Let’s start today with a more lightweight topic here. I have been searching for some nice garden power outlets, that can be placed permanently outside the house, regardless of the weather conditions. Typical usage would be anything from electric lawn mower to birthday garden party 🙂 I do not need any extra functions there, like movement sensors, integrated lights, timers, just a plain box with sockets that can be connected to a cable I put under the ground while ago is enough for me.
I was looking for something like on the picture below, and there are plenty of others available.
However, I couldn’t find good place to order some nice looking ones, all the stores I came across do offer either cheep-looking plastic outlets or stainless steel, which I think are not the right fit for my garden. Moreover, the possibilities for ordering power sockets online are limited in general by the fact of country specific plug types.
I also played with the idea to build something myself, which is not extremely complicated, however my attempts to drill with a round diamond core bit into a stone were not very successful.
One day I saw in a DIY Store chain an interesting garden connection box which I decided to purchase. It is a concrete looking epoxy resin grey box, with a four power outlets covered by small doors. The design was probably supposed to give the item natural look, but in a fact it is still something artificial in the garden.
The product comes with a black rubber connection cable 1.5 meter long, and the package says that it has an IP44 (splashing water) protection. From the four socket inside you can draw 3680 Watts (230V, 16A) maximum. I personally think that the fixed connection cable is there just to demonstrate complete product, however no doubt you’ll need longer cable and probably permanent connection on both sides.
I had a cable prepared in the ground already, so I just disassembled the box, removed the original cable, connected my permanent one and mounted the box on a “ground anchor” (not sure how these things are called in English).
Unfortunately, as you can see in the last image, I managed to crack the bottom hinge during the installation procedure 🙁 and I was even not aware doing that. That leads me to a first negative point of this product. It looks solid, but it is not. The hinges are a weak point of this item and that crack did disclose the full weakness of the design. To fix that, I filled the gap with Mamut glue to make the hinge work again.
But let’s start with the positives first.
- It is ready made product, looks better than the regular plastic outdoor extensions.
- I like the fact that the front door can be closed with plugs remaining connected, and the cables do still have a space below to go safely out. That makes it to look clean, with the actual sockets being hidden.
- Each socket has its own cover so they seem to be well protected from dust or rain.
Now what could have been improved is:
- The overall quality of the box could be better
- The mounting points are only on the back side of the box, and are very close to the edge of the material, which is (as I showed earlier) not that robust.
- It could have had more natural look (the color) and the smell after first unboxing was awful.
If someone would ask me for recommendation, I would rather suggest to look for some alternatives, given the facts I listed above. My purchase was done a bit under a pressure. It serves the need, but will see how long it lasts and what will happen with the surface and color over time.
Update March 3rd 2019: There is one more positive point I realized when preparing the outdoor Christmas decorations. The AC adapter fits nicely in the box so all the sockets remain covered during the winter times even if there are some decorations plugged in.