Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Lighting Upgrade, Part 1


Big Band Jazz de México - Frenesí

We have a ceiling fan in our bedroom. We moved here from Phoenix where ceiling fans were essential to survival. It must have made an impression, otherwise I don't think we would have bothered. The fan incorporates a light fixture, but the fixture only accommodates a single 60 watt bulb which doesn't provide much in the way of light. It's enough so that you don't trip over the furniture, but any kind of detail work, like reading or fastening necklaces, forget it.

After 20 years, and seeing my daughter happily married, I decided maybe I could afford to replace this chickenshit, single bulb fixture with one that put out some real light. Ordered up a bunch of pieces from Amazon, they all got here, eventually, so today I set about putting them to work. Along with the light fixture, I also ordered some new controls. The old one was compact, and worked, but it had two knobs that had to be turned. Knobs are great for fine adjustments, but when all you want is light right now, they are kind of awkward.  So now I have a separate controls for the light and the fan, which means I need a new switch box in the wall, next to the old one.

The old switch box is about a foot from the doorway, so the best place to put the new switch box is just to the  door side of the old one. This puts it on the other side of a stud, which isn't too big of a problem, but it also puts it  opposite the light switch in the hall, so we have two switch boxes back to back, which won't fit.  The new light switch is not very big, not more than an inch or so deep, so there is room behind the opposite hall switch, but not enough room for a regular switch box. No problem, I have a hacksaw and I use it to cut the switch box down to size, twice, because after the first cut it was still and an eighth of inch proud.

Once I have the box in the wall, I need a hole to run wires to original box. Not only that, but I need longer wires. If I had a full size box, I could use a short piece of Romex and wire nuts to splice into the existing circuit, but my cut-down box has barely enough room for the switch and certainly no room for a conventional connections. So, make the pigtail longer by splicing on some more wire, which means soldering, which I can do, so I fire up  the soldering iron which has a really groady tip, so I try cleaning and tinning it, which is the proper way of dealing with soldering irons, but it does not want to tin,. The solder just rolls off the end. No matter, the iron is big enough, I trap the twisted wire splice between the iron and the solder and in a few seconds we have flowing solder.  Once the solder has cooled, I cut a two inch length of 3/4" wide electrical tape (where did that come from? It's a tiny little roll), lay the wire on it length wise and roll it up. Works surprisingly well.

Back to the hole (to run the wires through). Hadn't really thought this part through. Yes, you can run a drill at an angle, and the drill bit would be long enough, but the chuck on the drill motor will run into the wall before you break on through to the other side. I futz around for a bit and then I remember the ten inch long, 1/4" diameter drill bit I have lying in my tool box. I don't remember why I have this one extra long drill bit, gutter support problems, maybe? Who knows. In any case it comes in handy here. A quarter inch hole isn't really big enough, but with a pilot hole we can just grip the very end of the  3/8" drill bit, and that gives us enough length to break on through to the other side, and 3/8's is big enough to feed the wires through. Now all I have to do is connect up the wire with wire nuts and see if it works. I only have to go up and down the stairs 3 or 4 times to turn the power on and off to get it all sorted out.

Tomorrow I get to connect up the new light fixture before momma gets home from Ioway. Should be a piece of cake. Just hope the face plates for the switches cover the scuff marks the drill made.

P.S. Yes, I'm listening to Big Band music again. I suspect my mind is going through some natural aging process that causes me to change my preferences. Might be making me more conservative. Hmmph.

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