One of our biggest tech bugbears is AC adapter chargers that don't play nicely with powerboards.
You plug one in and everything's hunky-dory — until you want to use the socket next to it, and you find that it doesn't quite fit. Or it doesn't even come close to fitting (we're looking at you, Nintendo).
Luckily, there are a few products on the market that can alleviate this pain. Click through the gallery below for some solutions to your big plug problems — and some solutions that we wish we had.
This powerboard from Jackson is brilliant. The angled position of the sockets makes for a comfortable fit of off-sized plugs in cramped conditions, and they're all pointing in different directions, which means that there is almost zero chance of overlapping.
Five-way powerboard with wide-spaced sockets and IEC inlet
Walk in to any electronic goods store, and you'll be able to find powerboards that have widely spaced sockets. Most of the powerboards have a couple of widely spaced sockets as well as a few with normal spacing. Simple, but effective.
These are pretty hard to find in Australia. It's an extension cord that's only 30cm long. If you can't fit your AC adapter in the powerboard, one of these will give you more space. Unfortunately, it's a bit messy, but if you don't want to invest in an entire new powerboard, it will do in a pinch.
What is this sorcery? Why can't we find them anywhere? If you've seen a place to buy the Nine-Port Python Power Strip, please let us know. They have shown up on Catch of the Day a few times, but otherwise seem to be nonexistent. It's a flexible powerboard that bends so that you can fit all of your oddball plugs on it easily. We need one to live.
This one's not available in Australia, unfortunately. Rather than a board, the Powersquid has sockets connected to cords from a central hub with surge protection, which connects back to the mains. This eliminates any of the issues associated with larger plugs, since the ports are all free wheelin'. In the wind. Someone in Australia needs to make this happen.
We're not actually sure whether this Svintus concept from Russian design studio Art Lebedev would let you put AC adapters in all of the sockets, but with 17 "snouts" all over its body, you probably wouldn't use all of them anyway. But on the other hand, adapting it for Australian pin configurations would remove the pig-like appearance of the ports, which would make it less arty. We're on the fence, especially over the idea that 17 plugs in the one outlet could cause a possible overload, so it's probably just as well that the thing has never made production.
This, though, is clever. The Any Shape-shifting Socket is a student concept made out of soft, malleable plastic, which you can squoosh into an ergonomic configuration as it pleases you, doubling as a design piece. It only has two sockets, though, so it's not all that practical, really. You can see more interesting powerboard concepts on Yanko Design.
Are you having trouble with messy cables? Visit our gallery of DIY solutions here.
Photo by: Xue Xing Wu, Zi Yu Li, Yue Hua Zhu and Zhi Qiang Wang
/ Caption by:Michelle Starr