"External" garage door opener light.

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Old 12-14-09, 01:00 PM
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"External" garage door opener light.

Even though my GDO is a higher-end unit, the light it puts off is terrible. It holds two bulbs, but the design of the housing really restricts the lighting.

I want to ceiling mount a two or four bulb, four foot flourescent fixture next to the GDO that will effectively replace the lighting functions in the GDO. In other words, the flourescent lights will come on when the door is opened by the GDO, turn off four minutes later, turn on from the GDO wall-mounted switch, etc.

My plan is to use an outlet adapter in one of the light bulb sockets. Plug into that then go thru the ceiling into the attic and over to the new fixture. The problem is that the adapters don't include the ground (because there isn't one at the socket). So can I simply use two conductor zip cord with a plug on one end to go from the outlet adapter to the new light fixture (where it will be hardwired) and run a separate ground wire in parallel from either a screw in the GDO frame or from the box that the GDO plugs in to?

Thanks,
Ira
 
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Old 12-14-09, 01:10 PM
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Technically, no. Will it work, yes.
 
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Old 12-14-09, 01:29 PM
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By "technically no", do you mean it won't meet NEC code? Is there a better, correct way to do this (without buying a new GDO)?

Would it be better, technically or otherwise, if I cracked open the GDO and tapped into the same spot that the GDO lights come off of and disconnected the GDO lights?

I haven't opened it up, so I don't know how easy that would be to do.

Sure would help if the the GDO had a relay that I could use. I guess I could get creative and power a N/O relay off of the GDO socket, with a separate power source for the new light that goes thru the relay contacts. That would eliminate the ground wire issue.

Thanks,
Ira
 
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Old 12-14-09, 02:55 PM
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Doing what you suggest will not meet code. I have never seen any GDO that give a good amount of light. It is more of a supplemental light so you don't kill yourself getting out of the car. My suggestion for you is install a motion switch to turn the garage lights when someone or something (like a car) enters the garage. A screw in adapter might be a good option. http://cache1.smarthome.com/images/2512.jpg (google "screw in motion sensor")
 
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Old 12-14-09, 03:23 PM
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I'm not trying to be argumentative (and I don't know enough about the code to be, even if I wanted to), but in layman's terms, what part of it is against the code? You can buy a light socket adapter at any hardware store, so it doesn't seem like using one of them would be against code. Is hardwiring the other end (to the light fixture or a relay) of the cord plugged into the adapter the problem? Is it because it's inside the GDO? Is it due to the high voltage? If that's the case, I could plug a wall wart into the socket adapter to cut it down to low voltage DC to control the coil in a separately located, self-contained relay device (e.g., the "relay-in-a-box"), as long as the wall wart doesn't vibrate out of the socket.

Just trying to understand.

Using a light controlled by a motion detector has a few usability issues...does it turn off automatically after a certain time? If so, what if I don't want it to turn off automatically in some scenarios? What if I want to turn it off before the time expires? In other words, I don't think it can provide the functionality that we've become used to from the GDO lights.

Thanks,
Ira
 
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Old 12-14-09, 03:50 PM
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You may not get a long lifetime for your tubes in this kind of a cycling on and off application.
Also, you need tubes that start in cold weather.
 
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Old 12-14-09, 03:53 PM
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The problem is you may not use cords as an extension of permanent wiring. They are for temporary use only. Cords are also not allowed to be run inside walls or attics except for temporary use.

Also, as you already pointed out, the socket adapter does not carry a ground so you fixture to use will be ungrounded. Which might not be a big deal if you use a porcelain/plastic lamp holder but we are still back to the cord thing above.

Motion lights/switches/sensors can be set to turn off after a period of time elapses of no motion. Some will also stay on with a quick flip of the switch. All will stay on as long as there is motion so if your in the room working, the light will stay on. You want to be in the dark? Turn off the switch. The only issue I can see is some motion sensors do not play nice with CFL's
 
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Old 12-14-09, 03:58 PM
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There are several issues and only you can decide if they are important enough to worry about.

First and foremost is that the GDO was submitted to a NRTL (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory) such as UL for safety testing. They only test in the configurations requested by the manufacturer and that means only with the standard incandescent light bulbs. The end user (you) installing anything (screwing in an adapter is considered installing) other than the specified light bulb is making a change from the tested device and therefore the NRTL listing is then void. Many local jurisdictions prohibit the use of non-listed devices. It doesn't matter if the hazard is minimal, even to the point of almost non existence it is STILL a violation of the listing and therefore of the National Electrical Code and most likely the local code.

Second, the use of various kinds of non-compliant wiring methods and materials. You cannot use lamp cord as a substitute for fixed wiring and you cannot use type NM cable with a plug/receptacle connection.

Third, well, I'm sure there is at least one more item that I'm missing but I can't think of one.

You have to access the risks of what you are proposing and make the decision as to whether or not the possibility of some fault may start a fire or even worse injure or kill someone. The actual possibility of either happening may be extremely low but if either did happen you could find yourself out on a limb 60 feet in the air with a puma between you and the tree trunk. Your decision.
 
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Old 12-14-09, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by hesaidshesaid View Post
You may not get a long lifetime for your tubes in this kind of a cycling on and off application.
Also, you need tubes that start in cold weather.
Hadn't thought about the cycling issue. The garage door is opened/closed maybe five times a day on average.

Cold weather isn't a problem. I'm in SE Texas, and I've never had an issue with the existing flourescent lights in the garage or my shop.

Thanks for the explanations.

Furd...I understand what you are saying regarding untested uses, but it seems like if that is a really serious consideration, socket adapters would void most every UL (or other testing agency) -approved device socket they are screwed into because there are an almost infinite number of possible items that could be plugged into them.

Even though I was half-kidding, it seems that if I want to go down this route, the best/safest solution would be to use a wall wart to get everything outside the GDO and fixture down to low voltage DC and run conduit between the relay and the fixture.

Thanks,
Ira
 
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Old 12-15-09, 09:22 AM
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try CFL's

I use a fairly high wattage CFL in my GDO. I think around 25 watts. It puts out real light with less heat than even a lowly 40watt tunsten lamp. Two of those should work for you. I've had it in for over a year now, with normal, daily GDO cycling.

Another option would be more "science fair". Pipe in a light sensor, close to the existing GDO lamp. Run that into an enclosed UL listed relay in a UL box. Output that into your proposed 4' tube lamps. Although the entire assembly is not "UL tested", you have done a reasonably safe design.
 
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Old 12-15-09, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by telecom guy View Post
Another option would be more "science fair". Pipe in a light sensor, close to the existing GDO lamp. Run that into an enclosed UL listed relay in a UL box. Output that into your proposed 4' tube lamps. Although the entire assembly is not "UL tested", you have done a reasonably safe design.
What you are suggesting would be fine because you are using UL listed components as their intended purpose and using approved wiring methods.
 
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Old 12-16-09, 07:18 PM
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What I did for more light from my GDO was to install (4) 9W
CFL's in the (4) corners of my garage to supplement the (2)
40W incandescent bulbs in the GDO...along with a toggle over-ride at the entrance door. I used one of those socket/receptacle adaptors to plug in a pigtail to a Delay-on relay then to the CFL's. The adjustable delay-on relay wires in series with the hot wire and delays the CFL's from turning on for about (8) sec. This solves the situation when the kids occassionally run under the closing door which causes the GDO to reverse and its light to flash on & off for (6) sec. or so, which would otherwise cause the CFL's to flash as well, greatly shortening their life. Using multiple small-wattage fixtures I can place them just where I need them.
 
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