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[#] Tue Dec 06 2016 12:02:15 EST from the_mgt @ Uncensored

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but a dry and grumpy one...



[#] Tue Jan 10 2017 09:51:36 EST from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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With the propane project done (for now) and the new stove installed, we're ready to make some more improvements to the kitchen. First on the list is changing out the overhead lights. Currently we've got a single fixture in the middle of the room (plus a task light over the sink) and it just isn't enough, particularly in the corner of the room where we sit at the table.
I want to replace it with an array of recessed lights.

I tend to over-research these things so I'm learning a lot about recessed lights. You can buy them "IC"
(insulation contact) rated, which supposedly means that you can put the insulation directly back over them without worrying about an overheat condition, instead of leaving a gap that vents lamp heat, but also leaks the room's heat into the attic. I intend to buy sealed-beam LED trims so neither condition should be a problem for me.

There is attic space over the kitchen so I should be able to complete the installation with little trouble, even though my attic is quite unpleasant to move around in (as I mentioned last year when I did a cabling project ... it is low height and densely trussed). I haven't decided whether I want to use old-work cans, which simply snap into a hole in the ceiling, or regular cans with the braces that attach to the joists.

[#] Tue Jan 10 2017 17:16:48 EST from Ragnar Danneskjold @ Uncensored

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Stick with the old work cans. The new ones are designed to be cut around.


[#] Wed Jan 11 2017 10:13:20 EST from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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That's what I thought ... but I did see some videos where they installed new-work units by cutting a hole in the ceiling, then dropping the can through the hole (from the attic) and then extending the braces out to the joists. Seems like a perfectly workable process, which made me suspect that maybe the old-work cans were intended for installations where you don't have access to an attic overhead and don't want to tear down the ceiling.

[#] Mon Jan 23 2017 09:49:17 EST from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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All finished!  I did go with the old work cans, and boy am I glad I did.  I was able to do the majority of the work without even going into the attic.

In the above photo I installed the can by the door and then snaked the cable across from the other hole, in line with the ceiling joists.  This turned out to be the only possible way to go, because I would not have been able to reach that spot from the attic -- as I've mentioned before, it's very densely trussed and I simply wouldn't fit.  I barely squeezed into the spot above the old light (upper right in the photo) to make the final connects.

(That's actually a photo from last year's ethernet project but it's a visual of how difficult this space is to work in.)

Wiring was problematic.  The existing light was on a three-way switch pair, which had somehow been made up using 2-conductor cable.   (No, they didn't use the ground wire as a neutral; I checked that.)  I marked each conductor to keep track of which ones were hots, neutrals, and switch legs.  And there was another light downstream from this one.  I still can't figure out how they did it.  There has to be a borrowed neutral and/or a hidden traveler somewhere, which I suppose was code compliant in 1991.  I know that the 2011 NEC 404.2(C) requires a neutral in every box, whether you need it or not.

(Yes, the kitchen is a mess.  This weekend's project was installing the lights, not cleaning up the kitchen.)  I'm very happy with the results, but very sore from climbing around those attic trusses.

 



[#] Mon Jan 23 2017 10:10:04 EST from zooer @ Uncensored

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Good job and congrats on the new lighting.

(I think we have the same cabinets)



[#] Mon Jan 23 2017 11:53:21 EST from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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The emblem under the sink says that the cabinets are made by "Merillat"
Pretty ordinary contractor-grade cabinets.

[#] Tue Jan 24 2017 14:36:00 EST from the_mgt @ Uncensored

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Nicely done, we need more light in the kitchen too, but have not attic above. And I do not dare to uncover the hidden treasures this ceiling holds underneath the wood. We had a two spot LED thing, but all three we had in the house died. Will replace with a four spot LED thing. Ugly, but damn bright.

Mon Jan 23 2017 09:49:17 EST from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

Wiring was problematic.  The existing light was on a three-way switch pair, which had somehow been made up using 2-conductor cable.   (No, they didn't use the ground wire as a neutral; I checked that.)  I marked each conductor to keep track of which ones were hots, neutrals, and switch legs.  And there was another light downstream from this one.  I still can't figure out how they did it.  There has to be a borrowed neutral and/or a hidden traveler somewhere, which I suppose was code compliant in 1991.  I know that the 2011 NEC 404.2(C) requires a neutral in every box, whether you need it or not.

Sounds like this one:

Or the Carter system (Hamburger Schaltung in german): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiway_switching#Carter_system

 

 



[#] Wed Jan 25 2017 12:03:20 EST from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Carter system looks interesting! I'll bet it still has uses in low voltage applications. But as the article points out it's been forbidden by the national electric code for many decades in the US, and my house was built in 1991.

The wiring shown in that diagram you attached ... maybe something like that was done -- it would have been code compliant in 1991 when the house was built, but not after 2011. So maybe!

Things were complicated by the fact that in addition to the cables from the breaker panel and the two switches, there was another cable coming from additional downstream loads, and that cable must always be energized. I tried to trace it out, and I'm pretty good with this kind of stuff, but in the end I just put on labels and wired it back the way I found it. There's got to be more than I see there.

One of the cans is close enough to the counters that I *almost* don't need the light over the sink anymore. So at some point I think I'm going to remove that light and replace it with LED strips under the counters.

[#] Thu Jan 26 2017 02:53:27 EST from the_mgt @ Uncensored

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I have bought a wire tracker in order to do electrical archeology in this house. You can get them el cheap or insanely overprized, I bought this one here and is totally ok:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmNC02vXo0A

It can check RJ 45 cables, too, I often use it in the office of clients to check wether a LAN wall socket is usable or not.



[#] Mon Feb 20 2017 09:55:52 EST from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Can it trace electric wires?  I'm pretty good on my low voltage plant right now, but I've got a lot of abandoned electric wires, and some of them are in places where I'd like to light them back up, if I could only figure out where they go...



[#] Thu Mar 23 2017 18:00:08 EDT from the_mgt @ Uncensored

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Yep, it has these crocodile clamps. I used it for lan cables, telephone cables, tv antenna (satellite and terrestric) and ordinary 240V cables. As long as it is conductive, it works.

Helped me to detect that some retard had screwed our curtain rail into the antenna cable... still took me ours to find.

The metal tip you use as a sensor can detect through the insulation of cables, stone and wood, but gives the best result if you can touch a wire directly. Of course you need to be sure that the cable is off the grid when you check higher voltages. IIRC, it can work on small, low ampere voltages, but I would always rather make sure they are turned off.

I had trouble singling out a cable the closer I got to the fuse box, probably because of interference from live wires. Or the sheer amount of copper.

But for checking dead cables or finding the right ends for light switches, etc, it is a bliss and fully worth the 20 bucks.



[#] Sat Apr 15 2017 18:20:07 EDT from zooer @ Uncensored

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Fleeb,

I can't remember the room where you talked about how long you have been out of your condo, I spoke with my sister's friend.  After he was flooded out it was 84 days from the time the place flooded until he moved back in.  So it took about three months.



[#] Sat Apr 15 2017 18:20:37 EDT from zooer @ Uncensored

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I guess it was the lobby.



[#] Wed May 17 2017 10:05:04 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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But for checking dead cables or finding the right ends for light

I misread that as "checking for dead babies"

[#] Mon Jun 26 2017 18:39:59 EDT from zooer @ Uncensored

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Pressure washing, especially cleaning stone or concrete is very satisfying.



[#] Wed Jun 28 2017 15:03:22 EDT from Ragnar Danneskjold @ Uncensored

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I've spent the last two weekends doing nothing but.

[#] Thu Jun 29 2017 19:35:27 EDT from Ladyhawke @ Uncensored

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Getting an auto-start generator installed.

In spite of this being a contractor that specializes in such generators - and having previously conducted 2 design walk-throughs, they still brought the wrong size gas pipe, the wrong electrical shed, the wrong pad.  We finished visit #3 today and apparently still need visit #4 (to get the right sized gas pipe).  <face::palm>



[#] Mon Jul 03 2017 09:50:55 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Natural gas or propane? I always found it odd that there are so many homes with natural gas fired generators installed, when the whole purpose of having a generator is to have electricity when the utility fails ... but natural gas is another utility.

And of course, the fact that natural gas service almost never fails (at least in the Northeast) is a good argument for putting all electric service underground.

Over in the foreign nation known as California, on the other hand ... they've got a ton of seismic activity over there, so they shut the gas off on a regular basis.

[#] Thu Jul 06 2017 18:19:42 EDT from Ladyhawke @ Uncensored

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Natural gas.

You're right of course, and I considered that.  However, propane must be regularly filled....which I may not be able to do if I'm not home when said electric failure occurs.  Also, (ptu-ptu), our natural gas lines have been exceptionally stable here; the electricity that fires my sump pumps, not so much.



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