I will be renovating my apartment (not by myself) and one of the issues I constantly face are power sockets: the place where I intended them to be ends up being the worst one (the majority hidden behind furniture and a socket desert where I actually need to plug something).

There are (or used to be) vampire taps for 10BASE5 cables which allowed a connection to be made on a cable without cutting it.

Are there such solutions for electrical sockets? I am sure that pure vampire sockets do not exist (the kind where one would actually cut into the cable) but maybe similar solutions for removable/movable sockets do?

  • 1
    YES, Every time i plug something into my electrical sockets it sucks the life blood out of my bank account. – Alaska Man Apr 9 at 17:21

An example of a relocatable busbar power system for domestic use is Mainline


Most lighting track systems are for use overhead and aren't touch safe.

  • Fantastic, this is exactly the kind of solution i was thinking about. Thank you. It will probably cost a leg, and arm and half an ear but at least I will get a quote. By miracle it also seems to exist in France. – WoJ Apr 9 at 11:50
  • The name for this sort of thing in the USA is "track busway", by the way – ThreePhaseEel Apr 9 at 23:29

Vampire taps are right out, but this is easier than you're making it.

If you are able to fish, you simply replace a bit of cable with more cable. E.G for A-X-B, you reroute the "B" end of the A-B cable to X, and add a X-B cable. When pulling the "B" end out, you can often use that to pull the new X-B cable in.

If you are not able to fish, then you come off the existing outlet with surface conduit.

However, maybe you should borrow a page from NEC. Because appliance cords are 1.8m, it requires sockets within 1.8m of any point on the wall (e.g. every 3.6m in a straightaway). That means you can put an appliance anywhere along a wall without using an extension cord. So just reach behind the furniture once to plug in and you're done.

Now, I gather this is for cell phone chargers and other things you aim to plug in frequently. In that case use the surface conduit to also come up to a useful height. The future homeowner can remove the surface conduit easily enough if they do not like it.

Lastly, at the time you are wiring the home, you are welcome to install as many sockets as you please, to greatly increase your chance of sockets not being buried behind furniture. For instance US NEC doesn't require 3.6m spacing, you can have 1.0m spacing if that floats your boat. Your local authority may have a restriction on the total number of outlets per circuit, however given this is ordinary living space and you have a reasonable reason, they may make an exception.

In the future when building or renovating, try specifying more than the legally minimum number of receptacles. Contractors often do you bare minimums in order to make their bid more competitive. But the incremental cost of adding 1 more outlet is very low at build time. The material cost in the US is maybe $2.50 (€2). If one hit a receptacle limit that called for another circuit, that is perhaps $25. So build/remodel time is the time to spec this!

By the way, vampire taps are right out because all splices have to be inside a junction box. Nobody makes junction boxes that wrap around in-place cable. Also remember you will need to go through permitting and inspection, especially in a multi-unit building.

  • Also, if you're not opposed to surface wiring, multioutlet assemblies are a decent option... – ThreePhaseEel Apr 9 at 23:29

As there are usually 3 conductors to be connected to and the orientation cannot be guaranteed on a round cable, then no.

But there are power or lighting rails (track lighting) that allow sockets or lights to be moved to convenient positions along the rail.

An extension lead may be your simplest solution...

Or do what I did which was to use extension leads for several weeks while the better half moved stuff around. Then, once stable, I permanently fitted into the walls the appropriate sockets on a new ring main - improving the installation.

  • Yes, as I mentioned I was not really expecting pure vampire taps to be available - but maybe some kind of construction which allows to fit a socket (or sockets block) every 50 cm or so (wide hand waving speculations). In the meantime I use the same solution as yours, expect that the extensions tend to stay forever. – WoJ Apr 9 at 6:59
  • See edit re track lighting... – Solar Mike Apr 9 at 7:04

What about quick splice wire taps? Just wire a normal socket up to the existing line.

Here is a picture of a 18 to 14 AWG 400v Dry environment wire tap also known as a run tap

quick splice wire tap

This is what the large ones look like, I think this is a wet environment one for 0.500 inch diameter 1/0 AWG wires.

giant wire tap

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    Those are for low voltage power e.g. in an automobile. The are not rated or listed for mains power, and this is not an approved wiring method. – Harper Apr 9 at 23:43
  • That picture is of a 18 to 14 AWG 400v Dry environment wire tap. I have seen these sized up to 1/0 AWG. There are also wet environment ones that are weather sealed. Also, the OP does not state their countries electrical code requirement since they are not in the US. – Netduke Apr 12 at 18:54
  • The lower one is fundamentally different in design and nature than the upper one. Can you link the data sheet for the 18-14 one? – Harper Apr 12 at 19:35
  • May not be the exact model as the one in the picture but basically the same thing multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/529754O/… – Netduke Apr 12 at 19:50

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