Saturday, November 08, 2003

Project complete.

This morning, I decided to get the lighting (as referenced in my 11/3 post) project done. First off, I tested circuits until I found the one that serviced the light/power for the old fluorescent series. Found it after testing half the darned house.

Then, after labeling it in the circuit breaker box for future reference (it controlled the whole bathroom, as well), I went and pulled the wire nuts from the old junction, exposing the wire ends. Did I mention I re-tested first to make sure the power was out? I really hate getting 110v zaps. After undoing the cable that led to the old lights, I re-threaded the nuts, and re-energized the circuit to make sure everything still worked. It did.

Then, David and I headed to Home Depot across town. I picked up four GE Profile under-the-counter lighting units with electronic ballasts, and they came with both outlet and direct wires included. I also had to get an adapter for the first in the series to hard-wire it down. The lights could be wired in series using the built-in direct wires.

They were pricey but good, and David fell asleep on the way home.

After I got home, I finished dismantling the old lights which I'd disconnected earlier. Instead of unthreading all the old cable, I just diked it out at the appropriate spots under the cupboards and pulled. I went and got some Romex from the basement - I keep a spool for just these sort of projects. I guesstimated a piece for the closet-adapter point connection and stripped the ends to fit. The next step was to head down cellar again, re-trip the breaker, and re-test that it was out.

Sure enough, it was out again. Duh... Anyhow, I threaded the cable through the wall and fastened it down to the adapter, using the supplied wire nuts and trimming only a little. GE included a strain relief nut, which was a little tough to fasten correctly but eventually went in. Then I hooked it up to the socket end, and re-powered up the breaker. I tested for current, and finding it I went back to work.

The new lights went in in sequence, starting from the cupboard I hooked up the adapter to and finishing up under the sink. At least they did after I ran down to the nearby hardware store for some screws and nuts of appropriate length - the old ones were too thick to thread the new lights onto. I tested each one after installation before installing the next one.

After I was done, I only needed one cable fastening tack to take up excess slack in the cable from the adapter to the first light. That was the toughest part, because I had to drill a pilot hole for the tack first. And David was trying to cling to my leg while I did it. While I was at it, I tacked down the Romex in the closet, thus improving the safety from what was there before. It won't break loose anytime soon.

One other nice aspect to the new light system - each light fixture can be powered up individually. The old one was an all-or nothing sequence - the switch was over the sink, and could only power the whole smash. Now we just have to light the individual work area we need, which is easier.

All together, between the new work lights and my souping up the fan lighing, our kitchen has gotten a lot brighter. If I'd done this when we had our house for sale, it might be sold today. Which means I'm kinda glad I waited. Now I'm planning to figure out how to better cover the open fixture in the closet that this draws its power from. I'll probably tackle that one in a week or two.

In the mail this week - a "trying to locate you" card from the folks planning my high school 20th reunion. Fine and dandy, but that means I've been out of high school for almost 20 years. Geez. At least I still have hair, grey though it is...

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