A few decades back, a UK-published book on workrooms and workbenches
showed overhead track not just for lighting but for short drop-down
extension power cords as well. Whether any such system was ever
available in the USA -- and whether it is even still available in the UK
-- I have no idea. I certainly can't find any such thing now in the USA.
But, leaving aside the "track" aspect, is there any modestly priced and
NEC-compliant way of having power outlets conveniently situated above a
free-standing workbench -- preferably retractable?
I did buy a 6-outlet power strip with a piece that allows it to be hung
on a nail or hook, but the label on the back (nowhere on the box) says
it should not be used or even plugged in while hanging on a hook. I had
thought it would be just the thing to hang from the ceiling (where there
are power outlets for a garage door opener, etc.) by a bungee cord or
I did something this in my first photography studio...
1. Get an appropriate length of curtain rod and nylon carriers for it.
The type of track I am talking about looks like a partially flattened "C"
and the carriers slide within the "C". It can be screwed to the ceiling.
2. Get a length of electrical wire of an appropriate gauge. Form it into
loops maybe 18" or more depending upon the height of your ceiling.
3. Fasten the top part of each loop to a carrier. How? I tied them on
with monofilament fishing line. Now, when one end is in a fixed position
via the plug you wired in and plugged into an outlet, you can pull the
other end and the cord will unfold as they move; conversely, you can fold
them up again by pulling in the other direction.
4. Get a length of coil cord - Ace Hardware sells it - and splice it to
the end of your traveler wire, add a female plug to it and you are good to
Is it NEC compliant? I have no idea.
I generally check www.grainger.com first for these kind of things.
In my case, I just throw an extension cord over the rafters and then put
it away when I'm finished. Never need it in the same place for more
than a few hours.
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