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2011-09-13 14:25:25.271774+00 by Dan Lyke 11 comments

TRUFIG flush mount electrical sockets and switches. Since the installation involves a fairly large piece that's mounted across studs to flush with the drywall, this looks like it might be perfect for a retrofit in our house.

[ related topics: Real Estate ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-13 15:10:14.161812+00 by: other_todd

This is an honest and innocently intended question, not snark: Why is this important to you? I mean, why is it important enough that you'd be willing to pay both the purchase premium (I didn't check, but I'm sure they'll be more expensive than conventional sockets/boxes/faceplates) and extra installation hassle?

I mean, it strikes me that normal electrical faceplates are neither particularly intrusive nor particularly ugly (if you really don't like them, get a custom or paintable faceplate that goes better with your decor and get away MUCH more cheaply). In my career moving between many and various dwellings, I have never once had a problem with "I can't put something in a particular place because of the tiny distance the outlet plate extrudes from the wall." (I've had plenty of problems with badly located outlets, but that's a different story.)

In short: My reaction to this is that it's a solution looking for a problem.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-13 15:33:56.524851+00 by: Larry Burton

Todd, there's just a way things should be done. That way is going to be different for different people, I have my way, you have your way and Dan has his way, but for each of us that is the way things should be done. Dan's giving us a glimpse of his way.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-13 16:05:36.66714+00 by: Dan Lyke

It's undoubtedly a purchase premium, but I don't think there'll be much installation hassle: I'm going to have to pull a reasonable amount of drywall to secure the new wire to the studs anyway, this comes with built-in replacement. Although I will have to shim it out to be the thickness of button board and plaster (a full ¾" in my house).

On the price issue, though: I haven't looked at what the premium is, but I'm assuming everything I put in my house is amortized over 30-40 years. Lots of price issues become moot at those time scales.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-13 22:08:52.798373+00 by: ebradway

And you have to factor in the relatively small number of outlets and switches in Dan's relatively small house. I doubt he's going to put these in his new workshop.

I think the real disappointment is in the need for these horrible power outlets to begin with. I'd hope that in 30-40 years we could arrange a better in-home power distribution system.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-13 22:18:32.131312+00 by: Dan Lyke

I dunno, it'd be nice to run something more efficient at a higher voltage, but given that energy draws in my house are going steeply down (25 watts is now a bright light), that probably doesn't make all that much difference. I'm not a huge fan of the plugs and sockets we use in the U.S., but the only real improvement would be locking, and that comes with its own set of issues (what happens when you trip over a cord and pull the plug apart?).

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-15 13:50:58.819207+00 by: ebradway

Hmmm... If my vacuum plug locked in and I tripped over it, chances are the entire socket will come out of the wall. Either that or the cord terminator will strip, leaving bare wires exposed.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-15 14:43:28.044798+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, that's why I don't think locking plugs are gonna happen. So, really, the only improvement I can think of in our current system that might be useful is upping the voltage like the Europeans do. We have enough embedded infrastructure in place that I don't think that's going to happen.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-15 17:56:09.66879+00 by: topspin

The idea that should, but hasn't, caught on, morphed, and scaled to a decent price is baseboard "track outlets" a la Eubiq so the outlets for power, phone, ether, etc are where I want them, not dictated by a builder.

Sure, this isn't a need for every room, but it's insanely obvious how flawed the outlet notion is every time someone moves to a new place or rearranges furniture in a bedroom or livingroom. Even a single 10 or 15ft track along a livingroom or bedroom wall could afford big aesthetic and arrangement options in plenty of cases.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-15 18:53:24.642449+00 by: Dan Lyke

Oooh, I like that. Especially for retrofits, where it may be smarter tu run a 15' surface track rather than try to run inside the wall, or drop back down to the crawl space and then back up.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-15 20:11:24.754581+00 by: other_todd

The only real argument I've heard against conduit/track-lighting style electrical supply is that most people seem to think it's hideously ugly. (I'm not one of those people.) I would worry a little that open track - like the kind you clamp track-lighting fittings into - down by the baseboards would quickly accumulate so much dust, cat hair, etc to be a short-circuit hazard. (I see that the Eubiq system has a gasket/cover across the open part of the track, presumably to discourage exactly such a thing, and also little fingers poked into it.)

Personally, while I admit to nothing incriminating, I MAY have retrofitted the track lights over my workshop space with a few extra fittings that UL have never seen. (Don't worry, they're safe, they just LOOK Frankensteinish.) I got tired of having cords to certain handheld power tools always be draped in exactly the place I didn't want them. Now I just clamp them into the track where I need, because having the cords go up into the air is less of a hazard than having them lie across the workbench - for me. Your mileage may vary.

Should you be tempted to try this homebrew, watch your amps; my lighting track is on a fifteen-amp circuit, but the track itself does not have a fifteen-amp capacity - as I recall; I've forgotten what it was when I checked it. I don't ever plug more than one hand tool into it at a time (in addition to the four light fixtures, of course).

#Comment Re: made: 2011-09-15 21:34:44.760832+00 by: Dan Lyke

Huh. It's kind of weird that I'll happily consider drawing 15A from a socket that cost a buck or three and now has worn out springs such that it'll barely hold a 2 prong light cord, and yet my first thought with the track system is "how do you keep those connections solid?"

On the limits, with a quick search it looks like California code says you have to allow an extra hundred watts per foot on tracks, and that the actual limits are track specific. But, yeah, having been inside some cheap-ass power strips, I could easily see situations where drawing 1800 Watts through some Chinese factory's idea of a power distribution system resulted in melted metal.