Friday, March 30, 2012

This little light o' mine

Buh Bye Ceiling Fan. Your time has come to say goodbye. 

There was nothing wrong with you, you kept us cool in the summer and circulated air in the winter. But let's be honest, you weren't easy on the eyes.  You're being replaced. So sorry we had to do this to you.

We're renovating our living room anyway, and when I found an awesome deal from Lamps Plus  I couldn't help it.  If you check their open box/clearance section you can find some pretty sweet deals on high end designer light fixtures for extremely discounted prices. You'll see the light below.

So the ol' ceiling fan was removed by Joe. Here's a shot of the ceiling box with three copper wires (live, neutral, and ground).

However, the light fixtures (as with all light fixtures we've bought) use aluminum wiring, presumably for cost reasons.

Because of differences in expansion of the two metals, splicing these wires can pose a fire hazard if done incorrectly. Special wire nuts (old ones seen below) with an anti-oxidant inside to reduce corrosion. These nuts aren't cheap, but they're important to reduce the likelihood of fire.

Oh, and one of the fixtures only labeled the live, so we didn't know which wire was neutral and which was the grounding wire.

Fortunately, my multimeter can test for continuity between the wire and the light sockets. Here I'm confirming that the live wire is connected to the metal tab at the base of the socket.

One of the other wires made a circuit when I touched the metal threading of the socket, so this was the neutral wire.

The third wire didn't make a circuit with any part of the light socket, so it was the ground wire. I labeled the wires properly for future reference.

For connecting solid wire (the copper coming out of the ceiling) to stranded wire (the fixture wires), my home wiring book recommends wrapping the stranded wire around the solid wire,

then folding the solid wire over itself.

Then the nut is screwed on (notice the purple aluminum-copper nut, not the cheap orange nut included with the fixture), tugging firmly to make sure it was securely fastened. Then I wrapped the wires/nut with electrical tape and stuffed it up into the ceiling box to keep it out of the way.

Both light fixtures used one or more cables to hang from a metal disc that mounts to the ceiling box, with yards of excess electrical wiring and support cable, just in case you have a 50 foot ceiling. I could have just cut the wires to make it fit, but maybe we'll take these lights with us when we move into a cathedral in the south of France.

The support cables are threaded through an ingenious little spring-loaded mechanism that allows you to push the cables through, but you can't pull them back out unless you depress a little "nipple" to compress the spring and release the internal clamp that holds the cable. So I pulled the cables through to about the length I wanted, then mounted the fixture to the ceiling box. I then pushed the cables to fine-tune and balance.

However, there was just too much wire up there in the ceiling box, so I had to wrap a little of the support cable around the base.

Here is the new and improved fixture. So much better than the light wood ceiling fan don't you think? (Sorry ceiling fan -no hard feelings.)

We love how modern it looks and the circular shape breaks up the all the harsh lines from the fireplace and molding.

Here's one shot with the light off. The shade is a true white linen fabric and there's a plastic disc on the underside so it covers the light bulbs.

We'll have more living room pics for you as the days progress and we get closer to a finished room. We still have to:
1) Build our entertainment center
2) Find some kind of material to decorate the back.
3) Move our Expedit bookcase and fill it with goodies.
4) Bring out the big Poufs my Mom sewed for us (post on that later.)
5) Get some lamps for the entertainment center, maybe I can DIY something.
So stay tuned!

Cathleen & Joe

1 comment:

Jason said...

this is really looks amazing..Your household renovation project inspires me so much.Thanks for sharing your ideas.

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