Parts Express 12 Outlet Strip 6 ft. Cord and Circuit Breaker-Switch ULWho says dried-up old paper books are the only fire hazards? E-book readers, tablets and cell phones pose their own threats. Same for desktops and laptops.

And let’s think beyond possibly dodgy power supplies. Fire marshals and others also warn against daisy-chained extension cords—a real temptation when you build up a collection of devices for e-reading and want to be able to accommodate all their chargers.

Here in the U.S. at least, the issue isn’t just safety. A hefty fine might await you if your city or county finds you’re sinning. I suspect the same is true elsewhere. I’d love to hear from TeleRead community members, in the States and elsewhere, about relevant laws as well as possible experiences with them.

Luckily some remedies exist. Check out the six-foot,  12-outlet power strip, from Parts Express, which I use for e-book-related gadgets and plenty else. I love it.

More importantly—after the rescue squad came for my sick wife and ran across some daisy-chained extension cords a few months ago—a city inspector shared my enthusiasm.

The strip includes a 15-amp circuit breaker and is UL-approved, and you’ll notice plenty of space between the outlets, a “must” since chargers often plug in directly rather than rely on cords. Price is $24.50 and shipping.

Related: Information from the National Fire Protection Association.


  1. You are worrying needlessly – you not going to overload a power outlet or power board with chargers for ebooks/phones/tablets. Here with 240V power outlets & power boards are usually rated at 10 amps. While you can exceed this with just two high consumption devices such as heaters, most chargers would consume < 50ma so you'd need 200+ to cause problems.

  2. @Andrew: Thanks. While most mobile-related devices are low powered, keep in mind the chargers can go bad – one reason why circuit breakers might be handy. Also some people might mix mobile devices with more demanding equipment, including powerful desktops. Not to mention household appliances such as, gasp, at least small heaters. If nothing else, consider that the issues are not just safety ones, but also legal ones. Here in my city of Alexandria, Virginia, the inspectors are very very down on the permanent the use of extension cords and especially on daisychaining – hence, the appeal of long power strips. David

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