[Question] Electrical wiring

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#1
Not exactly tech talk, but: I'm building a bookcase, and turns out it's going to cover a floor outlet. So I'm thinking of taking an extension cord, cutting off the female end and wiring it to an outlet (with plastic outlet box) which will be attached to hollow bottom of the bookcase. I've enclosed a drawing to show what I'm talking about. How dangerous is this idea?

electroboom.jpg
 
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#2
Well, it's certainly not up to code.
If you ABSOLUTELY HAD to do this, I'd use an AFCI outlet as your secondary, and make sure your extension cord is (originally) rated for the same amperage as the circuit (15A/20A).

--Patrick
 
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#3
It's fine. The bookcase is furniture, not installed wiring, so you don't have to follow residential code. Make sure the wire is 14 awg if the breaker is 15A, or 12 awg if the breaker is 20A.

Probably the most important thing is to use a strain relief on the electrical box so the cord can't be pulled out of the box.
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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#7
Just out of curiosity, why go with a wall outlet in furniture? I'm pretty sure you could fashion an aesthetically pleasing mount for a power strip (heck, most will just mount to a protruding screw), which would have the advantages of:

1) Not being something you'd wire yourself, risking fire
2) Having more outlets and surge suppression
3) Being undo-able, and a lot less work.
 
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#8
Just out of curiosity, why go with a wall outlet in furniture? I'm pretty sure you could fashion an aesthetically pleasing mount for a power strip (heck, most will just mount to a protruding screw), which would have the advantages of:

1) Not being something you'd wire yourself, risking fire
2) Having more outlets and surge suppression
3) Being undo-able, and a lot less work.
There are devices meant to be installed like this as well. They're officially "Furniture Power Distribution Unit"s, but can also be found as "recessed power" and "cabinet insert power":

 

fade

Staff member
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#10
Just out of curiosity, why go with a wall outlet in furniture? I'm pretty sure you could fashion an aesthetically pleasing mount for a power strip (heck, most will just mount to a protruding screw), which would have the advantages of:

1) Not being something you'd wire yourself, risking fire
2) Having more outlets and surge suppression
3) Being undo-able, and a lot less work.
I mean, okay, but an outlet is literally 3 screws. The fire risk should be no worse than just plugging something in would be.
 
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#11
I mean, okay, but an outlet is literally 3 screws. The fire risk should be no worse than just plugging something in would be.
It's because when you're connecting the cord to the outlet itself, you're usually putting a junction in (twisting wires together), and every connection has increased risk. It's considered less risk if it's a pre-manufactured (cord into actual product) than somebody doing it in the house itself.

Hence why electrical code pretty much everywhere REQUIRES all junctions to be accessible and done in a steel box (hence why there's "blank" plates for electrical boxes).
 

fade

Staff member
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#12
It's because when you're connecting the cord to the outlet itself, you're usually putting a junction in (twisting wires together), and every connection has increased risk. It's considered less risk if it's a pre-manufactured (cord into actual product) than somebody doing it in the house itself.

Hence why electrical code pretty much everywhere REQUIRES all junctions to be accessible and done in a steel box (hence why there's "blank" plates for electrical boxes).
Yeah, I understand all that. My point was that a simple outlet shouldn't really increase the fire hazard, being a minimal installation.
 
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#13
It's because when you're connecting the cord to the outlet itself, you're usually putting a junction in (twisting wires together)
Shouldn't have to in this case. The wires can be screwed directly to the outlet. It's a diy extension cord.

Still, I think we're going off into nitpicky territory. Even if he decides to pull the full 15A load from it, there's no more risk of fire than there is with any other extension cord, and no one is going around telling people they can't put an extension cord behind a couch or shelf to make a hidden outlet accessible.

A power strip made at the factory is convenient and less work, but we're literally talking about three wires, 6-8 screws (only three of which are electrical), and a strain relief. The outlet is designed for fast installation with wide screw heads and fine pitch threads so even light torque will be sufficient for the currents involved. (though screwing them in tightly is recommend)[DOUBLEPOST=1508509153,1508509081][/DOUBLEPOST]
That's what I was going to suggest, but I couldn't find one, and children started screaming, and I got tired and gave up.
I didn't have time yesterday to look them up either, thus the brofist.
 
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#14
I think it's often easy to say "it's just a few wires / screws!" But it's hard to gauge someones comfort or knowledge level with electricity over the internet. So I would try to error on the side of caution and push someone to use a pre-made solution. Just less risk.

I did all the wiring in my house, and I'd still prefer to use what @stienman posted. I think it would look a lot better personally.
 
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#15
I would also recommend NOT using a surge suppressor for two reasons: Some things don't like to be plugged into surge suppressors, and surge suppression wears down over time, which would necessitate disassembly and replacement.

--Patrick
 
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#16
Thanks @stienman, that looks great. I was actually going to ask if you guys had any ideas for better alternatives, but got sidetracked.

@GasBandit I considered a power strip, but didn't want something so visually obvious, and making it so it sat flush with the base seemed like a bigger pain in the ass than wiring up an outlet.
 
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