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Thread: Hanging Power Cords (rafters to machines)

  1. #1

    Hanging Power Cords (rafters to machines)

    I will be running new outlets (both 110 & 220) in my shop/garage. Ideally I want to have the power to my 220v machines run from above so they don't create an obstacle course on the floor. My question, is it ok to just have the twist/lock outlets installed on the rafters above the machines? For the 110 power (away from the wall), I already have two ReelCraft retractable lines already in place. TIA

  2. #2
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    This is what I plan to do. Just be sure you have proper strain relief for the cords and cords that can handle their own weight. There are all sorts of pricey support products but, unless a lot of weight will be hanging from the suspension point, anything reasonable should be fine. A piece of garden hose as a protective jacket and some stout tye-wraps, paracord and a screw-eye, etc.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 04-07-2020 at 11:34 AM.
    "What kind of chump do you take me for?"
    "First class."

  3. #3
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    Run the cable to a junction box on the ceiling & drop an SOOW cord with a female connector at a height that is convenient to reach. Like Glenn said, use proper strain reliefs at the ceiling.

    https://www.amazon.com/Woodhead-3656...%2C221&sr=8-12

    BTW, that would be 120V & 240V.

  4. #4
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    I think in a home shop just a normal cable clamp will be fine. the fancy braided wire cable grippers are for industry where the cords are being pulled and moved all the time. I assume the cord will hang free and almost never be touched? If it was pushed away every time a board was being cut then you would need a better gripper.
    Bil lD

    One like the link will cost 15-20$ I bet ebay has used ones.
    https://www.leviton.com/en/products/l7503

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    I think in a home shop just a normal cable clamp will be fine. the fancy braided wire cable grippers are for industry where the cords are being pulled and moved all the time. I assume the cord will hang free and almost never be touched? If it was pushed away every time a board was being cut then you would need a better gripper.
    Bil lD

    One like the link will cost 15-20$ I bet ebay has used ones.
    https://www.leviton.com/en/products/l7503
    No, a normal cable clamp will not be fine. It will cause cord failure just as quickly in a home shop as in an industrial setting. Check with the AHJ if in doubt.

    The correct grips are not inexpensive, but neither do they add up to a major expense when wiring a shop. They last forever and help ensure that the cord drop does as well.

  6. #6
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    Yes use a proper cable connector designed to suspend the flexible cord with a connector body to plug the machine into.

    I wouldn't bother with a receptacle at the ceiling, it's an extra expense and point of failure...........Rod.

  7. #7
    My game plan for solving this problem will be to install a 2x4 as a column next to the machine, and to then run conduit down it. It will also provide a place to secure dust collection and hang random stuff.

    My shop is being constructed (slab going in tomorrow!!) so I've yet to see this in practice, just my best idea so far.

  8. #8
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    Do it correctly from the start with proper strain relief, etc., for any overhead machine connection. Please also be careful with cord reels...go heavier and shorter as much as possible. These things can heat up when they have too much cable and the load is, um...loaded...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #9
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    I ran MC cable to a junction /outlet box, used regular amp appropriate sockets/plugs, used SOOW wire drops with bungy cords for flex.
    My DC is overhead and I secure the cable to the 4" DC drops. Don't need twist locks. Machines are easily moved as "rarely" needed. Each 220 machine has it's own circuit of course. No issues for 20 yrs. I used the MC cable to mimic the old barn the timbers i used to build the shop came from and it makes machine layout changes easy to do. Goog luck. JCB

  10. #10
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    I'd had some SO cord hanging from Prusik hitches for ages. They're easy to move exactly like you want them, too. I don't use any kind of cheaper cord than some variety of SO cord.

    https://www.animatedknots.com/prusik-knot

  11. #11
    I have overhead drops to my planer and big bandsaw. I elected to leave the table saw plugged into the wall, even though the cord crosses a main pathway. The reason was that I always pull the plug when I change the blade, and this was kind of clumsy with the overhead drop, even though the drop wire was just basically an extension cord I plugged the saw into. I decided to go back to using the wall outlet for the saw, and use that drop for the bandsaw instead. Just something to think about for a table saw.

  12. Why not just use some 1 pvc conduit and have a 1 pvc body box on the ceiling with a 1 pvc outlet box to hold your outlet? That is what I did in my shop and it works great. Or just get some 12/2 MC cable which is basically standard cable with a flex metal conduit already installed. You can get 250ft for like $140. Then you could have a drop with the MC cable mounted with an outlet box hanging from the ceiling.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby Robbinett View Post
    Why not just use some 1” pvc conduit and have a 1” pvc body box on the ceiling with a 1” pvc outlet box to hold your outlet? That is what I did in my shop and it works great. Or just get some 12/2 MC cable which is basically standard cable with a flex metal conduit already installed. You can get 250ft for like $140. Then you could have a drop with the MC cable mounted with an outlet box hanging from the ceiling.
    Hanging a PVC conduit with a receptacle on the end like that is not going to meet code. It can easily be broken, exposing things that shouldn't be exposed. MC cable would be an exceedingly poor choice for a cord drop. It will not stand up to repeated flexing and has poor tensile strength. The armor is easily separated by flexing and pulling. Why not just do it right & use SOOW cord & a strain relief?

  14. #14
    I added drop outlets to my garage shop a few years ago. I followed the "shop tips" article attached. The one change from the article that I made was to use a Kellums strain relief grip at the ceiling electrical box.

    drop outlet.pdf drop2_img.jpg
    Last edited by Michael Ray; 04-11-2020 at 6:44 AM.

  15. #15
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    My shop has ceiling outlets. These are not so difficult to relocate or add when rearranging machines. No strain relief needed. I have no 240 volt outlets so can't answer that part.

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