| Home | Site Map | Plans | Crafts | Blog | Freebies | Challenges | Freebies | Pictures | Energy | Astronomy | Contact | Order |

Power Switch 1

Power Switch

The power switches for computer components are many in number and often hidden (you would not stand for this in your power tools). This problem is usually addressed by plugging all the power cords into a switched outlet strip. These strips also include surge protectors to guard the computer from electrical problems.

This solution, however, has a major flaw. The new single switch is only inches from the clutter of plugs and cords. You then must choose whether you want a mass of wires visible at the back of your desk with the switch hidden in them, or the wires and the switch hidden behind the desk, where you can barely reach the switch.

You can achieve an elegant solution by building a small switch box for your desk top that is wired to a separate multiple outlet (see Figure #1). If this box is executed in carved hardwood, or in veneer work, or with display joinery, then it can be a proud addition to any desk.

The Woodware Switched Outlet Box then consists of a wall plug and cord, an outlet box with duplex outlets, a connecting cable, a switch box and switch, and finally a decorative wooden housing. Figure #1 shows all the parts of the complete device.

If you like our fun Freebies, remember we can only keep this Web site open if we sell our Low-Stress Computer Furniture Plans or you follow our ad links and make purchases from our sponsors. Thank you.

Rockler order link to first page
  1. Electrical Considerations

    Power and safety considerations can easily be met by purchasing standard UL-approved components from a hardware store. The surrounding the wooden box is then not a electrical consideration at all.

    Specifically, the electrical code requires that the switch be contained in material (metal or high temperature plastic) that cannot be set on fire by sparks and that the cable be securely clamped.

    1. Cable

      One six-foot, heavy-duty (with AWG 14/3 wire) Major Appliance Cord will provide the plug, power cable, and switch box cable. These are available in tan or gray. Instructions and drawings for the electrical wiring are given on the back of the switch and outlet packaging.

      Flat cables lay better on flat desk tops. Round cables will withstand much more mechanical abuse.

    2. Switch

      The switch should be a single-pole grounding switch (15A-120/277V AC). It must not contain a light or dimmer.

      The large rocker type looks best (Leviton Decora 5602-21S). These are available in ivory, black, and white.

    3. Surge Protection

      Surge protection is easily provided by plugging a protected multiple outlet into the switched outlets. This multiple outlet should be the type that screws directly to a wall duplex outlet, provides six outlets, and surge protection. These are available at most hardware and computer stores and can include protection for the telephone line.

  2. Mechanical Considerations

    Any common outlet box with two clamps can be used for the outlet. It will be out of sight when in use. A box designed for one duplex-outlet is needed.

    A conduit box with its rounded corners works nicely as it has no sharp edges, but it does require two added clamps.

    Adding outside metal screw tabs to allow you to screw the box to the desk without opening the box makes installation easier. A pair of three-inch mending plates bolted to the back work nicely.

    All cables must be clamped where they inter boxes. These clamps can be build into the box or separate parts.

    Power Switch 2
  3. Ornamental Switch Box

    The switch box itself has five components: cable, clamp, switch, ornate box, and face plate. Figure #2 shows two versions of the switch box, one using a minimum of desk space and one with a low profile and presentation plate.

    1. Simple Switch Box

      The simple conduit box with one separate clamp (Figure #1 and Figure #2) is a weighty, compact unit that takes up little desk space and stays put.

      The wooden box fits around the metal box and has room for the clamp at the back. The wooden box is easily attached with hot melt glue.

      Power Switch 3
    2. Low Profile Switch Box

      A surface mount box (Wiremold Shallow Switch and Receptacle Box V5748S) (Figure #3) works well for a wide, low-profile unit with room for an engraved presentation plate.

      This box has no cable clamp, but the cable can be acceptably secured by drilling two holes in the back plate and using a cable tie.

      Be careful to tightly twist all wire strands together and wrap them around the screw terminals. Stray wire strands can easily touch the back plate in this shallow box causing a short circuit.

    3. Face Plate

      You have a number of choices for the face plate. It can be an inexpensive metal unit spray painted to suit the design, a fancy commercial one in brass or ceramic, or a shop-made wooden one to match the box.

      A wooden face plate needs thin strips of wood dadoed in across the end grain edges to prevent warping and breakage. Wood must also be removed from the underside of the face plate to allow room for the switch parts and screws.

    4. Outer Box

      A design for the outer box with style and elegance is left to the reader. I am sure you can draw on the long heritage of small, ornate box making in woodworking.

      This is an excellent use for the small bits of exotic woods you have been saving. It is also a good practice project in carving, or in working veneer, or executing display dovetail joinery.

  4. Closing

    The switch outlet makes an excellent gift for any computer user.

    Thanks for visiting Woodware Computer Furniture Designs and please drop us an email on how well we have meet your needs.

Return to Main Page

Woodware Design Woodware@woodwaredesigns.com

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

| Home | Site Map | Plans | Crafts | Blog | Freebies | Challenges | Freebies | Pictures | Energy | Astronomy | Contact | Order |