Tips on wall-wart power supplies and leftover 6' cords

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Wart remover

The wall-wart power supply is a common problem. These are more common than ever because manufacturers don't have to obtain registrations for the power supply in a device, and they can buy the supplies in bulk. Both steps save money. Unfortunately, unless the outlet strip outlets are spaced far apart, one wart will cover at least two or three outlets. One solution is to use very short extension cords. These cords are marketed for this use and are about 6” long. They are available through electronics suppliers and many consumer electronics stores and home improvement centers.

Some power strips will turn the outlets 90 degrees so the warts sit side-by-side. This can also preserve some of the potentially wasted space. Even so, another problem can arise. The weight of the warts can pull themselves out of the strips. Furman has a solution to this with its Pluglock. Brackets on the power strip hold the wart firmly in place.

The spaghetti alternative

Did you ever notice that when you get a new piece of equipment, it always comes with a 6' long IEC power cord? And when you mount it in the rack, the outlet strip is right at the back of the chassis, you have at least 3' and maybe even 6' too many? It turns into an unsightly mess. There is a solution.

Short IEC power cords are available. I have purchased 2' and 3' IEC cords as needed (Volex 17041A-B1-10 and 17000A-B1-10), especially in a crowded rack. Lengths as short as 1' are available. Most electronic suppliers, such as Newark and Mouser carry them. Other manufacturers make them as well, and variations such as right-angle ends are also helpful.

But what do you do with the leftover 6' cords? Snip off the IEC end and make them extension cords. Or snip off both ends and make them speaker cords. If you really have the time available, cut the cord to the proper length and install your own power plug for about the same cost.

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Tech Tips has been running for several months now, and we appreciate the ideas that have already been submitted. Some have been used in this column, while others have been posted to the Engineer's Notebook section of the Radio magazine website ( We want to hear your ideas, and we have something to offer you as well. Ideas submitted for Tech Tips or the Engineer's Notebook now through April 30 will be entered into a drawing to receive a copy of the Pocket Ref by Thomas J. Glover. This handy book is loaded with useful data and formulas for just about anything you can image. Send your ideas to

Landry is an audio maintenance engineer at CBS Radio/Westwood One, New York.

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