Article
About 15 years ago, a friend of mine and I remodeled a vending room area. It used to be full of snack machines and microwaves lined up around 3 walls. We turned that area into a nifty conference room. Ronnie did the carpentry work, building a very nice U shaped workspace around an open area where the speaker would stand.

When the Table Are Turned … You Still Have Power

Steve Maurer, IME
About 15 years ago, a friend of mine and I remodeled a vending room area. It used to be full of snack machines and microwaves lined up around 3 walls. We turned that area into a nifty conference room. Ronnie did the carpentry work, building a very nice U shaped workspace around an open area where the speaker would stand.

I was the electrician for the project, and made sure that there were receptacles spaced every four feet underneath the countertop. And of course, because it was formerly a vending room, there were a number of receptacles on all the perimeter walls.

In my opinion, you can never have too many receptacles in a room where there are going to be computers and other devices plugged in. It's also my opinion that there are never enough receptacles in most of these areas.

About twice a year I go to conferences that normally have a number of tables set up for the attendees. Most of the time, there are reserved spaces on the tables near the walls for people who bring their laptops and tablets. Usually the electrical layout consists of a series of outlet strips plugged into each other and strung along the floor.

And if you don't get there in time to claim a good seat, you'll end up running your laptop on battery power all day. And that means you need to find a receptacle to plug it into during breaks or at lunch.

I've often said to myself, “There's got to be a better way!”

Well ... there is.

Permanent or temporary? You've got power options.
For fixed tables, desktops, or workstations, you can get devices that will either mount permanently on top of the work surface, or that can be inserted into a cut out on the surface so that you can have them flush mounted.

To keep spilled coffee, water, or other liquids from damaging the device, make sure you get one that complies with spill-resistant codes or standards.

These devices will come with a pigtail that plugs into the wall outlet. You can purchase them with one or more 110-volt outlets or with USB charging ports, either USB-A or USB-C. Combinations of the two USB options are also available to make sure you always have charging power for any mobile device.

It's also possible to have both AC power and the 5-volt USB charging ports in one device. That way, you'll have whatever is needed right there on the desktop. With only one pigtail going to the wall outlet, you'll avoid the cord clutter often found under many desks or working surfaces.

Out of sight, out of mind
By the way, permanently fixed, surface mounted devices can also be purchased with a pop up design. When not in use, you simply press down on the device, and it disappears into the surface leaving just the cover showing.

When you need to use it, press down on the cover and the receptacles or charging stations will pop up into review. The outlets and charging ports will be facing the user, allowing them to access them easily.

And yes, they come in spill resistant models.

For a more distinctive look, you can get surface mount receptacles in a round configuration with both 110 VAC and 5-volt DC options.

Need a quicker, easier solution?
Cut-in receptacles are great for permanent installations, but what if you want to add just a temporary power supply to the workstation or table? Or you may not be able or have permission to cut into the surface.

No worries! You can add both power and charging capability quickly and easily with a clamp mounted device. It looks good, and is solidly mounted. But you can also remove it when it's no longer needed.

But wait ... there's more!

These clamp mounted devices can also be attached quickly and easily to folding tables often used for meetings or conferences. Just attach the device to the edge of the table and plug in the pigtail to a nearby wall outlet.
But what if you want to add more than one device to a table, or even have devices mounted to several tables in a row? Won't that mean a mass of wires snaking across the floor?

Not necessarily.

You can buy these devices with two cords attached to each device designed to connect to each other. The end device will have a standard 3 prong plug for the wall outlet. The other cords will have matching, finger-safe connectors that allow you to string multiple devices together.

And just to keep things neat and tidy, you can use cable clamps affixed to the bottom of the table surface to route the cables safely and securely.

This means that everyone in the conference room will have access to power for the computers , phones , and tablets. No longer will there be a rush to get the coveted end seats next to the wall.

Whatever you need—permanent receptacles mounted on desktops or workstations, or temporary power on tables that may be rearranged or even removed occasionally—you can supply the power that's needed, where it's needed, anytime it's needed.
Photo courtesy of Legrand North America
Now Available—NEW Caséta Wireless Kits
advertisement
One stop shopping for you compression HYDENT Connectors
advertisement