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Ask Slashdot: Wiring Home Furniture? 235

Posted by timothy
from the for-a-couch-that-seats-1 dept.
b1tbkt writes "So it seems that furniture manufacturers have not yet acknowledged the realities of modern life. Kitchen tables could benefit greatly from built-in concealable receptacles. Even more obvious is the need for electrical wiring in couches and coffee tables. I realize that there are safety (fire) concerns but as it stands most families that I know already have power cords for laptops, tables and phones draped over, under and through their couches at any given point. If someone wanted to wire their furniture with AC or some type of standardized LV DC system, what are some dangers to watch for and what, if any, specialized hardware exists for the purpose?"
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Ask Slashdot: Wiring Home Furniture?

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  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Sunday May 19, 2013 @11:23PM (#43771341) Homepage

    For myself, the reason I don't buy furniture with this feature is that nobody offers it. Period. The problem with wall outlets is that they're all too often behind the furniture where people will be needing the power. So I end up with power bars everywhere, often attached permanently to furniture where power's needed.

    You'll notice that in office environments all furniture is equipped for power. There's outlets in the floor, and every desk and counter and a lot of fixed tables have power bars along them or underneath them. My office desks at home have cut-outs for power and provision for attaching power bars. And everybody I know asks one question every time they're looking at a house: "Are the circuits 20A?".

    Let me ask this: if nobody needs power outlets, why do power strips and boxes sell so well and why do so many homes have so many of them? Answer: because people need outlets that aren't 2-outlet wall boxes, and few people have the skills and the workshop to actually create furniture equipped for what they want so they cobble together what they need from what they can get.

  • Re: Easy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sqr(twg) (2126054) on Monday May 20, 2013 @01:43AM (#43771729)

    I use a similar, but cheaper, soulution. I bought ordinary power strips that have little holes in both ends (for hanging from hooks, etc). Then I attached them with screws to the underside of my desk and kitchen worktable. There, they are always within reach, while out of sight and safe from spilled liquids.

  • Re:Easy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tlambert (566799) on Monday May 20, 2013 @03:20AM (#43771973)

    AND THERE'S STILL SPOTS I WISH I HAD A RECEPTACLE AT! :)

    This is why you run wires in conduit at a uniform height in every wall: knock a hole at the right height, put in a new outlet. You may have to pull new wires to get sufficient length to make the connection, but you can pull them in from whatever's on the other end.

    The only thing you have to worry about, practically, is amperage load per line, so you don't end up with too many outlets on a single set of wires.

    This is similar to the idea that the streets should have utility tunnels, rather than buried pipes, so that you can run new cables, fiber optics, waveguides, or whatever technology we haven't thought up yet, without tearing the streets to crap. There are new subdivisions which have this type of infrastructure, but cities are generally too stupid to do public utility reworks this way (or too smart; union payola?) since if you are trenching and cementing anyway, the biggest cost is in the excavation, not the materials. Redwood City, California is actually doing this type of work right now for access to the light rail, and it's the right way to do it for a 25% additional marginal cost.

  • Re:Easy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pubstar (2525396) on Monday May 20, 2013 @04:41AM (#43772179)
    So much this. I used to be a field electrician and a ETC certified repair technician (they make 3 phase 700 amp dimmer racks), and took a job doing audio afterwards. One day in the field my boss was yelling at the electrician for the show to "give him more neutral" because the neutral leg was arcing when he was trying to tie in. Yeah, it tends to do that if you plug in all the hot leads and have all the amps and distro on. I'm still amazed my old boss hasn't killed himself yet.
  • Re:Easy (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 20, 2013 @05:04AM (#43772215)

    Running a conduit horizontally in a wall decreases the stability of the wall. Electricians are very wary of doing that.

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