Electrical Portable Outlet Devices (EPODs), commonly known as powerboards, multi-plugs and multi-boxes, are multiple electrical sockets mounted onto a portable case that allow you to plug in several appliances to one electrical socket outlet.

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Don’t overload your powerboard

Don’t overload the powerboard – they are intended for low current appliances only. EPODs are commonly used with computers and associated equipment such as a monitors, printer, scanners and modems. They are also commonly used with televisions and DVD players, satellite receivers and stereo systems.

The way most EPODs are used is that they are plugged into a wall electrical socket outlet and the connected board containing typically 4 to 8 socket-outlets left on the floor.

To avoid damaging your EPOD through dropping, stepping on, or crushing it, it should be wall-mounted.

Damage is not always obvious. However, any damage may result in poor electrical contact between the plug pins of the connected appliances and the EPOD. Check regularly for wear and tear. If the EPOD is damaged or the connections are loose, stop using it and replace it.

  • Be careful not to exceed the maximum load of an EPOD, which is typically 10 Amps. The maximum load of an appliance or an EPOD on its data label.
  • EPODs should not be used with appliances that draw a heavy load of electricity such as heaters, dehumidifiers, electric jugs, washing machines and stoves. These appliances should be plugged directly into a wall socket.
  • Never use EPODs in damp or wet areas if marked ‘For indoor use only’.
  • Always make sure EPODs are out of the reach of young children.
  • Tingles and unusual smells are signs that something is wrong. Immediately turn off the power supply at the wall.
  • Don’t piggy back by plugging more than one item of equipment an outlet of an EPOD – it will likely cause an overload or introduce a loose connection.

Poor electrical contact and overloading of EPODs are major causes of electrical fires, especially if the appliances connected, either individually or in combination, draw heavy current loads, such as:

  • heaters
  • kettles
  • washing machines
  • stoves.

These sorts of appliances should be plugged directly into wall socket-outlets, not EPODs, because if used together they could exceed the total load rating of the EPOD.

EPOD safety features

Some EPODs have built-in safety features such as:

  • shuttered socket-outlets, which prevent children pushing something into them
  • built-in residual current device (RCD) sometimes referred to as a ‘safety switch’ that will automatically disconnect power in the event of an electrical fault between live conductors and earth
  • surge protector that prevents electronic equipment being damaged by electrical surges.