Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Redneck elecktronicks - never be without juice again

by Billy Bob
Special to

Hidy ho, Ms. Cindy!

Billy Bob here in St. Catharines.  My missus, Daisy May, was feelin’ right badly for you the other week, cuz your phone lost juice and you was forced to GO it incommunicado.  Daisy May understands why them older coaches – with the “rich Carinthian leather” seats – don’t got no wall plugs, but she don’t get why them new train cars don’t come from the factory wired with outlets for you folks.  Daisy May says findin’ a power outlet on a GO train is like a Easter egg hunt, even when you got the list of wired coaches put together by that GO Voyageur person.  So, Daisy May turned to me ‘n’ said we gotta do somethin’ for that nice Cindy ‘n’ all her LSE friends, so they never gets stuck like that again.

By “we”, my missus meant me, and I knew I was in way over my head, so I got on the CB radio to my cousin Herb.  Maybe you heard of him?  Back in the 60s, he hosted his own local TV show called Handyman Herb's DIY Hacks – with Herb Hellfinger.  After explainin’ the situation, Herb laughed and said he knew right off what the fix was.

Herb said, “Every GO train car has outlets, Billy Bob.  The problem is folks don’t have the right plugs for ‘em”.


O’ course, Herb was right – he always is.  He told me every GO train car he’s ever been on has these plugs:

I figured I’d be real smart, so I told Herb that folks just gotta buy one of these connector doohickeys off Amazon.  Well, Herb split a gut when he heard that, followed by, “Folks ain’t gonna part with their hard earned dough for that!  We’re gonna show ‘em how to build an adapter for way less!”


We hopped in my Ford pickup and headed over to WallyMart (that’s what we call Walmart down here) and got us one o’ these here mini power bars:

Next stop, Home Depot, where we bought the all-important lockin’ plug:

Back at Herb’s workshop, he cut the cord on that mini power bar about 6” from the regular plug and tossed it in his “keeper bin” – Herb don’t throw nothin’ away.  Then he stripped down the insulation on the wires and connected the lockin’ plug and we was done!  Herb says make sure you connect them wires to the right prongs, like black to “hot”, white to neutral, and green to ground.

Here’s the project all set to GO:

Herb says if you’re goin’ this route, you might wanna upgrade your DIY project and invest in a surge protector, too, cuz you don’t want dirty power on them trains fryin’ your valuable ‘lectronics, eh.  Even them regular outlets have green lights to tell you if it’s safe to plug in your gear.  The higher the number of joules on one o’ them protectors, the better, or as Daisy May says, “Size matters.”  WallyMart gots this one that’s good enough to protect your fridge:

So, there you GO, Ms. Cindy.  Toss that in your bag and you’re never frettin’ about that cell phone dyin’ on you again!  And Daisy May will be feelin’ a whole lot better, too.

Best wishes from the other side of the lake,

Billy Bob


Anonymous said...

I think Herb needs a Youtube channel. I would love to watch his McGuiver efforts followed by the inevitable electrocution during the demo ;)

Classic comedy!

Anonymous said...

Cant wait to see the delays that occurs once this guy blows out the eltrical sytem in the coach or entire train. Hope its nice and hot too. These plugs folks are for the tech s equipment during down time. I would not recomended using that for any other reason, unless your willing to own up to it if it cuases a train delay.

C.J. Smith said...

Can I get that in writing? Please cite by-law/tariff and submit to me (

FRED said...

I doubt any passenger will go through this expense but it was well worth the comedic value. Some people need to calm down.

Unknown said...

Hey FRED, doubt no longer: I did exactly this many years ago! Cost about $5 and has worked perfectly ever since.

A word of warning to those who make these adaptors: I wouldn't plug anything in that doesn't use a DC transformer, or any device that requires a clean AC wave. From the tests I've done, there's quite a bit of voltage fluctuation and other anomalies while the train is using its HEP generator; it's definitely not clean shore power.

That said, I've successfully charged my laptop, phone and other electronics while on the GO train. I've even had people offer to buy the adaptor from me, but I'm sure the ports would be locked out (or otherwise disabled) if these adaptors became too common.

While I don't think normal use should "blow out the electrical system in the coach or entire train," people should definitely exercise common sense and not use hair dryers, space heaters or anything with a motor; I'd imagine the inrush current when those devices start up could cause a brownout on the train.

Of course, I'm only halfway to becoming an electrical engineer, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

TL;DR: don't be stupid.

Mark said...

This also relies on you having a seat near the plugs...

I bought a 13000mAh Portable Charger when the Anker version went on sale a few months back. Its charge time compares favourably to a standard plug so it should get you through any GO delay.

And you can sit in your normal seat.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Old "Billy Bob" isn't a descendant of that legendary "Jerry Riggs" fellow by any chance, is he?

Ian Cognito said...

Apparently, this practice is frowned upon in the UK: (copy/paste to browser address bar)