Attaching electrical wiring to a sliding window
January 24, 2023 6:46 PM   Subscribe

I have something attached to my sliding glass window that uses DC power from a wall transformer. I'd like to install the wiring in a way that is unobtrusive and preferably provides power continuously no matter what position the window is in. I'm not seeing a lot of solutions out there but I may not know the magic keywords. I can sort of do it myself, but I'm looking for something polished. Ideas? Keywords?
posted by Tell Me No Lies to Technology (9 answers total)
How about a coiled power cable?
posted by yqxnflld at 6:56 PM on January 24

A USB C retracting spool is already designed to carry quite a bit of power.
posted by tronec at 7:08 PM on January 24

Also a coiled USB C.
posted by tronec at 7:15 PM on January 24

Supply your low voltage power to a track lighting track parallel to the header of the sliding window.
Mount a track light base on the sliding window so it will move lengthwise down the track as the window is moved.
J-style or H-Style should work fine. You will need to trim down the base to slide freely along inside the track as they are designed to twist and lock in place rather than sliding freely.
posted by tronec at 7:29 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]

I'd probably look at a small cable chain, but that's not necessarily as pretty as you want.
posted by Alterscape at 8:39 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]

Look at the transformer or the connection point on the object on the window to see the voltage/amps/watts used by the item. I'm guessing it's a fairly small / low power thing since it's attached to a window.

If it's say, 9 volts, or 5 volts, maybe you can hack together a small battery pack that you can mount on the backside of the item or on the frame of the window.

If the transformer connects to the item with a plug/jack, you will likely be able to find an identical one at a thrift store that has electronics, or maybe you can order one from DigiKey (get some cheap calipers to get the exact dimensions of your plug).

Figure out which way the current should flow -- there might be a diagram or notation on the transformer cord showing this. Otherwise, ask or research a little more to figure out how to figure it out.

I think you can see where this is going and get the rest of the way there :)
posted by amtho at 10:02 PM on January 24

Use double-sided tape to stick two metal strips on the frame of the sliding part of the window, vertically, one each side, and connect them to the widget to be powered. Even if that frame is metal too, if it's painted or powdercoated that, plus the tape, will be sufficient isolation for a low-voltage setup like this.

Then you need to create a contact wiper for each of the strips, sitting in the upper corners of the fixed frame. The first thing I'm thinking of there is a current pickup for a scale model train, like this one. Connect these to the power supply.
posted by Stoneshop at 2:46 AM on January 25

Seconding cable chain. Or some sort of suspended rod above the window from which a coiled wire is hung and free to slide shower curtain-style as the window slides.

Hacking together a fixed track and a contact wiper feels like it would be time consuming to get the alignment/tolerances right and easily broken once you did.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:15 AM on January 25

My vehicle, a Hyundai Santa Cruz, has a sliding rear window that is powered for fog removal. The power cord is not coiled or hidden, it's just placed in such a way that it unobtrusively follows the side of the window as it moves. It's difficult to find images of it online, but you can at least get a general idea by looking at the interior 360° view here:

The cord is attached at the lower left, and is usually hidden behind the rounded plastic shape, but becomes visible when you open the window. If you think this might be your solution, don't hesitate to contact me directly and I'll take some photos and video of it in action for you.
posted by dbx at 6:52 AM on January 25

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