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An elegant alternative to electrical multi-boxes

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An elegant alternative to electrical multi-boxes

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:28 am
by Waltern8tor
Hi All
Just thought I'd share some recent experience regarding studio build and more specifically finding a more elegant solution for all those damn multi-boxes. To give everyone an idea, I used to have everything powered off 6x 6 way multi-boxes plugged into yet another 6 way multi-box.
In process of moving and rebuilding my studio last year I solicited some help from Scott from CMS Electracom here in NZ, who sorted my studio with CMS Electracom GRID wire baskets, SW18 series GPO and Interconnect leads. All of it is top quality stuff, and was actually quite a fun process clipping it all together. The baskets under desk are great for holding cables and "snake that swallowed a wombat" type power supplies and is a much tidier solution.

here is a link to a pic of my studio if anyone is interested ... 664225792/

They have offices internationally if you are looking for a local supplier

Re: An elegant alternative to electrical multi-boxes

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:18 am
by ef37a
Hi Walter. The site does not seem to give me a clear idea of the actual cable routing but seems to be a variant of a "Dado rail" system?

I have had some experience of such systems for mains supplies that also carry* data cabling and yes, they make for a tidy office but are just a "linear" variant of our ring main wiring and thus do nothing to minimize earth loop issues.

Perhaps your studio is "starred" not a ring? Do you have a plan of the wiring scheme?

BTW, the "Wombats" we call "line lumps" over here and the blobs that go straight into the wall (and fall out!) are "wall rats".

*With a plastic insulating plate twixt mains and data wires.


Re: An elegant alternative to electrical multi-boxes

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:26 am
by Waltern8tor
ef37a wrote:Hi Walter. The site does not seem to give me a clear idea of the actual cable routing but seems to be a variant of a "Dado rail" system?

Hi Dave

Apologies in advance as I am not an electrician or expert but here's my best attempt to describe from my understanding and what I have used. Also things might be a little different here in NZ
Yes CMS do do "dado" as well, (or cable trunking we call it here).
The system I am using though, comprises of a wire grid cable basket that is clipped to "legs" fixed under the bench. The GPO Outlets are clipped onto the tray and are soft wired together in series with interconnects. All come off the wall with a starter lead. You can either use a standard 3 pin wall outlet or if you get an electrician to wire a starter socket, I understand will give you 20A over standard 10A (here in NZ Anyway)

Having a look at UK website you'd be looking at these components; ... 18-series/ ... ng-cables/ ... ter-leads/


I'll try post some photos of soon with wall warts and all.

It is quite flexible and there is no reason that you couldn't use a "Star" arrangement off a single wall outlet if desired.
I haven't connected my studio this way myself (although I could do). My studio is separate to the house, It has a single mains feed in, and I have connected everything off 2 double wall outlets. So I have 4x runs of GPOS connected in series. I haven't had any issue with ground loops or hum thankfully. I understand that CMS is double insulated. maybe this helps?

What I like about the CMS stuff is that it is quite modular, having wire grid baskets under the desk keeps things tidy and out of the way. I've kept all the electrical stuff separate from audio cables. I have run all audio cable above the bench but you could use a few wire grid baskets under on 2 tiers and run audio in one if that suits. Also, the starter leads can be a few metres long, which helps get GPOS distributed around the room where you need them. Apparently Interconnect cables can be supplied in Plastic or steel conduit if required.

Here is a bit more info I found on Soft wiring vs Multi-boxes
Electrical Multi-boxes:
• Designed for temporary use only
• Fixed lead limits placement causing extension issues
• 10A daisy-chain presents increased risk of overload
• Fuse overload can lead to data loss and hardware damage
• Unsafe to daisy-chain - higher strain on multi-box
Soft Wiring leads and GPOs
• AS/NZS61535 compliant - no test and tag required
• Detachable/custom length leads allow ideal placement
• 20A daisy-chain capability optimal for commercial usage
• Fuse-less outlets reduce risk of short/overload
• Optimal for reconfiguration and permanent set-ups

UK standards may be be different to NZ though we both use 230/240V . I have bought a few bits of kit from the UK over the years and just changed the plugs over.

Re: An elegant alternative to electrical multi-boxes

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:23 pm
by ef37a
Thanks Walter.

The words "daisy chain" kills it for me. If an earth line is "passed on" then the gear at the end of it can feed noise into it and the whole earth is "sat up" on that noise. Not inevitable that it will cause noise but having each piece of gear run back to a common earth point avoids the problem.

The modules snap together. Yes very neat but I cannot see how eight such outlets say could be in "star" mode?

But of coures, hum loop problems are rarely simple to diagnose or fix and balanced operation goes a long way to avoid them anyway. You are pleased with your setup. Nuff said!


Re: An elegant alternative to electrical multi-boxes

PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:35 am
by Waltern8tor
Hi Dave

I see after I posted the webpage links above, that the associated Images are possibly bit misleading. CMS's website frustratingly doesn't show all the components let alone in one place.

The GPO modules are actually pre-configured into 2, 4 or 6 outlets. Links below for the 6 GPO for example

With a this GPO Module and a 3 pin starter lead plugged together, you effectively get a high quality "multi box". But you can also select length of starter lead to suit... which eliminates need for extension leads.

Again you can still configure these in "star" formation (as with standard multi-boxes) if you like rather than "daisy chain".
I think however, the more ideal situation would be to get an electrician to wire up a 20 amp starter socket outlet to the wall and you'd have everything run back to the common earth, though I'd admit this may not be an option for some.

We pretty much exclusively use CMS electracom products here in NZ for commercial office fitout's and run rows and rows of workstations with multiple screens and desktop computers all off a single 20 amp starter outlet. The desk I am sitting at work here has 10x 4 outlet GPO's with interconnecting leads all off 1x 20 Amp starter socket. My studio at home I am using 20 or so 4 outlet GPO modules off 2 double wall outlets (and no issues with Hum or ground loops).

Anyway, I just thought others might be interested to know there are other alternatives to standard multi-boxes out there. And they might not have be aware of this option as I don't think they are available at regular retailers and seem to be marketed more to commercial sector.