment are arranged in groups of three, as shown in Fig. 1, below. (Apologies for the quality of the photos, which were taken with a BlackBerry.) My previous apartment had the same type of powerpoints, as did the one before that, and my office has them too. I'm fairly sure they're pretty common here.



Fig. 1: A standard Swiss powerpoint

I totally get the reasoning behind this design, which allows three electrical appliances to be plugged in at the same time in a very fetching and space-economical fashion, as per Fig. 2.



Fig. 2: A fetching array of three Swiss plugs

So WTF (that's "W" for "why") do you and almost every one of your kin attach to the appliances that you manufacture plugs with whopping great power adapters incorporated into them that fit snugly into one of the power outlets, but obscure the other two, so that no other appliances can be plugged into the powerpoint (see Fig. 3)? Certainly not any other power adapter-incorporating plugs, and not even little slimline ordinary plugs. That's a Swisscom modem plug in Fig. 3, and you can see that they made a half-arsed attempt to angle the power adapter away, but I still can't use the other two power outlets.



Fig. 3: Humungous power adapter-plug combo

The solution for me, the consumer, is to shell out extra cash and buy a power strip. But guess what, the humungous power-adapting plug of my BlackBerry recharger, shown in Fig. 4, occupies one and covers two more of the power outlets on the standard 5-outlet strip I bought; and the power cable running to the BlackBerry plug has to be bent at a very acute angle to allow the fourth outlet to be used. So a 5-outlet power strip is good for just two of these power adapter/plug combos; one at each of the extreme ends of the power strip.



Fig. 4: A 5-outlet power strip with two outlets rendered impotent by another humungous PA-PC

It turns out that some enterprising electrical manufacturer (a subsidiary of yours, by any chance?) markets power strips with the power outlets rotated 90 degrees from the standard orientation, so that each outlet can take a plug with a power adapter incorporated. But no-one finds out about these until they've already shelled out the readies on a near-useless standard power strip, do they? And in any case, the rotated strips are 50% more expensive than the standard ones.

I'd really appreciate it if you could do a teensy bit of market research before you forge ahead with your plans to whack together as many components as possible into a giant, space-sucking plug. At least IBM did one thing right when it developed the ubiquitous ThinkPad power cable, with its power adapter separated from its plug by a metre of cable.

Feel free to send Fig. 1 to your team of design experts in India. Some local knowledge may facilitate their efforts to produce useful products.

Thanks.
Attached Thumbnails
open-letter-manufacturers-swiss-electrical-appliances-fig-1-swiss-powerpoint.jpg   open-letter-manufacturers-swiss-electrical-appliances-fig-2-three-plugs.jpg   open-letter-manufacturers-swiss-electrical-appliances-fig-3-power-adapter.jpg   open-letter-manufacturers-swiss-electrical-appliances-fig-4-power-strip.jpg  

Last edited by Guest; 20.10.2010 at 01:10.
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Old 20.10.2010, 01:07
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

LOL, it is so very true.

I found the rotated powerstrip after I've lived here almost 3 years. I've never seen so many useless wall outlets.
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Old 20.10.2010, 01:17
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

Dear 22,

We have forwarded your complaint to China who make everything plugged into our plugs these days.

...oh, and BTW, they make the wall sockets too.

Yours truly,

The Swiss Association of Importers of Everything.
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Old 20.10.2010, 01:46
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

I use German power strips, then cut off the German plug and fit a Swiss one to plug it into the wall. After that I can use my mainly German appliances and bypass the Swiss system all together.

For travelling, I use a power strip of a selected country with a local plug fitted, so I can use 4 European appliance in London or 4 British appliances in Switzerland etc.
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Old 20.10.2010, 08:49
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

Nice presentation. Although, of course you plug your blackberry thingy into the other end of the power jiggy right?
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Old 20.10.2010, 08:51
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

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So a 5-outlet power strip is good for just two of these power adapter/plug combos; one at each of the extreme ends of the power strip.

Turn the BlackBerry charger the other way around.
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Old 20.10.2010, 08:56
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

Why can't they just make them all accept either one of these:

or for smaller stuff, one of these:

And we can then just replace the plug or cable if we ever do something so weird like moving or travelling abroad, the plug will fit in multiple sockets, and the manufacturer can just ship a standard cabel for each country rather than modifying their product for every country?
I would happily pay the extra 1 Chinese Yuan necessary.

And while they are at it make every small bit off electronics charge itself from a usb port, especially if it has one anyway.
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Old 20.10.2010, 08:57
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

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Turn the BlackBerry charger the other way around.

I'm assuming he can't as the 3rd pin needs to have the proper orientation. He could move it to the other end of the powerstrip though. That raises another problem: if the powerstrip has a switch, large adapters will likely hit the switch turning the whole damn thing off.

Manufacturers need to stop making the huge block transformer/inverter on the plug and make the brick format used by most laptops. It eliminates this issue.
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Old 20.10.2010, 08:58
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

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I'm assuming he can't as the 3rd pin needs to have the proper orientation.
Blackberry chargers are 2-pin (at least all of the 100 in my office are), so there's no reason I can see why he can't turn it around.

Last edited by Chuff; 20.10.2010 at 09:21.
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Old 20.10.2010, 09:09
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

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Why can't they just make them all accept either one of these:

or for smaller stuff, one of these:
Because when the power adapter is in the plug, the cable to the gear is only carrying 12v, so it is safer and the cable can be thin and not so cumbersome.

That said, I hate all cables of any sort, vacuum cleaners too. Why can't everything be self-powered through fusion or something?
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Old 20.10.2010, 09:13
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

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Because when the power adapter is in the plug, the cable to the gear is only carrying 12v, so it is safer and the cable can be thin and not so cumbersome.

That said, I hate all cables of any sort, vacuum cleaners too. Why can't everything be self-powered through fusion or something?
My point was that the say 12V power adapter could have a socket rather than a plug. with the separate (standard) 220V cable. Just like this laptop one:
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Old 20.10.2010, 09:27
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

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Nice presentation. Although, of course you plug your blackberry thingy into the other end of the power jiggy right?
Yes, I do, but that still leaves the problem that I can fit only one more fat power adapter-plug combo on my 5-outlet power board.
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Turn the BlackBerry charger the other way around.
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I'm assuming he can't as the 3rd pin needs to have the proper orientation. He could move it to the other end of the powerstrip though. That raises another problem: if the powerstrip has a switch, large adapters will likely hit the switch turning the whole damn thing off.
Bozo is correct, the stupid thing has 3 fixed pins. Yes, plenty of BlackBerry chargers have only two pins (and interchangeable pin connectors so the user can clip on the appropriate plug for the country they are visiting), I guess I just got lucky. But in any case, the issue remains that these 5-outlet power strips can take only two three-pin plugs incorporating a power adapter. And yes, if the power strip has a switch, it is almost certainly going to be impacted by the end adapter-plug.

Last edited by Guest; 20.10.2010 at 21:47. Reason: Typo
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Old 20.10.2010, 09:29
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

Yeah, got lots of those, but those are heavy and have thicker cables because of the amperage. Nah, fusion button power is the solution, last for ever and just get recycled into new gear when the old one is obsolete.
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Old 20.10.2010, 09:30
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

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That said, I hate all cables of any sort, vacuum cleaners too. Why can't everything be self-powered through fusion or something?
I share your cable phobia. Hang in there, wireless power is coming ... slowly ...
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Old 20.10.2010, 09:36
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

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My point was that the say 12V power adapter could have a socket rather than a plug. with the separate (standard) 220V cable. Just like this laptop one:
It's a cost thing. Your example has three plugs, two cables and four cable connections.

The original has one cable and two cable connections. The bit that usually changes between countries is the moulded mains plug and some adaptors just have a slot for interchangeability.

Perhaps the other reason why a manufacturer prefers the box with moulded mains plug is that here's no mains cable acting like a huge antenna which makes it difficult to get the adaptor and/or product through electro-magentic compliance approvals. It's difficult to get consistent results with a cable and it's much easier without one at all.
Adding ferrites to the cables adds cost without value.
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Old 20.10.2010, 09:37
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

take note people, THIS is how to complain
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Old 20.10.2010, 09:59
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

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The solution for me, the consumer, is to shell out extra cash and buy a power strip. But guess what, the humungous power-adapting plug of my BlackBerry recharger, shown in Fig. 4, occupies one and covers two more of the power outlets on the standard 5-outlet strip I bought; and the power cable running to the BlackBerry plug has to be bent at a very acute angle to allow the fourth outlet to be used. So a 5-outlet power strip is good for just two of these power adapter/plug combos; one at each of the extreme ends of the power strip.



Fig. 4: A 5-outlet power strip with two outlets rendered impotent by another humungous PA-PC
What about plugging it in on the other end of the power strip?
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Old 20.10.2010, 10:06
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

You know that new installations don't allow this

The sockets have to be sunk in now.
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Old 20.10.2010, 10:25
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

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You know that new installations don't allow this

The sockets have to be sunk in now.
How new?

I thought this was just for rooms where water may be present such as kitchens and laundry rooms.
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Old 20.10.2010, 10:26
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Re: Open letter to the manufacturers of Swiss electrical appliances

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You know that new installations don't allow this

The sockets have to be sunk in now.
... which is just great when you have a European appliance with a round, two pin plug such as the one shown below. You can usually negotiate these into a Swiss power socket but not into a recessed one!

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