Drop Receptacle

Now that we've got the lengthening of the cord figured out, what about hanging them? After reading the discussion and looking at my breaker box setup, I decided not to change my tools over to 220 till I can expand my box sometime. What I am going to do is run another 110 volt 30 amp line (using 10 Ga. wire) to my shop and add 3 or 4 outlets in the ceiling for my jointer, Table saw, and whatever. Anyone have outlets in the ceiling? Problems with them coming unplugged? Do I really need twist lock 110 plugs? Any comments would be appreciated.

-Gus Roessler


  • If you go with the ceiling mounted duplex outlets purchase quality receptacles. The contacts are heavier duty and will hold the plug in much more firmly and make a better connection. I have outlets on my ceiling, which are very convenient with a couple that hangs down over my workbench. The cords are secured with a special strain relieve at the box where they are wired in.

-Dave T.


  • A metal box attached to the ceiling truss, with a metal faceplate connected to SO 10, 12, or 14-gauge wire with a "Chinese finger" will prevent anyone from pulling the cord from the box. A 4-square metal box with 2 plugs installed also gives the flexibility of additional machines. I use this over my workbench to plug drills, routers, sanders etc. Hope this helps.

-L. Barber


  • Because my ceiling is 10 feet high, I don't have outlets right at the ceiling but rather they are suspended down a few feet. What I have at the ceiling is a junction box with a cover. There is a hole through the cover with a heavy-duty flexible cord going through it and hanging down with an outlet at the end. There is reinforcement and support for this cord at the junction box with the use of a wire mesh device which wraps around the cord, i.e., similar to the rubber reinforcement found where a power cord enters a tool, only wire mesh instead of rubber. It's made especially for that but the name escapes me. With good quality connectors, I have never had any problems with them coming apart. The electrical inspector passed it but he mentioned that if these got heavy-duty use, a twist lock would better.

-Bob Sabourin


  • I setup the power in my shop with 3 duplex outlets, 6 feet apart in the ceiling. In one receptacle of each of the outlets, I added a coiled extension cord. When coiled, the cords are about 15 inches long and expand to 3 feet. The cords came with a clip near the plug end to anchor the cord to the outlet. I added a second clip on the other end to hang the tail end of the cord close to the ceiling when not in use. These cords do not have a twist lock feature but I have had no problems with tool or extension cords unplugging. I got the coiled cords for about $10 each at Menards and have also seen them at Home Depot. I also put longer cords, about 12', on all of my (stationary) tools to better utilize the ceiling outlets. The biggest advantage has been no tripping on cords and no accidental disconnects when moving material to the tools. The idea has worked so well that when I added air to the shop, I routed the lines across the ceiling and used 3 coiled hoses (25') each fitted with a quick disconnect and a blow gun for clean up. Hope this helps.

-Greg Pettis


  • I have four sets of double outlets hanging from my shop ceiling. The main runs are across the ceiling in 3/4-inch EMF conduit, and the outlets drop about 2 feet down from boxes mounted to the ceiling. I used 1/2-inch flex conduit from the ceiling down to the outlet boxes, which are about two inches higher than I am tall (no head knocking surprises that way). The faces of the outlets are vertical, so the plugs go in from the side, not up into them. I don't recall ever having a plug come out while I was working. For my 220 volt table saw I've used the same scheme, but did use a 3-prong twist-lock plug for it. No particular reason, other than I already had a mating plug/socket set on hand. Hope this helps.

-Jim DeLaney