Preview: Flatwire 120 VAC - On Wall Power for Flatpanels and More
EXTREMELY prototype but also EXTREMELY cool, Flatwire 120 VAC really got us excited. Flatwire has long been making on wall wires. These wire solutions are meant to be "mudded" over and textured/painted so that you don't have to cut into a wall and you still have that "in wall" look. With the advent of flat panel displays mounted on wall, manufacturers have been scrambling to figure out how to run cables up to the display without messing up that clean look that consumers are going for. Do it yourselfers have often run power cables in the wall not knowing (or not caring) that it is against code and could pose a fire hazard.
Flatwire 120 VAC is an extremely thin on-wall power solution that provides 110/220 VAC in 14, 16 and 18 gauge equivalences. The cable is 15- or 20-amp rated, 8 mils thin (about the thickness of a business card), highly flexible (for making turns), and has a paintable/wall-paperable surface. The demo Flatwire showed had the wire run on the wall AND had a person put a nail through it... without dying. The way this works is the Flatwire 120 VAC is composed of five layers. The hot layer exists between the neutral and the ground, so when it is punctured the included electrnics sense the short and immediately shut down the wire. Sure, you've just killed your power and have to rerun your wires but it is probably cheaper than that trip to the emergency room would be. The cable is currently finishing development and is currently going through UL testing (it has already completed NEC). Expect this to be a hot product once it gets that approval (pun intended).
While we are concerned mostly about the Home Theater applications, this could also be very useful for lighting, fans, and other additions to a home. When adding lighting to an exterior wall or to a ceiling location under a duct, you may find yourself looking for Flatwire. We're excited about getting a review sample in as soon as they are available. For more information please visit www.flatwireready.com.
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I'm even more interested in the details of how it passed the 2008 NEC.