un-hackable masterplug powerblock

I have this usb and three pin mains extension lead with surge protection from Masterplug called the Powerblock. It’s great because it has 4 sockets and 2 usb sockets and is perfect for getting all my mobile devises charged up next to me in bed. I have a bunch of multi-ended USB cables and can charge anything off it properly. My work Blackberry Curve and iPhone 4s can be picky about what you plug them into. I also have a kindle, August Bluetooth speaker, iPod touch and things like GoPro Hero 2 and MyFi WiFi hub to charge on occasion.

The downside is that the powerbloc has two very bright LED lights to show it’s ON and it’s SURGE PROTECTING. The design of the on light hints that the original design might have included an on/off button… put it this way it looks like it should be an on/off button and I’d put money on not being the only person who’s given it a poke to see if it’ll toggle. These lights don’t go off and some people can’t sleep if there is light in the room. I should add that there is a blue LED and a bright white LED. I did a Google search and it’s a commonly asked thing about turning them off or a commonly feedback thing that it’s a P.I.T.A you can’t switch them off.

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I’m supposed to be a “hacker” and as such I’m supposed to pop this thing open and fix the problem right? Well it turns out that the Powerblock can not be opened without breaking it (as far as I can tell). Once I’d popped the 4 screws out there was no way for me to pry open the case without it breaking the plastic at the join. I think this is likely to be because Masterplug offer a lifetime guarantee on the product. In a way I suppose that it’s fair enough they make it so you can’t get in and mess about IF they are prepared to honor the guarantee. By breaking the sticker over the screws I’ve very likely invalidated mine though.

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Anyway I ended up doing a much less technical hack than I planned. Reaching into the fridge for another pack of sugru did the trick, but it bugs me those LEDs are still burning away below the silicon. I took all the pictures to do a tear down of taking the LEDs out instead here is a sugru hack… hardly a special one. Foiled by plastic!