360 Electrical: Great design Ryan 25 Oct 2005

44 comments Latest by Taylor

Gotta love simple solutions to common problems. 360 Electrical is one of the best I’ve seen in a while. Why didn’t anyone else think of that? Well done.

44 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Spike 25 Oct 05

Genius! If only my neck could do the same.

Jamie 25 Oct 05

I’m not trying to be a smart ass here (really!), but how do you measure the value of a post about a product like this against a banner ad in The Deck? Although the ads in The Deck meet your criteria for participation, posts like this are infintitely more valuable because of your immediate recommendation. I’m sure The Deck carries a boatload of influence. However, your post about Campaign Monitor a while back raised my awareness much more than the banner ad that currently resides in the right column. What do you think?

BTW, I’m thinking about picking up one of these outlets!

Thomas Balthazar 25 Oct 05

This could really make my life easier!
I always wondered why it seemed so complicated to find an easy solution.
They found an easy one.
Just great!

Eddie 25 Oct 05

Of course this is an excellent idea. But why can’t we move the recepticles a bit further apart? I realize you need room for the hardware to anchor to the wall- but I bet you could get another half inch of space between them to allow even more room for bulky adapters.

But yet- this is genius as is.

MrBlank 25 Oct 05

Why not just plug it in the bottom one?

Keith 25 Oct 05

The only potential problem here is the lack of torque resistance. If the sockets rotate too easily it will be difficult to correctly insert a plug if it is even slightly mis-aligned. I suspect, and hope, that the designers included some sort of slip-fit braking to accomodate off-center yaw forces during insertion and removal.

Benjy 25 Oct 05


Jesper 25 Oct 05

MrBlank: That solves it for one. But what if you have two of them? Also, often the adapter is so bulky that it’s a chore to fit something into the upper socket as well.

I can’t believe why noone’s thought of this before (well, they probably have, but there’s not a product like it on the market).

ML 25 Oct 05

…how do you measure the value of a post about a product like this against a banner ad in The Deck?

Well Jamie, we don’t really think that’s a valid comparison. Advertising and editorial content are two different things.

Dan Boland 25 Oct 05

At first, I didn’t realize you could turn them and I didn’t get what the big deal was. But yeah, that’s a pretty good idea.

Kirk Wylie 25 Oct 05

Yet again, this is something that isn’t surprising to computer dorks over here in the UK. When I moved here, one of the things that surprised me about my workstation was the presence of power strips everywhere that have that exact same function. They were put in by the electrical guys who did our underfloor wiring.

I’ve never seen it on the wall though, although if you’ve got it on the power strip that’s even better!

Jamie 25 Oct 05

ML, good point. I agree. Paid advertising is very different than editorial content. However, the weight of a post like this is pretty powerful from a marketing standpoint.

Matt Grommes 25 Oct 05

They’ve probably never been thought of because they don’t look like they’re up to building code. Receptacles these days are supposed to be put in “upside down” (single ground plug on top) so that if something like a paperclip falls between the plug and the receptacle, it won’t cause a short and possibly a fire.

They’re bound to be more expensive than a regular outlet. I’d hate to buy a bunch of these, try to sell my house and have an inspector tell me I have to replace them all.

MSF 25 Oct 05

Clever and simple.

But now the ‘faces’ of the outlets look even more so, and in the above pic appear to be experiencing some kind of trauma.

Dave Simon 25 Oct 05

Now if someone would invent a power strip that can take lots of the “blocks” - seems like every time you put one in, you take two slots.

Dan Boland 25 Oct 05

Dave Simon: Those definitely exist, because I have one (though I can’t offer you a vendor because I’ve had it for a few years). One side of it is for regular plugs and the other is for bulky plugs, and I think the plug count is 6/4, respectively.

Gerry 25 Oct 05

To Tom and Nicolas,
Hydro-Quebec use the “expressive outlet” for a couple of years for their advertising (tv, press and internet).

Take a look here for a sample: http://www.hydroquebec.com/residentiel/hydrocontact/sept_oct_2005/thermostats.html

Funny :)

.overlord. 25 Oct 05

really this is solving a symptom and not the problem. if we could just ditch the old style plug and move to something like cat5 cables for elec then this whole wall wart problem would go away.

Dan Boland 25 Oct 05

Hey, is anyone else going to post the link to the PowerSquid? =)

Noah 25 Oct 05

really this is solving a symptom and not the problem. if we could just ditch the old style plug and move to something like cat5 cables for elec then this whole wall wart problem would go away.

We do have a standardized plug for our wall outlets, much like RJ-45 is a standardized end that CAN go on a CAT5 cable. CAT5 is a TYPE of cable, it doesn’t specify the ends you put on it.

We do have standard ends. look at a lamp and your tv they both will have very similar ends.

We use the plugs we do because their small and safe. The big plastic block plugs are turning the high power alternating current in a wall plug into low power (generally direct current) for a small electronic device. Not because their some old technology and bulky.

I’m not sure you quite grasp the power difference going on here.

The amount of power that runs through a typical wall outlet is several orders of magnitude higher than what can go through a cat5 cable. Remember multiply your voltage and wattage.

Do not do this
But if you did here’s what would happen.

Take a cat5 cable cut it into 2 segments, now strip the wires on all 4 ends.

Go find a 100W light bulb and a clamp style light socket. put the bulb in the socket.

clamp one clamp to one cat5 cable and one to another and then take the two free ends and shove them in a wall outlet.

You will find your cat5 cable will become very hot very fast and then the cladding will melt and depending on the kind, catch fire and produce very toxic smoke (depending on the kind)

CAT5 is not some magical do everything cable. The Power over Ethernet cable will not power a lamp, it won’t power your computer, your monitor or your cable modem. It’s a low power specification, it’s also low range.

It’s probably best to let the electrical engineers handle what kind of wires and outlets we use for our power than making statements like.

…ditch the old style plug and move to something like cat5 cables for elec…

Michael Spina 25 Oct 05

It�s funny�.the outlets in the photo next to the �menu� on the 360electrical site almost seem to be �smiling� - adds a bit of fun or �whimsy� to an otherwise everyday, �plain� product.

Too bad that’s the example of the old-style outlet. They should have made that one frowning and their spinning one smiling. Guess it’s a little late now.

I do like the simple design with two circles and non-busy (and non-screw?) faceplate.

kelby 25 Oct 05

Being British, sometimes you Americans do make me smile.. Is it too difficult to put the sockets horizontally adjacent instead of vertical?

Eddie 25 Oct 05


That would make too much sense. We prefer to go on about creating a new standard, and the “powersquid”, and EE’s, and the like.

Noexes 25 Oct 05

Kind of like last time I posted here I might spoil the fun (sorry) but something simular to those were deemed unsafe by Consumer Reports, it could electrute a kid.

.overlord. 25 Oct 05



.overlord. 25 Oct 05



.overlord. 25 Oct 05

sorry for the dupe, page was freezing up. please delete the above duplicate. I’m not saying there’s no merit in coming up with good designs for existing solutions, i’m just saying we musn’t assume that we have to work within these walls. Lots of devices are powered off of usb or wireless (http://www.splashpower.com/). sometimes great design comes from assuming nothing and looking at the problem at hand. people want to plug in things and get power. the original 3 prong power outlet probably wasn’t designed with these huge things we plug into them today in mind.

Ian Bicking 25 Oct 05

I’ve been underimpressed with everything related to the power block that I’ve seen. Well… still the best thing I’ve seen is the little jumpers — 4 inch extension cords. Even better when those are built into the power block.

The fixture is just way to complicated compared to the problem it is solving. Is that rotating plug better than a 4- or 6-way plug? No, but it probably costs more. I’m incredibly underimpressed with the power strips that have spaces between plugs at the end to accomodate more power blocks. They cost more than a power strip packed with plugs, but are less versatile. Is it better to pay more for plugs that aren’t wasteful, than to just put in plugs you may not use because they get blocked?

Jens Meiert 26 Oct 05

I really don’t see an advantage or simplification here. A new plug design generally seems more appropriate (though hardly realizable, I fear).

Cade Roux 26 Oct 05

Sorry - good design and useful, and certainly useful for new construction, but unimpressed about the actual benefits.

This product barely solves the problem it claims to solve - rotation can only help so much, since the problem is not usually one of rotation. The main thing it does solve is allowing you to avoid having to unplug something temporarily to shift wall-warts - and this is only of moderate value. Without shifting the spacing, I don’t see it actually solving the case where two wall-warts won’t fit together.

The US plug design is compact, and I don’t see motivation for a redesign. The problem is the wall-wart size/design and spacing and this problem also applies in other countries. The UK plug is larger and occupies more space, thereby masking the wall-wart problem.

Something which does solve the problem is the Power Strip Liberators which come in a variety of functionalites, including rotating plugs: http://www.cyberguys.com/templates/searchproducts.asp?s=SP&dept=lch42&search=&child=&rows=6&across=2&sort=new

I’ve got the small extensions as well as the ones which preserve the outlet and provide and extension. Works anywhere and doesn’t require retrofitting your house.

Ed Knittel 26 Oct 05

@Kelby: Here in Chicago, IL USA the outlets in my new condo are horizontal rather than vertical. When my family from Upstate, NY visited who had only ever seen vertically installed wall sockets asked the developer why they are installed as such he gave a very insightful response:

“I dunno. Just the way they do it here.”

Very clever… very clever.

Cade Roux 26 Oct 05

I have many outlets in my house installed horizontally on the baseboards. The house was built in 1928, and some of the wiring is original like this and some has been replaced over the generations. Doesn’t solve the wall-wart problem, though - that’s a spacing issue.

A Noonie Moose 27 Oct 05

Enter reality: how many times have you plugged something blindly into a wall outlet, especially behind a desk or entertainment center? Personally, I think I’ve done it about a bajillion times.

Do you realize the absolute destruction I would cause to everything inanimate within a 10 foot striking distance if I had to not only find the wall outlet using the plug as a “feeler” (which, I fully realize, with one wrong stroke, could make me a contender for a Darwin award), but also figure out that the plug in question just happens to be turned about 7 degrees to the left?

Leslie 28 Oct 05

Sounds great! Its a good solution. I wonder why couldn’t anyone thought about this.

Mehmet 08 Nov 05

Another clever idea from this little design company. Keys that don’t poke hole in your pockets


Andrea 17 Nov 05

when is this amazing outlet coming to a store near me? is it even patented yet? how far along are they in the process of producing this?

BuzzDog 14 Feb 06

[i]Another clever idea from this little design company. Keys that don�t poke hole in your pockets


That’s a great idea. Too bad that both cars I use on a daily basis have keys containing a microchip in the head, to prevent car theft.

As for the outlet, why can’t the low-voltage device makers simple use a power supply with a cord that goes to the recepticle, like most laptops? That way, they’d be able to market their products in multiple countries, and we’d be rid of “wall warts.”

Taylor 22 Mar 06

I like the product but I would like more information about it what about everyone else?