Gaming Room (almost) Goes Up In Flames

Near complete and total disaster today inside my game room. You sort of need a little backstory to really understand just how bad this could have been. In the best terms possible, everything behind my TV, as a friend once affectionately put it, is ghetto rigged. There's no better terminology.

So, by my count, there are 25 things plugged into 8 different surge protectors. Those 8 go into two industrial style power type boxes usually reserved for work/tool benches and the like where there are not enough actual outlets (like behind my entertainment center). Picked them up at Sam's Club. The cables from those run a long way along the right side of the room to an outlet above my animal aquariums. So yes, 25 different items, 8 surge protectors, one double equipped power outlet. Smart? No, not really.

It's been like this for a LONG time. I'd say maybe 5 years, give or take. At night, everything is turned off on those big boxes by flipping the switch for rather obvious safety reasons. They remain plugged in however. I head downstairs today, flip the first box on and hear nothing but a very loud "zzzzz" coming from behind me. The little light on the box is going nuts. I am unable to repeat here exactly what it is that I first said, but it didn't take me but a second to flip that switch back over to "off."

I look at the outlet they're plugged into. Everything looks ok. No smoke, no burning, nothing. I figured that it was likely a small surge from the other day when we turned all the power off in the house to change a light switch. Daring as I am, I try the other box. Same result. This time, the light flickers for a second and then I get nothing. I could flip that switch all day with no results at all.

Now I'm worried. I don't know what it is, all I can think of is that it fried everything hooked up to these boxes. After a half hour of re-arranging with some (ok, a lot) of help, I manage to figure out a temporary solution to get power going back. Again, slightly risky.

Thank god, they work. The real test is still coming though. I turn on the necessities, lessen the load by unplugging a few things, and give it go. The Turbo Duo and SNES seem to be the only things having problems. They seemed to work for a while and then just die out. The power light stayed on the Super, but it lost video. The Duo just locked up while still playing music and producing a picture. This could be because of the new power source, a whole lot farther than what it was before. I won't know for a while.

So, what's the lesson here kids? Bite the bullet, hire the damn electrician, and get some real outlets put in where you need them. Oh, and 25 somewhat high-priced electronics hooked up at once? Probably not the best idea in the world.

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