How do I plug multiple light sockets to a single plug?

Reply

  #1  
Old 06-26-12, 07:37 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3
How do I plug multiple light sockets to a single plug?

(if I am posting this in the wrong forum, I apologize)

Hi, I am trying to build a softbox lighting kit for photography and videography. If you don't know what is a softbox, it's basically a light source to light your subject more evenly.

Anyway...

I was planning on using this lighting system: Alex Campagna: DIY Spiderlight Strobe!

Using these sockets:
Leviton | Rubber Pigtail Socket | Home Depot Canada

I also want to add a dimmer to the whole thing. I was thinking of using this dimmer:
1X 110V DIMMER ADJUSTABLE BRIGHTNESS CONTROLLER SWITCH | eBay

If it helps, I will be using these light bulbs:
26W/5000K Spiral - 100W Incandescent Equivalent, Commercial Grade (1800 Lumens). 26 Watt, 120 Volt Bright White CFL Bulb. | Bulbs.com

I do not know which plug I will use yet, if you could guide on which gauge I should buy, that would be fantastic.

How would I connect all of the wiring together to prevent blowing my self or the whole street up?

City: Montreal
Country: Canada
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 06-26-12, 08:52 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: KS
Posts: 1,896
Ok first of all, those bulbs are NOT dimmable. If you are going to use CFL, they must be specifically labeled "DIMMABLE", otherwise you'll destroy them. Be warned, they are not cheap. Dimmable Search Results | Bulbs.com

Second, those bulb sockets are technically designed to create a string of worklights using Scotchlok connectors.. Now in the spiderlight plans, that guy had a decent idea in using the box fastened to the back of the block, but you just need to make sure you grommet each hole so the wire does not chafe and short out.

But other than that, you'd connect it exactly as he has.. All fixture blacks together, all fixture whites together, then white from the cord to the bundle of fixture white, line cord black to one leg of the switch, and the other leg of the switch to the bundle of fixture black.

You'll also want to very carefully consider your choice of bulbs here. In CFL speak, "bright white" is the same as cool white in a tube. It throws off the same very harsh blue tinged light you find in any office or warehouse that uses tubes. You'd want warm white or 'daylight' to illuminate your subjects.
 
  #3  
Old 06-27-12, 03:46 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
I agree with Matt. Only one deviation I would make would be to use the dimmable bulbs, and instead of having the toggle to eliminate two of the bulbs, dim the entire pack at once. Wiring the switch on the cord is pretty straight forward. Depending on whether you choose to dim the bulbs or not, or even switch two of them, we will need to know this as the wiring inside the jbox will be different. If you only want the ON OFF provided by the cord switch, then just wire all the blacks to the incoming black and whites to the incoming white, ground the box with the grounding wire. Grommet the entrance for all wires and cables. Use a cable strain relief for the power in cable. NOTE: This is not underwriter laboratory approved and all liability will rest with you. Our advice is mainly to get you going. How it is used is your baby. Do it with care, and if you have doubts, consult an electrician.
 
  #4  
Old 06-27-12, 07:30 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,254
Matt and Larry provided a lot of good information, I'll add a few additional comments...

As for the cable, I'd get a get a cord with a prewired plug end on it. It will be marked 16/3, which will be perfect. (you could use 14/3, but you don't need to spend the extra money).

I would also suggest considering using standard incandescent bulbs. They are easily dimmable, and at least IMO, florescents are horrible lights to photograph with. They are very green-heavy and don't provide a consistent light. But that side is up to you.

If you include anything metal in the construction (a metal box or alumimum foil), be sure to attach the green wire from the plug (ground) to the metal. This will provide a level of safety if a wire loosens and touches the metal.

For extra safety, you could include a GFI as well. This will quickly shut off power if there's a fault (the same device is used in your bathroom to help prevent people from being electrocuted by their hair dryer in the bathtub)
GFI Plug

Good luck!
 
  #5  
Old 06-27-12, 09:02 AM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Welcome to the forums!

Hi, I am trying to build a softbox lighting kit for photography and videography...

I was planning on using this lighting system: Alex Campagna: DIY Spiderlight Strobe!
This looks like an interesting project, as well as a way to save a fair amount of money!

Building on the advice already posted by Matt, Chandler and Zorfdt, it looks like, in the photos in your example, that the electrical box is attached tightly to the back of the wood block and that the wires from four of the lampholders are fed in through holes that the builder drilled through the box. If so, that modification of the electrical box invalidates UL its rating and is a violation of standard electrical code, as well as good practice.

One example of good practice is to grommet each hole hole that wires enter through, as Matt suggested. Mounting the box tightly against the wood makes that difficult and, if the wires enter through the back of the box, pinches them. That's not safe.

Here are some additional suggestions that I believe would make your light both safer and easier to use:
  • Use a 4" square box or a 4-11/16" square box instead of the 2-gang device box;
  • Mark the back of the wood where the 1/4" mounting holes in the box line up, and embed a 1/4" nut in the wood at three of those locations;
  • Use 1/4" machine screws that are 2-1/2" or 3" long, plus two more 1/4" nuts on each screw, to secure the box 1-1/2" to 2" off the back of the wood;
  • Feed the wires from each lampholder through one of the knockouts that are made into the box, with a grommet for each, OR wrap cloth electrical tape around each set of wires and secure it with a standard cable clamp (the strain relief that Larry mentioned for the power cord);
  • If you use a deep single-gang device cover on your box, you should have room to mount the dimmer in that cover, and eliminate the need for a switch on the cord.
The others have already talked about how the wires are connected, the need to ground the box, using dimmable bulbs and other points. So, enjoy!
 
  #6  
Old 06-27-12, 09:17 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,587
I would think the same thing could be accomplished with standard keyless sockets mounted to standard metal 1900 boxes. You could use close nipples between the boxes to feed the wiring through.
 
  #7  
Old 06-27-12, 10:04 AM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: KS
Posts: 1,896
In all fairness, pretty much ANYTHING that one builds/prototypes themselves, while it may be perfectly safe - violates UL and NEC. The original author of the DIY may have used grommets but failed to mention them - we can't see though. Having those lampholders mounted and glued to the wood block violates their listing as well (they are designed to be free-hanging), so I see no point in nitpicking the holes drilled in the box or having it mounted on standoffs and going through the trouble of wrapping the leads in friction tape.

The only "code approved" method would be to have five octagon boxes with five ceramic lampholders connected via AC or conduit nipples on the front, and a 4x4 box on the back with a nipple through the center knockout to the center octagon box. There's nothing wrong with the original design from a safety standpoint as long as the holes are grommeted.

And the 2-gang handy box IS 4x4. It just has the screws placed for device mounting rather than in the corners.

OP, I just went through the DIY again, and I didn't realize that the toggle switch was for dimming by turning off two of the lamps, I thought it was to turn the whole thing on/off. If the cost of the dimmables is too much for you, then by all means I'll show you how to do it that way.

Zorfdt, The OP is looking at putting this in a (probably cheap or homemade) softbox.. 500W of incandescent is a LOT of heat and would probably melt it. It would start to do a number on the pressboard base as well. I think the blue is a much bigger issue than green IME, which is why he should go with warm white. The consistency (mid-flicker) problem really only happens at high shutter speeds. CFLs are electronic so they don't flicker at 120Hz like tubes do, they run at upwards of 25kHz. A lot of pro hot lights are CFL nowadays too (ie: the Spiderlite that this is based on). Besides, any color deficiency can be corrected with a couple clicks in Lightroom anyway..
 

Last edited by JerseyMatt; 06-27-12 at 10:28 AM.
  #8  
Old 06-27-12, 11:58 AM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
In all fairness, pretty much ANYTHING that one builds/prototypes themselves, while it may be perfectly safe - violates UL and NEC.
That's true, and getting too picky about it may stifle innovation.

Still, no reason not to offer suggested improvements, as you did with the grommets.
 
  #9  
Old 06-27-12, 06:20 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,385
In CFL speak, "bright white" is the same as cool white in a tube. It throws off the same very harsh blue tinged light you find in any office or warehouse that uses tubes. You'd want warm white or 'daylight' to illuminate your subjects.
Good point from Matt on the color temperature. This manufacturer's Bright White is 5000 degrees Kelvin and Cool White is 4100 degrees Kelvin. The CFLs you have chosen are extra cool. You'll find fluorescent lamps, in this case CFLs, will be designated in degrees Kelvin such as these which were marked 5000K. Warm White is 2800 degrees Kelvin. I don't know what color you need, but you'll probably have no problem finding CFLs in 2800, 3000 or 3500 degrees Kelvin.
 
  #10  
Old 06-27-12, 07:19 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 12,282
UL listed items, used and installed in accordance to the manufacturer, would be approved.

5000K is considered to be the closest thing to sunlight, and is the standard in the printing industry for viewing color.
 
  #11  
Old 06-27-12, 08:03 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,941
I've tried those bulbs that claim to be daylight. Even the fluorescents. They seem to be very blue to me. They do fee like they are bright and give off more light, but there is less contrast so it makes it harder to actually see.
 
  #12  
Old 06-27-12, 08:35 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3
Hey thanks to everyone for the replies, I wasn't expecting as much
Couple things I have to add:

1- As Tolyn Ironhand said, 5000K is the prefered color temperature in the industry, some pro light kits come with even a higher Kelvin.

2- JerseyMatt - thank you. While I was searching for an example of the bulbs I wanted to use, I forgot about the facts that they would have to be compatible with a dimmer. It's something that slipped out of head at that time of the night, but something I knew before!

3- As a lot of you mentioned it, the project is not regulatory. While I honestly doubt I can get in trouble for using this prototype, I know it's not something I should "eff" around with. On the other hand, have you seen the price for a light kit?! Here's an example: Autocue/QTV 3-HEAD SOFTBOX LIGHTING KIT LI-SOFT/001 B&H Photo
The light kit I am building is to minimize the costs on a bigger project that I have planned.

On top of this, here's the kicker:
I've seen a couple of terms and technical jargon that I know nothing about. While most of you would probably not advise me further on the topic as I have little knowledge on electrical stuff, if you explain it to me as if I were 5 years old (not literally please) and maybe show me a diagram or something similar, I will manage to wire this bad-boy like a boss.
A few weeks ago I was able to fix a broken part in my father's car with no knowledge about cars due to precise explainations and I love a good challenge.

If using wood (MDF) as the main base is considered too risky, what alternatives could I use?
 
  #13  
Old 06-27-12, 09:29 PM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
The light kit I am building is to minimize the costs on a bigger project that I have planned.
]
What is the bigger project you have?
If using wood (MDF) as the main base is considered too risky, what alternatives could I use?]
I'd use a block of aluminum.
 
  #14  
Old 06-27-12, 09:49 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,051
I'd use a block of aluminum.
I'd disagree Justin for reason of practicability and conductance. IMO MDF or plywood is a better choice.
 
  #15  
Old 06-29-12, 05:56 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3
@JustinSmith

Without getting too much in specifics, it'll be for making videos online (not porn, sorry!) I already have a camera to buy so the less I can spend on lighting is the better option.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes