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Thread: Question on rocker switch position when replugging a device

  1. #1

    Default Question on rocker switch position when replugging a device

    It's hard for me to put this into words, but here we go:

    Lets say you have an electronic device and it has a rocker switch on it, lets say a surge protector for example.

    You decide you want to unplug your surge protector and then plug it back in.

    Do you have to flick the rocker switch to the "off" position first before plugging it back in?

    Is it bad to plug it back into the wall when the the rocker switch is on the "on" position before you plug it in?

    Do any kind of electronic devices, (that have their own rocker switch on them) have any issues with this?

    I've personally never had any issues but it doesn't hurt to make sure by asking.
    Last edited by computerdude92; November 14th, 2019 at 05:34 AM.

  2. #2


    Some will say you do and some will say you don't. (What else is new?)

    I've done it both ways numerous times.

    I'm still here and so is all my attached equipment. IOW, I've never had any problems no matter which method I've chosen to use.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  3. #3


    My OCD and paranoia always find something for me to worry about... but knowledge is power. Ignorance is not bliss.

  4. #4


    Typically, the only damage done is some arcing at the wall socket. As far as surge protectors, I don't recommend using them without some secondary protection, such as a thermal fuse or mounted in a isolated metal container. I've seen two fires started because of failed MOV type surge protectors, often used in plastic extension cords. The problem is that they fail without drawing enough current to cause the circuit breaker to open. As an example, a 15 amp breaker on a 120v line can supply 1800 watts without tripping the breaker. Imaging 1800 watts in the tiny plastic extension cord end. Even with a metal cased extension, I recommend it being on a non flammable surface such as a brick. Remember what 1800 watts is like. I refuse to use any extension with a surge protector.
    In general, it is always best practice to turn all the switches off before plugging things in. On a properly working setup, there shouldn't be an issue but in a failed system the switch may save you by giving you a better chance to undo the connection, safely.

  5. #5


    I never use any extension cord with a surge protector. Neither on the wall plug end, or in one the outlets on the surge protector.

    I don't know why extension cords are an issue though. Aren't they just wires?

    For some reason people say to never use electrical extension cords for long periods of time.

    Maybe they add too much length for the device to carry the electrical signal reliably.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Blog Entries


    It's not the idea of extension cords per se, but rather that vinyl insulation gets brittle with age and can melt even under moderate heat. North American 120V receptacles and plugs are a travesty as well, and can develop arcing with age. If I had my druthers, I'd convert the entire US to the British type G style. Utterly over-engineered--none of this springy sheet metal for contacts.

    Seeing an 1800W electrical heater plugged into a 2-wire AWG 18 extension cord sends shivers up my neck.
    Last edited by Chuck(G); November 14th, 2019 at 06:27 AM.

  7. #7


    But it produces heat just like the heater; it should reduce your shivers!

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by KC9UDX View Post
    But it produces heat just like the heater; it should reduce your shivers!
    The family will complain too much about the plastic smell. Then they open the door and let all the heat out.
    ( they do that when I'm soldering as well )

  9. #9


    Regardless if the point at which the power is applied is a switch in the unit itself, in a power strip it's plugged into, the circuit breaker powering it, or the utility company applying power to your entire house after an outage, there is always going to be some inrush current when power is first applied, and I've seen no evidence that there is any difference in the amount of this inrush current depending on how power is applied.


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