Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ceiling Lights in Nursery

One of these days things are going to go as smoothly as I expect. Today was not that day.

I cut holes in the ceiling, only to discover that the ceiling joists were no where close to where my studfinder said they would be. But I was able to work around that.

After that, I went up into the attic. And that's where things got interesting.

I had Brianna down below, flipping switches, while I checked the wire up above with a contactless voltage detector. I was certain I was at the correct wires, but they were hot, regardless of the switch position. So I gave up on that for a while and installed the ceiling boxes. That involved a lot of contorting my body into precarious positions, and pretty shortly after that, swearing. But I got the boxes installed without too much trouble.

I came back down from the attic to figure out what was going on with the wires. It turned out that while there were only two wires connected to the switch (a line and a load) they were in turn connected to a big pigtail in the back of the switch box. The cable between the switch and the switched outlet was actually a 14/3 AND there was an additional 14/2, going who knows where. The 14/3 was carrying constant line voltage to the unswitched receptacle at the switched outlet, and a switched line to the switched receptacle.

Anyway, a 14/3 going to the switched outlet was great news for me - I could easily hook up two ceiling lights to that on independent switches. So I flipped the breaker and did some wiring.

By the time I finished the wiring, I was pretty tired of the attic.

But! The ceiling lights were successful! I installed the sun lamp in the center of the room, and quickly wired up an outlet in the corner, so I could plug in a lamp and test that connection as well.

Each light is controlled individually from this switch:

Now by this point in my life I've gained a tiny smidge of wisdom, and I know Murphy's Law is always waiting for an opportunity to bite. So before I cleaned up the room, I flipped the switches a bunch of times, and checked that all the outlets were working the way I wanted.

All of the outlets on one side of the room had no power.

That 14/3 wire I was so pleased with? Turns out it was carrying power for not just the switched outlet, but also for the entire half of the room. So I had to go back up to the attic. This time I spliced into that 14/2 cable that had also been running through the switch box (but wasn't actually switched) and put power back to the outlets. By the time I finished, it was noon, the attic was an oven, and I was dripping sweat. I was not in the mood to be photographed.

After a cold shower and drinking a lot of water, I cleaned up all the mess I had made - drywall crumbs and bits of insulation and plastic stripped from wires, plus my tools. By the time I finished, the Nursery looked like this:

I actually wandered over to the checklist to mark it complete, but realized I was still missing the death star light. I really wanted to finish the lighting in this room today, so we drove to IKEA and we bought the death star light for full price (things really add up when you pay full price!)

It's positioned above the chair such that both Brianna and I can reach up to open or close it while a sleeping baby pins us to the chair.

Checklist for the room is complete. Booyah:

So, it's been a long, hot, sweaty day. But Brianna started tearing up because she thought the room was so beautiful. It was worth it.

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