I have a benchtop power supply that provides +3.3, +5, and +/-12VDC. I've started cannibalizing small appliances for parts, and I'd like to have similar power taps for 110/120VAC. Does such a thing already exist? If not, is it possible to build one?

Ideally (for me) it would have some kind of quick-release terminals, though I'd be fine with screw terminals if it comes to that. A dedicated power switch (so I don't have to keep unplugging it from the wall), internal short protection (so I don't have to make repeated trips to the breaker box), and a visual "this is live, don't touch exposed metal" indicator would be nice.

Most of my experience to date has been with low voltage DC; I've worked with mains-voltage AC enough to respect it thoroughly and to not mess with Things I Do Not Fully Understand.

EDIT: Thanks to another question here, I found Wago, which makes terminal blocks that I think will work. The other parts of the question remain open.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Perfectly safe? No. Safer than mains power? Yes. Look at "Isolating transformers" which mitigate some of the hazards. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Drummond Feb 5 '19 at 20:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ The Cliff Quicktest comes to mind. \$\endgroup\$ – Hearth Feb 5 '19 at 21:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ a wall receptacle (aka socket/plug) would be ideal... \$\endgroup\$ – dandavis Feb 5 '19 at 22:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @dandavis I'm pulling components from small appliances, so they don't already have socket-compatible plugs. If I'm going to wire up a standard plug, I can just plug it into a power strip. \$\endgroup\$ – Craig S. Cottingham Feb 5 '19 at 22:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Hearth Nice! It took some digging, but I found a distributor here in the US. If you write this up as an answer, it will be in the lead for acceptance. \$\endgroup\$ – Craig S. Cottingham Feb 5 '19 at 22:27

Building one is unnecessary if you can just buy one. Particularly because making your own is a dangerous endeavour when it comes to mains-connected things. There are devices made for quickly connecting and disconnecting mains-voltage things in the safest manner possible; the Cliff Quicktest is one example. It's hard to get outside of Europe, but you may be able to find one. I understand there are some US distributors.

This type of device contains everything needed to relatively safely handle mains voltages, but keeps it as easy as possible to connect and disconnect. The connections are made by what are basically heavy-duty alligator clips, and knife switches integrated into the cover prevent any live metal being exposed when you open it up to connect wires. They also have fuses on at least the live wire, and some also on neutral, and some of the Cliff ones at least also have neon indicator lamps to show when it's live.

The colors of the clip levers are also generally made to match the building code standards for insulation colors, so it may be worth looking for one in your locale's colors. I think they come in UK, European, and US/Canada colors from Cliff, and you may be able to find ones in other colors from other manufacturers, if there are any others.

Note: I have no affiliation with Cliff Electronics. They are simply the only manufacturer I'm aware of for this type of device.

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