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Extension Socket

Every plug in the house is an extension cord too.
 
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The idea is a wall socket that is actually the end of a long extension cord. The cord winds up, concealed right inside of the wall in a spring-loaded reel. So, if you need some extra cord, just pull on the plug and presto! your plug becomes an extension cord. The reel lets the cord come out, but won’t reel it back in unless you press a release switch that is exposed in the wall cavity.

The spring-loaded aspect to reel it in is about as strong as the one in a seatbelt design in a car, if not weaker. It’s not really going to do the retraction work for you, it’ll just aid in retracting it while you guide it back into the wall. Nothing that would cause a whip action or make it difficult to pull out.

When the cord is completely reeled in, it looks just like a regular wall plug. I got this idea from an old Mad Magazine, I think.

hanford, Apr 19 2003

Electrical outlet type extension cord reel with auxiliary outlet http://164.195.100....00150&RS=PN/5700150
Sort of like this? [ldischler, Jan 27 2005]

Wall mounted receptacle with retractable extension cord http://164.195.100....&Query=PN%2F5738548
Much closer... [ldischler, Jan 27 2005]

Wall mounted reel-type extension cord http://jacksretail....xtensioncords.shtml
You're half way there - now just mount it inside a wall. [Worldgineer, Jan 27 2005]

[link]






       I think I saw that in MAD, too - kinda makes it halfbaked, which means it's not an original idea, *dang*!. Is that hanford, as in foggy Hanford, CA?
thumbwax, Apr 19 2003
  

       Whoops, well I'm new here. I needed to add this becuase MAD treated it like a joke, but I think this would really be cool. And although I've never been to Hanford, yeah, it's Hanford as in Hanford, CA. That's a long story.
hanford, Apr 19 2003
  

       Just goes to show they need really long cords on lift extension sockets.
FarmerJohn, Apr 19 2003
  

       A great idea. Not every socket, just one per room.
maniacr, Apr 19 2003
  

       Mind your feet, the cat, grandma when you reel this in. Nonetheless it could be useful.
The Kat, Apr 19 2003
  

       I like this idea. Simple, useful and eminently do-able.   

       But, for sheer comedy value, the extension cords in your house should be linked to that of your neighbor. I forsee much Laurel and Hardy type hilarity ensuing when you both decide to do the hoovering at the same time, and end up in a flex tug of war.
dustmonkey, Apr 19 2003
  

       I remember having an old vacuum cleaner once that had a spring based automatic cord retraction and storage mechanism. So this would be a lot like that except it would mount inside the wall instead of the machine.   

       I like the idea. Cost, reliability and simplicity issues aside, might there be a better solution than the progressively harder to pull spring based retraction mechanism? There's quite obviously an electrical supply at hand which could run a small motor. This arrangement could allow the cord to freely pay out when in use. From a safety standpoint, the mechanism could sense excessive load during retraction and release the tension to reduce incidents of accidental retraction related Fluffy strangulations. The motorized arrangement would easily permit regulation of the retraction speed to prevent the "rope burn" and whipping effect that I remember from the old vacuum cleaner cord.
half, Apr 19 2003
  

       alternative accidental retract solution: the socket end has a ring which you twist 90 degrees, which opens a circuit in an additional pair of wires in the cord. the motor will only retract with the circuit closed.   

       all told, excellent idea.
urbanmatador, Apr 21 2003
  

       I'm not sure this would be accepted in the building industry - not as cheap, plus not actually as safe (although that's not the architects problem, but a design with added complexity such as this might suffer from damage in an uncontrolled manner if cheaply designed (and that's guaranteed - if a design can be made, it'll be made cheaper soon enough)).   

       On the other hand, it's funny - earlier today while ripping up foliage in the garden, I was minded for some reason of the old one from the tech support lists, about a 'blonde moment' where the caller couldn't figure out why the computer wasn't working, because it turned out that she'd plugged the four-way extension back into itself.
Rods Tiger, Apr 21 2003
  

       previously half baked or not, this is a stellar idea.   

       Hanford, I propose that you take it one step further, I've always found it stupid that we are forced to contend with immovable wall outlets and a few feet of cord on individual appliances or have ugly extention cords drapped all over and under things.   

       Redesign the whole mess, instead of having appliances plug into the wall outlet bits have the wall outlet bits plug into the appliance, then lock the cord at that length and blammo.
fdr, Apr 21 2003
  

       Thanks for the feedback everyone. I updated the idea with a section about the spring-loaded aspect to explain a little more about what I was thinking.
hanford, Apr 21 2003
  

       Actually, I think this idea has been baked already in my eighth grade home-ec class. Except the entire socket boxish unit thingie hung from the ceiling and was, itself, on a spring loaded cord with a mechanism similar to those generic white window shades that pull down. Or overhead projector screens for that matter. I think. I'm not really sure what I'm talking about anymore.
JohnnyCantRead, Apr 21 2003
  

       I think I'm going to bake this into whatever house I move into.
RayfordSteele, Apr 21 2003
  

       An eminently bakeable, idea - technically feasible, genuinely useful and the only question is why don't I have one?   

       Croissant!
FloridaManatee, Apr 21 2003
  

       I have needed one of these ever since I ripped the socket out of the wall (yes, the socket) by catching my foot on the vacuum cleaner cord. (Note to 'bakers around the world - UK plugs can't be pulled out by pulling on the cable, as the cable points downward as opposed to outwards.)   

       Actually, I needed it beforehand.
friendlyfire, Apr 23 2003
  

       I ripped the socket out of the wall too, a couple of years ago - gardening with a lawn trimmer (not a strimmer, ours is a 'Flymo' device, not the 'Black & Decker' which would be deserving of the brand name 'Strimmer'). I still think that the retractable idea would have suffered in an unpredictably unsafe manner if (and it's still possible - unless you can find elastic cable) the socket assembly were to get ripped out of the wall. I also think it's unsafe for another reason - cables would have a tendency to be under tension, and would be more prone to trip people up.
Rods Tiger, Apr 23 2003
  

       A problem with this idea is that if you plug your high power device into the socket and then don't pull extra flex out of the wall you'll then have a lot of power going through a coiled wire, generating a lot of heat (through inductance and back emf) in your dry, dusty, flammable wall void...
Coiled extension cords usually have a warning on them that they should be fully unwound before being used with high power devices.
hippo, Apr 23 2003
  

       [hippo] beat me to it. I have a 2kw garden extension lead that has a notice saying that if you're going to use an appliance over 1kw then you should unwind the reel completely.
I suppose you could get round this by having different breakers which are activated depending on whether the lead is fully extended or not.
Gordon Comstock, Apr 23 2003
  

       Damn! I was going to post this idea. (+)   

       **Another One Bites the Dust**   

       I as well believe this idea is sound. The product already exists to some extent, there's a brand new product in a inclosed case with a breaker in 12 /18 ft lenghts. Currently the product is being market as the arctic leash (arcticleash.com) and used for block heaters on vehicles. I purchased one for my car and recalled reading this idea for the retractable wall socket and called the company to see if it could/would work in a wall. They told me that the arctic leash was designed with just this idea in mind and they our currently waiting on UL and CSA approval for new construction. So you see this was another great idea.   

       FYI-Kenny
kenny2, Oct 22 2003
  

       One of these days we'll have to build a list of ideas on the bakery that were subsequently baked in reality. I bet there are several hundred at this point. (WTAGIPBAN)
krelnik, Oct 22 2003
  
      
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