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Monday, October 24, 2011

New Garage Lights

Last winter I decided I needed to wire a couple more lights into the garage because one half of my firewood was so dark that at night I couldn't really see what I was looking at.  This weekend I finally got around to doing it.

This is the second of the two original fixtures.  Well, you can't really call them fixtures- it's just a box and a porcelain socket- but you know what I mean.  That got opened up, and I ran a length of 14/2 (that's 14 gauge wire, with 2 conductors and a ground) indoor rated wire from the old socket to where the next box is, which is a new one about eight feet away.  The original porcelain socket had an old-fashioned connection which I actually like better than the new ones; you just shove the wire into the hole.  The black conductor from the new wire goes into a little hole right next to where the black from the old wire was connected, and the new white conductor goes in next to the old white conductor.

This is a bad picture, but the boxes really are easily nailed to the joists.

This is the new box for the third light.  The line from the old light goes in one side of the box, and the next line goes in from the other side of the box.  The holes through which the wires go are called knockouts, but in this case they don't really knock out- they open wide enough to slip the wire in from the outside, and then snap back to hold the wire in place.  Between the pinching knockouts and the staples, this fixture won't go anywhere.

Then the jacket gets cut off the wire to give yourself some room, and the ends of each of the conductors is stripped of its jacket.  The bare copper is the ground wire.  When our house was built, most of the receptacles were not grounded correctly, and although we have a new, properly grounded panel, the old fixtures in the garage were not properly grounded, so I didn't worry about it.  I just connected the grounds together and shoved them into the box out of the way.

This a picture of the new-fangled porcelain socket.  This is actually the end of the line fixture (I really had trouble taking pictures in the garage this weekend, probably because it's so much darker in there this time of year).  For the middle of the line fixture (which is what this is), I wrapped the black conductors from the incoming line and the outgoing line around the one side, and then wrapped the two white lines together on the other screw.  Once the fixture is wired in, you can shove all the wire into the box and screw the fixture to the box.

The lights below are the new garage lights.  The older ones are closer to us, and the new ones are closer to the garage door.  I can't really show you the difference they make because I truly am a terrible photographer, but take my word for it- I can see all the fire wood now.

The only problem with that is now I can really see how much the garage needs to be cleaned.


jules said...

Gosh you are so handy. I wish I was as handy as you.

Paula said...

Jules- my handiness started a long time ago when I drew up a plan for a bookcase/room divider, and I confided in a friend that half of me was sure I could do it, but half of me was afraid that I couldn't. And he asked me, "Well, which half is going to build it?" and I told him that half that could.

That was three built-in bookcases ago. The best way to become handy is to start with small projects and build your confidence.

Now between Steve and me, there is no question or issue or hurt feelings about my handiness. But I have to admit that I leave the trick wiring up to him. This one was a simple job.

KJ said...

Can I be your apprendice?? I certainly could use a dose of your handiness - I'll keep your story in mind though - there is a lot to it as in not refraining from doing things because you might be afraid of it.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

So, if it was too dark to take pictures, why didn't you just turn on the ... oh, wait.

I love that you can wire.

Paula said...

I love that I can wire too, Tamar, but I only do really simple stuff. I'm at least smart enough to know that electrical work is really, really hard (mostly because it involves a lot of math-not my strong suit).

And honestly? You can wire too, you just don't know it.

Leigh said...

LOL. Good for you for doing that yourself. Nice to be able to see your wood pile, isn't it? That's one of those things I can leave for my DH to do. We had a lot of porcelain in our house wiring as well. I saved it all and have a whole box full of knobs and tubes. I'm thinking they'll come in handy for something.

Anonymous said...

wire loops under screws are going the wrong way- they are supposed to go in the direction that the screw turns when it's being tightened so the loop gets tighter as you run the screw in.