Before I was going to start building, I had to solve a power issue. The room only has one dual wall socket, which wasn’t going to be enough for the hobby room. Given the plans that I’d drawn up, it was in a really unfortunate position as well. I was going to have to add more sockets – a lot more. And I had to do it without drilling into the walls…
I had planned for my main desk to be in front of (or underneath) the window. I really wanted a bunch of sockets both to the left and to the right of the center of the desk, but I wasn’t quite sure yet where I was going to place them. And then it hit me. The room’s defining characteristic is that it’s a underneath a sloped roof with an added rooftop window, and the two diagonal struts to the left and right of the window would be a perfect place for sockets:
Here’s the problem: since the room only had the two sockets in the far back, and I wanted to keep one of those free, that left me with only one free slot to use, which wasn’t helpful. The only solution I could come up with was to chain extension cords. It’s not a great solution, but it was the only one I could reasonably use. I ended up having to use four extensions: two just for distance, and two six plug extension cords. The reason I had to use two different kinds is that six plug extension cords with more than about 2 meters of cable were insanely expensive, whereas this option was about one-sixth the cost.
First, I used a simple one-to-one regular extension cord just for distance. It had to span the distance going down from the wall socket, into the corner, then all along the corners until it got to what would be the desk area. I plugged a six plug extension cord into that, which could go on the right-hand side of the desk, then used the second one-to-one extension cord for length to cross the distance towards the other side of the desk, then another six plug extension cord that I could have on the left-hand side of the desk. This was a complicated way to achieve the result I was looking for, and would probably make electricians cringe in horror (and probably rightly so). But the result gave me five socks right, and six left, with one remaining free for incidentals in the far corner of the room, and it did so with a minimal profile – that is to say, I kept it as clean as possible, and hid as much of the wire as I could:
You can’t really even see the extension cords here, which is what I wanted. I wanted them on the outside so they wouldn’t be in the way or distract me while I might be working on any projects. Here’s two photos that show the actual extension cords, on the left and right side:
Just for completion’s sake, I’d like to point out that it’s generally a really dumb idea to put power wires this close to heating pipes. Wires overheating can cause fires, and putting hot wires next to hot pipes can make them overheat that much faster. The only reason I felt safe doing it is that I had previously insulated all of the pipes, and there was very little actual heat loss with the insulation in place. Here’s one final shot of the way I tidied up all the cables so that they’d stay out of the way:
Astute readers might notice a flaw in this design: with the extension cords placed diagonally as they are in these photos, cables of devices plugged in on the higher sockets would have their cables dangling across my desk in a very inconvenient way. But I actually thought about that ahead of time, and there’s actually a very low-tech, simple, and cheap solution for this. I ordered myself a set of hook and loop cable bands. You can get these from all sorts of brands at all sorts of price points, and I paid about $2 for my set of 20. If I ever add any new devices, it’s trivial to add its cord into the cable band, which will automatically pull all of the connected cables towards the wall. This makes sure that they can’t interfere with whatever else I might be doing. I highly recommend this solution if you’re ever in a similar situation.
I was happy with the way I had my extension cords set up, and that meant I could finally start the building for real.