So we needed another power strip in order to fix up some swapping of power cords in the bedroom. I was at Family Dollar, because it is across the street and we were out of toilet paper, and I saw a $5 power strip, and figured, “eh, what the hell, it’s a power strip!”
When I got home, I noticed that there were rattling things inside the powerstrip. Rather than just figuring they were plastic and plugging said powerstrip in, I decided to pry the strip open and just double-check before using it in our house. Turns out there were two large chunks of solder floating around.
And then I saw the monstrosity that was contained within the cheap plastic exterior. This was the most important $5 lesson I have learned in a while. Do not skimp on your next power strip. Opening this may well have saved our (and most definitely our cat’s) life.
If you have ever soldered before, these pictures may cause you pain. You’ve been warned.
First off, let’s look at how they elected to tin only one lead, and just sort of push the other wires, uncoated, and not even twisted together, through the PCB:
A quick tug separated the switch from the PCB; the solder holding it in place, well, was just for show:
Of course, I’m sure they paid extra special care to making a strong ground connection, since that’s about the only thing that could separate this “power strip” from a christmas tree extension cord:
No such luck!
Notice all of the excessive solder. You want to stop terrorism? Being able to sell a product like this is terrorism; if this doesn’t burn your house down, even without the little pieces of solder floating around inside the thing, then nothing will. Why on earth isn’t this sort of product illegal?
Here’s a nice detail shot of the black lead, showing the random un-tinned wires just sticking out all over the place, and the burned insulation; the same was true for other wires:
If you look carefully, you’ll see a demonic santa in the melted plastic. I think this is a sign.