Adding AC power to tables in the classroom

Looking for opinions. I taught my first class last week and thought it would’ve been a better class if there had been 1 pull-down extension cord for each table. I had a test circuit for each student and found the present extension cord arrangement a bit awkward.

Does anyone know how many AC outlets are in the ceiling? Perhaps it would be a simple matter to add more pull down cords?

What do you think?


Thank you for teaching that class, I was going to register for it, but had a conflict because of a prior obligation as a volunteer at another non-profit organization.

We do have a number of things that are awkward in the classroom. We have tried to have workarounds as we are able.

There is a box of power strips on the shelf under the workbench/table/desk in the classroom. There have been classes where 18 (at least) soldering irons were plugged in simultaneously, (but blew the breaker if all turned on). Usually the desks need to be arranged specifically to accommodate the power cord difficulties.

There are probably twice as many outlets in the ceiling as we are using, but the pull down cords are not inexpensive. My superficial search just now did not find any suitable ones for less than about $35 each. Power strips are much more cost effective.

I appreciate you teaching the class and look forward to taking it when you offer it again.


Yes you’re right about the retractable cords being pricey. I’m seeing $60+ prices for good brands on those also. Here are 2 from Menards that are cheap brands:
Retractable Cord Reel - Single-Tap
Model Number: FL-700 Menards® SKU: 3704439 - $17.99

Bayco 30’ 16/3 Triple-Tap Metal Cord Reel
Model Number: FL-800 Menards® SKU: 3704215 - $29.97

We have 3 good cords in the classroom now with Triple-Taps. The 4th cord is not retractable and is only accessible my a long cord.

How easy would it be to rearrange the existing cords in the ceiling. If we could arrange them down the middle each could serve 2 tables. With just one more Multi-tap cord we could have 8 tables powered.

How feasible is this idea?

We do have 1 or 2 more of those retractable cords that are not currently attached to the ceiling. I think one was removed when the room layout was changed and one got taken down because a nut fell off.

Well this is good. Please help us find one of those and I’ll ask the board for permission to rearrange the cords in the ceiling. This would be good for my classes. I would be asking that 4 cords be placed in a line down the middle of the room instead of the far-side/near-side arrangement we have now.

Do you think everyone would be ok with the cords down the middle?

There really is no easy way to rearrange these to be down the center of the ceiling. The part of the cord that plugs into the outlets are only about 1 foot long. Moving the outlets would involve running more conduit and rewiring the lights.

Rearranging the tables to be under where the cords are, as needed for any particular class, and adding back the one removed retractable cord we already have is what I would recommend.


I have a better understanding now. This Saturday I’ll be in the classroom about 10am if any would like to join me in taking a closer look at the ceiling. I would like to get those 1 or 2 other cords and see where we could put them.

Thanks for responding to the topic.

I replaced one of the cords that had been taken down. I’m not sure where the other one is, but I think it was removed because it was too close to the door.