Tools like soldering irons and hot glue guns are essential to making stuff, but both have the disadvantage of taking a while to heat up. This means that shutting them off after every use in a project isn’t practical, but also means there’s a possibility that you’ll leave them on. If you forget to turn one off when you leave, perhaps there wouldn’t be an issue, but there’s always a possibility it could cause a fire.
For this purpose, Kevin Darrah shows how to hack a timer-based surge protector into something that will automatically shut off your devices when not used for 30 minutes. The new controls are based on his Arduino-compatible 328board, and feature a box with simple green and red buttons for on and off. It’s a neat result, providing a backup to his forgetfulness.
His video offers a great intro into breaking down a gadget’s function in order to modify it. As noted, since he was working with AC power, he was very cautious with this hack, and did everything while disconnected.