In my closet there is an access panel which formerly was used to access the attic. There is a new access hole in the hallway with steps.

The old access is covered up from the top with the attic floor. The hole is 16 by 18 inches with a wood paneling door that rests on the trim to keep it shut; tto open just remove one piece of trim and slide the door.

I recently put pieces of wood up there to make a shelf. I am planning to place an old laptop up there for a server but I somehow I need to get power up there. I know it is definitely against code to put an outlet in the panel so what are my other options? There is no outlet in the closet or in the attic so I'm stuck. I was thinking of running a D.C. cable through the wall to an old laptop power adapter somewhere in the room. Does that seem safe? Any suggestions or code violations are welcome.

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    My only comment is that you've found a hot, dusty and hard-to-access place to put delicate electronics. Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 13:13
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    Depending on the purpose of the server (such as a DVR server for security cameras) a non-obvious and hard to access place might be a good thing - but this does not sound like one that would be my first choice for that.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 1:34
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    "There is a new access hole in the hallway with steps." IIRC, code (for new construction, which may or may not apply to you) requires a light switch, reachable from those steps before you enter the attic. So, while you run a new lighting circuit, install an outlet. ;)
    – Mazura
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 10:09

1 Answer 1


Besides having chosen possibly the most hostile environment to run a laptop, you have an advantage in using a laptop...it probably has a wall wart transformer and some lower voltage lead that actually goes to the laptop. Since this is low voltage wiring it is much easier to run and not (usually) restricted by code.

So, the right thing to do, if you insist on the location, is to plug the transformer into some outlet relatively nearby and run the low voltage wiring from there to the laptop. This may require splicing in additional length, or even getting a replacement connector to terminate on.

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    One potential problem: be wary of excessive voltage drop over extended runs of LV line that can cause your laptop not to charge properly.
    – paas_shill
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 21:26
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    Oh, right. If you need a longer run than the original cord is good for (likely), you probably want to use some wire with lower voltage drop (i.e. heavier wire) than the original cord, and replace as much of the original (lighter) wire. After all, when it was really a laptop, you'd care how heavy that wire was, but in this installation, heavier is actually better.
    – MAP
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 23:52

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