Author Topic: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)  (Read 14829 times)

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Offline sunnyhighway

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Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« on: August 19, 2014, 01:22:51 pm »
I was looking for mains power sockets which can be secured with a key to prevent unauthorized use when I ran into this Plug Socket Safe-Imitation / Wall Socket Safe-concealed safe.
Although it’s not wat I was looking for, I was able to appreciate the level of innovation and originality at first.

Only 2 seconds later the words ”Darwin award candidate” came into mind.

Have you you ever seen something that seems like a brilliant design, but actually is a genuine Darwin award candidate?

EDIT: fixed url
« Last Edit: August 19, 2014, 08:58:22 pm by sunnyhighway »
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 01:29:42 pm »
Is the key big enough that it won't fit into the "hot" contact holes?

More and more of the mains power receptacles that I see available at retail here in the US include an automatic shutter that protects the hot and neutral slots.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2014, 01:54:23 pm »
Why? it's not a real socket....
 
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Offline Andy Watson

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2014, 01:56:33 pm »
It's been a requirement since sometime in the 1970s that those square pin UK sockets have some means of shuttering the live contacts - specifically to thwart the aspirations of potential Darwin Award candidates, and inquisitive youngsters equipped with tools such as scissors. Often the shuttering is activated by insertion of the larger square earthing pin. Some designs require both L and N pins to be inserted simultaneously - otherwise the shutter jams shut.

But I agree. It's probably not the best idea to encourage insertion of metal objects into a mains socket!
 

Offline bookaboo

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2014, 02:10:34 pm »
Why? it's not a real socket....

Couple of potential problems come to mind.

"Go into my office and stick the key in the thing that looks like a socket.... "
That or a child sees a grown up using that item and figures that's what sockets are for.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2014, 02:54:49 pm »
Why? it's not a real socket....

Couple of potential problems come to mind.

"Go into my office and stick the key in the thing that looks like a socket.... "
That or a child sees a grown up using that item and figures that's what sockets are for.
Neither is an issue - Uk sockets are shuttered
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Offline Excavatoree

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2014, 03:02:23 pm »
Why? it's not a real socket....

Couple of potential problems come to mind.

"Go into my office and stick the key in the thing that looks like a socket.... "
That or a child sees a grown up using that item and figures that's what sockets are for.
Neither is an issue - Uk sockets are shuttered

Shutter mechanisms can fail.   Still a bad idea, in my opinion.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2014, 03:03:59 pm »
Neither is an issue - Uk sockets are shuttered
Yeah, when I was in UK, had no adapter but really needed to charge a phone. It took me some effort and a screwdriver or something similar in the earth hole to be able plug euro charger in the UK socket. Really respect UK sockets after that.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2014, 03:09:36 pm by wraper »
 

Offline Fred27

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2014, 03:30:18 pm »
You will lose respect for UK plugs and sockets the first time you tread on an upturned plug in the middle of the night.
 
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Offline IO390

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2014, 04:50:12 pm »

Shutter mechanisms can fail.   Still a bad idea, in my opinion.
[/quote]

I've NEVER had a socket shutter break - even on really old sockets. The downside to our mains sockets, as Fred said, is when you step on one.
 

Offline Excavatoree

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2014, 04:55:00 pm »

Shutter mechanisms can fail.   Still a bad idea, in my opinion.

I've NEVER had a socket shutter break - even on really old sockets. The downside to our mains sockets, as Fred said, is when you step on one.
[/quote]

I've never had a fire in my kitchen, but I'm not throwing away my extinguisher.

Just because you've never seen one fail doesn't mean none do, and there's always some doofus trying to stick the key in a live socket that believes in "press harder."  Thus, I still think it's a bad idea.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2014, 05:01:56 pm »
More and more of the mains power receptacles that I see available at retail here in the US include an automatic shutter that protects the hot and neutral slots.

I really don't like those. I bought one accidentally when I thought I was buying a regular outlet and installed it in my kitchen. Then I couldn't figure out why the plug wouldn't go in the socket when I tried to plug my toaster in. It takes the force of Hercules and lots of wiggling combined with just the right tongue angle to get the plug to go in the socket...
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Offline GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2014, 05:40:46 pm »
More and more of the mains power receptacles that I see available at retail here in the US include an automatic shutter that protects the hot and neutral slots.

I really don't like those. I bought one accidentally when I thought I was buying a regular outlet and installed it in my kitchen. Then I couldn't figure out why the plug wouldn't go in the socket when I tried to plug my toaster in. It takes the force of Hercules and lots of wiggling combined with just the right tongue angle to get the plug to go in the socket...

I agree. I suffer this everytime I plug the iphone charger. With the schukos it isn't as bad.
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2014, 06:21:33 pm »
Funny here shuttered sockets are required since the 1970's. Tomorrow I would like to go to the crushing at the NRCS where they are crushing a load of confiscated sub standard fake wall outlets and paraffin stoves. All fakes or potential explosions, and all marked as passing safety standards.
 

Offline SirNick

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2014, 06:37:23 pm »
I agree. It's probably not the best idea to encourage insertion of metal objects into a mains socket!

You guys are right.  Should've been a proper fused lead that, when rotated 90deg, only the earth pin turns to unlock the outlet.  Even better if that lead is connected to a lamp.  (Because then it can be a "magic lamp".  herr herr)  :phew:
 

Offline sacherjj

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2014, 06:46:30 pm »
If the goal of the product is to hide a compartment.  I think it does it fairly well.  Most people are not going to stick anything in a power socket, other than a plug.  If this looked like the other outlets in my house, I would be happy with it.  The only thing that is required is that you be able to accept a plug and not power anything.   So it is at worst and annoyance to someone.

Really the only downside is if kids see you unlocking it.  However, I would think that you would secure the room before opening a hidden storage like this, so I really don't see an issue.
 

Offline SL4P

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2014, 11:07:11 pm »
The thing I noticed about the UK style sockets & plugs - is the thread pitch of the wiring screws -- they're so coarse - maybe 15 tpi - that i don't think I've EVER found a plug or socket with all three conductors tightly screwed in !

All types of daily use or vibration seems to loosen these little buggers too easily.
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Offline IanB

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2014, 12:07:33 am »
The thing I noticed about the UK style sockets & plugs - is the thread pitch of the wiring screws -- they're so coarse

Oh. I don't think I've ever noticed that. I guess I'll have to measure a couple of examples and see what the thread pitch looks like. Watch this space...
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Offline Bukurat

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2014, 12:48:05 am »
Neither is an issue - Uk sockets are shuttered
Yeah, when I was in UK, had no adapter but really needed to charge a phone. It took me some effort and a screwdriver or something similar in the earth hole to be able plug euro charger in the UK socket. Really respect UK sockets after that.
UK style shuttered sockets are also used in Malaysia. A common item there is a plastic disk with holes to accomodate the active and neutral pins of another plug and a plastic pin to go into the earth of the wall socket, opening the shutter and allowing its easy use with various 2 pin plugs.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2014, 07:48:17 am »
Neither is an issue - Uk sockets are shuttered
Yeah, when I was in UK, had no adapter but really needed to charge a phone. It took me some effort and a screwdriver or something similar in the earth hole to be able plug euro charger in the UK socket. Really respect UK sockets after that.
UK style shuttered sockets are also used in Malaysia. A common item there is a plastic disk with holes to accomodate the active and neutral pins of another plug and a plastic pin to go into the earth of the wall socket, opening the shutter and allowing its easy use with various 2 pin plugs.
The UK style shuttered sockets are used in most ex-British Empire countries which left the Empire after they were introduced. India left early, and still uses the older round pinned British sockets. Malaysia left later and uses the modern British sockets.
 

Offline XOIIO

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2014, 01:05:40 pm »
That's one reason why I like living in north America, stepping on a power plug here is bad enough as it is, but in the UK?  :scared:
 
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Offline GreyWoolfe

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2014, 01:24:30 pm »
More and more of the mains power receptacles that I see available at retail here in the US include an automatic shutter that protects the hot and neutral slots.

I really don't like those. I bought one accidentally when I thought I was buying a regular outlet and installed it in my kitchen. Then I couldn't figure out why the plug wouldn't go in the socket when I tried to plug my toaster in. It takes the force of Hercules and lots of wiggling combined with just the right tongue angle to get the plug to go in the socket...

I put the shuttered 'safety' sockets in the granddaughter's bedroom at the request of SWMBO.  Plugging anything in does take a little extra force but the strength of Hercules isn't needed nor did I have to have the correct tongue angle.  I believe that I used Leviton receptacles.
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Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2014, 01:49:06 pm »
In 1979, I had a neighbour over the road who wired a 3 pin mains plug onto his phone, and wired mains sockets in the wall around his house with the telephone line daisy chained between each special mains socket. The theory was he could plug the phone into any of these special sockets. So he effectively had a portable phone.

It all worked well until one of his kids plugged the phone into a real mains socket. The phone could have rung... rather than 70V RMS at 20 Hz, it would have been 240V RMS at 50 Hz into the ringer. It blew the crap out of the phone.

They then called Telecom (a government monopoly) for a service call. Telecom owned all phones in homes and the customers rented them. The galah over the road was taken to court for damaging the phone and was fined accordingly. He should have also been presented with a Darwin Award... the Missing Link Encouragement Award.

 

Offline IanB

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2014, 02:31:39 pm »
I put the shuttered 'safety' sockets in the granddaughter's bedroom at the request of SWMBO.  Plugging anything in does take a little extra force but the strength of Hercules isn't needed nor did I have to have the correct tongue angle.  I believe that I used Leviton receptacles.

It is a Leviton socket in my case. Some plugs go in more easily than others. The pins on my toaster plug seem to have particularly "square" ends and the receptacle really doesn't like it.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline SL4P

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Re: Worst design ever? (Darwin award candidate)
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2014, 02:34:01 pm »
and lots of wiggling combined with just the right tongue angle to get the ... in the socket...

OK - someone finally had a reason to put all those words into a single post.
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