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A «low-tech» power-saving device… a Dymo tape?

Believe it or not, but my personal financial situation isn’t really the rosiest; with Gentoo taking up a big slice of my time on a daily basis, and Yamato sucking up power to run the tinderbox on a daily basis, I’m always happy to break even.

Now, in general I try my best to not waste money wherever I can, so I look up the power consumption of new devices, try to stop everything I’m not using, and so on so forth. Unfortunately, I have learnt that simply using the “most effective” approach is not always feasible to apply. In particular, sometimes even a two minutes delay in a common task can break up a whole routine, let alone things I might forget to do altogether.

On this note, sometimes I simply wonder why do chargers not come with a “0-1” switch to shut them off without having to take them out of the socket — sure you can have sockets with switches, but not many powerstrips have individual socket switches, in particular I have yet to find one with the Italian sockets, which have a smaller profile than the Schuko plugs.

At any rate, I’m now considering at least making it easier for me to deal with one issue: unplugging the adapters that are not currently in use. Right now one of the issues I’ve got with that is that I have a hard time finding out which one plug is which, and risking to disconnect something in use, I keep a few that are not useful, still connected to the power line.

Since I’m now actually trying to put order in my office as well as trying to get rid of the most power-hungry, or at least more power-wasting devices – some of which seem to require quite a bit of replacement; for instance I’m trying looking up a ZyAIR G-3000H expansion card so that I can kill the other access point, since I’m currently running two! – I came up with a possible solution to at least reduce the need for me to keep cables always connected: label them. It might sound obvious, but I never considered that before, mostly because printing labels, for me, is a bloody amount of work and they tend to get difficult to read.

I was skimming through a brochure catalogue of my usual retailer office supplies when I was remembered of the existence of the device in the title. Once upon a time being mechanical and very low tech, nowadays digital as much of the rest of the office tools you can find. I’m now considering getting one (and had thus added it to my list although more than likely Amazon will refuse again to ship it to me because it’s electronics), could probably look for a second hand one just to stay on the cheap side given it’s not really expensive enough even new than a VAT invoice might not be enough of a reason not to go with ebay or similar.

Out of curiosity, is anybody else doing similar tricks to have order in their cables, plugs, connections and similar? Got any decent results?

Comments 8
  1. I just use masking tape and write on it to label my cables. (Since I’m not sure if you are familar with the term:… ) As you talk about costs, do consider the cost of replacement tape and batteries too :)Another trick I’ve done is to wrap both ends with the same colored tape eg.… So, when I can see the blue end doesn’t have a device plugged in, I can goto the power strip and unplug the blue plug.

  2. The coloured tape idea would probably work well in this situation; the masking tape and pen idea isn’t extremely feasible in my opinion mostly because I usually have to read them under a table with quite low visibility, thus why I was considering something with high contrast.

  3. Any electrical supply house should have electrical tape for marking wires in several colors. Any hardware store should have a few of them maybe only 3 or 4. these are commonly used to mark electrical panels here anyway and typically at least white, black, red, blue and green are available. Also they should have wire marking number tape at some electric supply houses. In either case just mark both ends the same color or number. the numbers peel in strips and are only an inch or two long. Better for small wires.

  4. Italian sockets are smaller than Schuko, but on the other hand they are modular. It’s not hard to modify the socket so that it includes a switch and the socket.

  5. Not easy to do in a compact small factor of a power strip, that’s what I meant.

  6. I remember seeing Dymo printers fully mechanical, i.e. the tape was a thick (0.5 mm?) plastic tape, and the printer “engraved” letters / number on it.Of course you had no font choice, but label were a lot more durable than now.An option could be to cut extension cords and insert switches near the device (like some desktop lamps). A lot more work, but zero risk of error, and no need to go under the table.By the way, I can confirm that for electronics, you can’t ship from wishlist… (you should receive a Paypal, soon)

  7. I have to pile on with the colored tape proposal. Even if you can only find two colors, you can use binary to get a wide range of specific, easily readable labels.

  8. I’m using “APC SurgeArrest”:… which has half of the sockets always powered and half can be turned of with a switch.This way I can have my router and PC powered all the time and mouse charger, speakers, PS2 are powered only when needed.

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