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Let's Take A Trip Inside Budget Power Bars, Part Two

Belkin's Void

Here is that void I mentioned earlier (bottom-left of the wire). You can also get a better look at what a properly tinned multi-strand wire should look like when you cut it without crushing it.

Belkin's Jaywalker

This wire does not go there. Having loose strands long enough to potentially bridge routed-out PCB gaps would defeat the whole point of bothering with isolation slots the first place.

Belkin's Spotty Welding

Here is some spotty welding on the ground strip. The welded strands were thoroughly crushed and fused together, while four loose strands show no sign of having ever been welded. The neutral strip also has a handful of loose strands.

For the few of you who might be paying attention to numbers, Belkin's power strips are 6.5mm wide by 0.5mm thick and its ground strip is 2.7mm wide at the necked-down areas by 0.4mm thick, making it one of the beefier units for power, but the flimsiest for ground.

Just Beat It

After the abuse required to get inside, this unit doesn't look very pretty. While the screws do allow it to hold itself together, I would not recommend putting this bar back into use.

Bonus Unit: Dynamark 6503

Since some readers expressed interest in looking at what goes on inside those welded-shut strips (or otherwise non-obvious fastening) and I happened to have two old bars of that sort, I decided to sacrifice one in the name of finding out if they used to make them any different back in the day.

Of course, safety standards have changed since then.

Dynamark's Label

And here we have my little reveal: this unit was manufactured in Canada in October 1996, making it almost a vintage device.

Some Pressure Required

The “ducky clamp” treatment worked a treat on the Kensington and beat the Belkin into submission, so let's see if it's as successful at quacking this one open as well. These clamps are really handy for quickly applying pressure without worrying about overshooting.

…Or Perhaps Not

What was the secret to how this enclosure was held together? Press-fitted studs. No snaps, no glue, no welding, no barbs. Just plain plastic-on-plastic pressure and friction between a round peg and a slightly smaller hole. Popping them off took a surprising amount of force, but they survived. The enclosure edges, on the other hand, got mangled in places from all of my prying.

Other interesting construction details include the ground strips, which have a very different design from all other units in this whole round-up, and actual spade connections to the breaker switch instead of welding or soldering.

House Of Spades

The spade connection on the live strip is formed directly from the strip itself, along with the crimp connection for the EMI/SPD and power indicator LED PCB.

Dynamark's PCB

There's not much to see on this PCB apart from a JVR 14N221K MOV, an EMI filtering cap and the power indicator LED. There is no thermal shut-off, which is not surprising since those were merely recommended back then. Branding on the board suggests that the PCB (and presumably the bar itself) was designed by NOMA.

If you own surge-protecting strips older than 2004, you may want to replace them with newer models that meet UL 1449-rev2 or newer to reduce the fire hazard associated with unprotected MOVs.

Daniel Sauvageau is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He’s known for his feature tear-downs of components and peripherals.