One practical use of large switches and indicator lamps is to make a power distribution panel which can be useful when you want to control and monitor the power consumption of numerous devices such as your electronics work bench or amateur radio station. Old-school in appearance and using military surplus electronics, this power distribution panel allows for control of outlet on back. Did I mention I built it when I was 16?
Building it was easy, 120 VAC line enters through a main breaker. It is fed through an AC amp meter (with built-in shunt) then to a line filter. From the line filter it goes to a line voltage meter and filament transformer to power the indicator lamps. This AC line is then bussed out to the circuit breakers. Each breaker controls one outlet on the rear panel. As devices are switched on or off the current draw can be measured. This is well demonstrated in the video overview found after the break.
Be creative. Use military surplus switches, indicators, and other unique looking hardware. Customize to give your preferred mad scientist look while also providing valuable functionality.
Multiply the measured current by voltage to compute wattage. Keep an eye on the line voltage.
I’ve found this distribution panel to be very useful when you are living out of rental apartments or houses and your laboratory setup must be moved on occasion.
21 thoughts on “Become A Mad Scientist, Build A Power Distribution Panel”
From the Gregory Charvat wikipedia page:
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What a very strange Wiki page indeed.
I think my Mum would go spare if she saw me building something like that…
I lit light for off, that’s just wrong.
O u i=a… e.
Mad scientist? Did he submit a mad paper for mad peer review on mad power distribution panels? http://www.myconfinedspace.com/wp-content/uploads/tdomf/128394/deathray.png
Looking at this I now want to make one where you set your voltage with a series of 8 switches that correspond to binary.
I have an old Lamba power supply that does that, 3-30 volts, with maybe 5 switches. Heavy piece of metal probably a linear supply.
just make sure to clearly label your least significant bit or you’ll have a bad day.
I think that was done in Myst. If my memory serves, there were generators on the island run by control panel with a bunch of switches. I don’t want to give away too much away, but if you set the voltage correctly by using the right combination of switches…
Can’t be enough of a mad scientist without using the good old knife switches.
I keep a bunch of old bakelite meters around, just for the “Doc Brown” look.
Did i hear it right? 1.21 gigawatts ?
How about a schematic?!
I need to build one of these for my workshop.
any how-to’s for this?
Well, that’s insurance terms right out the window.
Because this is super useful….. Or a “celeb hacker” has one so now everyone needs one? I see a run on mil surplus…
I love the radar articles do to the closeness to my heart, but filler much?
But it has no enormous knife switches. You simply must have a bank of huge knife switches with a large round analog dial over each switch and wear black gauntlet style rubber gloves whilst operating said switches!
Gotta dig the style. I’ve built a couple of not-so-stylish similar ones (plus a 3-phase 50 kVA one…). But if you value the space it takes up (and your time!) you can get most of the way there, sans meters and with conventional pilots, for $28:
(I just bought one of those.)
If you’re even more budget constrained the ghetto version is:
(and Tripp-Lite makes a better version of that, for much more $)
LOL …best reply in this thread.
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