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Things to Think About #1: Sockets

Sometimes, you’re working in an old venue. Real old. Rooms that have seen hundreds if not thousands of meetings, speeches, dances, rallies, fund raisers, etc. Old things can be well worn. Worn in ways that aren’t obvious.

For instance, there was a chain hotel in Bethesda that we used to use a lot that was old but seemed to be aging well. It looked like the ballroom had been renovated at some point. Newish carpeting, reasonably fresh wallpaper and paint. High tech climate control that kept things too cold digitally. The works. However, the electrical outlet must have been overlooked.

We didn’t need a high-voltage power drop. We only had a our laptops, a switch and a couple projectors so we just plugged into the regular wall sockets. Or at least we thought we did.

This socket had been plugged into thousand of times over the years and there just wasn’t enough friction in there to ensure that what was plugged in would remain plugged in. The weight of the cable pulled the plug half way out of the wall as soon as I let go of it. It wouldn’t stick.

This, of course, could be very bad for our stuff.

We ended up securely taping the cord to the wall just below outlet. No biggie.

Always, always have a roll of gaffer’s tape with you when you’re working.

2 comments to Things to Think About #1: Sockets

  • Lee:

    Your post reminded me of another problem waiting to happen with the plugs that match those old sockets. Some photographers still use “male household synch cords” – lamp cords with male plugs at both ends to carry synchonization signals between their electronic flash units. One male plug eventually will mistakenly get plugged into a wall outlet. ZAP!!! (Others use female to female synch cords).

    See:
    http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/09/add-synch-connection-to-any-hot-shoe.html

    Richard

  • Hi Richard,

    ZAP!!! is right. When I was in high school I worked as an assistant wedding photographer and I spend many a Saturday following the actual photographer around holding the slaved flash and I remember those cord well. I can easily see how what you described could happen.

    Thanks for stopping by and for the comment.

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