25 March, 2009

How Do They Avoid Live Prongs?

This wind power device (http://www.clariantechnologies.com/main/page_plugin_wind_power.html) violates the plug/socket rules, unless they have some super secret way to plug it in.  See, power plugs and sockets are sneakily designed.  Anything that's liable to have power coming out of it has socket holes.  That keeps fingers from easily contacting the electricity.  The devices you plug in, they have a set of male prongs to reach in and exploit that female socket.

This system works the way it's supposed to, it keeps everyone except that idiot with the butter knife (yes you, didn't you know you're about to fry yourself?) from coming into contact with lethal quantities of electricity.

Now you come to this little generator.  If you plug it into your existing wall sockets as they claim, then it must have a male plug end coming out of the generator.  Assume you're carrying that plug to the wall socket to plug it in, there's a gust of wind, and the cord slips out of your hand.  You grab to catch it before it falls in the cat's water bowl, and . . .  Kapow!

Okay so you put a socket on the end, that's much safer.  Only.  Now what do you plug it into?  If you put male prongs onto your live electrical circuit in the house, those prongs will be live and just waiting to bite someone as they brush past...

And if they need a special "plocket" installed then they're not as plug and play as the makers claim.

One last nitpick.  The manufacturers claim that if the grid shuts down the generator will also automatically shut down, but I have a couple of problems with that.  One, if there are several of them on one circuit, the grid power shuts down, but each generator sees the others as being still there and still a "grid" power supply so they keep happily on generating.  In other words, nil safety for power and electrical workers.  

Secondly, if, as the makers may also mean, the inbuilt wireless and signalling is used to shut the generators down when the grid goes down, then how does that work and continue to work if there's no power to the wireless transmitting devices?  And you can say "battery backup" or whatever you like and I will still say that anything that relies something as unreliable as batteries that may or may not have been checked and which may or may not work when needed, is as unreliable itself.

And - more importantly:  I would install such a device to make me relatively immune to the grid's shutdowns and fluctuations.  Doesn't it seem stupid to install a power generating device that switches itself off when the power goes off?


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