Covered up junction box above ceiling mirror

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  #1  
Old 02-12-16, 06:27 PM
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Covered up junction box above ceiling mirror

The previous property owner had put in this elaborate mirrored ceiling with wood framed in sections.

Only problem is, there is a junction box above this ceiling that's covered up.



I would like to access this junction box somehow.

This is the junction box from above in the attic. As you can see there are several EMT conduits connected to it and there is no easy way I can turn it around and make it accessible from the attic side.



Any ideas?

Do I measure carefully and cut the mirrored ceiling from below then put in an ugly box cover? Assuming I don't end up cracking the mirror and once I do that there is no avoiding taking the whole thing down.

Or is there a way I can do something in the attic?
 
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  #2  
Old 02-12-16, 06:33 PM
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I would not touch that.

Are all those lines going into the box on the same circuit? If so just leave them be.

Why do you need access? If we know that we might be able to better advise you.

Do you need another tap to run a light? Or do you want a power outlet? What is the amp rating on the circuit? What to all the lines going into it operate?
 
  #3  
Old 02-12-16, 06:52 PM
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Norm asked:
Why do you need access?
National Electrical Code requires that ALL (my emphasis) junction and pull boxes remain permanently accessible without removing any part of the building. (Article 314.29 NEC 2002)

I see no other solution but the tedious re-routing of all the conduits and wiring from the attic except the one of making the attempt to add a removable cover plate from the room. The person who did that should be shot. Just my opinion.
 
  #4  
Old 02-12-16, 07:45 PM
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I need access because I want to see how things are wired inside that junction box. I have made corrections to some really questionable wiring in this house (for example, splicing without a junction box in wall cavities, use of two 600W dimmers side by side without taking into derating in a crowded junction box with the 600W dimmer controlling TEN hi hat lights with 60W bulbs causing the dimmer to literally melt, connected microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher and a wall receptacle to one single 20A circuilt etc...) basically I am not going to sleep well until I traced every wire down.

So yes I need to see what's inside that box and how things are wired.

I agree with Furd that person should be shot or electrocuted.
 
  #5  
Old 02-12-16, 07:58 PM
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OK I have been thinking about it and I think it is a bad idea to try and open up a hole from below. There is too big a risk of a disaster unless I want to take the whole mirror/wood thing down.

In the attic, I have already tried to pull up the box, it won't move. I am guessing a nail or two through the side into the furring or joist? Not sure.

Here is one I am thinking about.

(1) Unscrew the set screw connector on top of the junction box and pull up the EMT conduit away from the connector, once I have a little bit of space, cut the conductors at the separation. Repeat until all four EMTs are off the box and the conductors cut.

(2) For each conduit, go back 8-12" on the conduit and cut it with a tubing cutter. Pull off the short cut piece. This will leave me with four truncated EMT conduits with 8-12" of extra conductors.

(3) With all conduits disconnected to the box. pry out or cut out the junction box and see how things are wired on the inside.

(4) Connector each truncated EMT conduit to a metal handy box. Four EMT, four handy boxes. From each handy box, splice and run new conduits and wiring to a new junction box closer to the attic access hatch.

Can you think of a better or easier way?
 
  #6  
Old 02-12-16, 08:22 PM
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That looks like a good option, but I would switch over to NM-B from the handy box,no need for EMT as far as I can see.
 
  #7  
Old 02-12-16, 08:48 PM
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Using a tubing cutter is going to leave a big (and sharp) burr inside the conduit. You will need to deal with this to prevent it from cutting the insulation on the individual conductors after you cut the conduit.

You may not have much wire available in the box to allow pulling the conduit out of the connector. I would definitely add number or letter labels to all wires on each side of the proposed cut before actually cutting. The chances of repeated colors is very high. You will need to cut the conduit back to a point where the added box can be secured to more than just the hanging conduit.

Ideal Wire Marker Booklets (10-Pack)-44-102 - The Home Depot
 
  #8  
Old 02-12-16, 09:00 PM
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If that box is mounted with 2 screws or nails from inside, you will be able to cut with hacksaw or some other metal cutting saw.

If it is mounted in someway that you have to have access from below, grinder might work out too. You can grind and cut attached side of the box.
In most extreme case, you may be able to just cut the box itself, but there is risk of damaging wire inside. (Make sure power is cut to the box first).
 
  #9  
Old 02-12-16, 09:22 PM
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Just brainstorming. You might try cutting the conduit by going around it (360) with a Dremal. Go around it two or three times, deeper each time, till you just penetrate. with luck you may not damage the wires and if you slightly nick the insulation maybe the insulation would be repairable with heat shrink tubing.

I'd probably give a shot at cutting the back out of the box with a dremel but I doubt that would work.
 
  #10  
Old 02-12-16, 09:59 PM
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I'd probably give a shot at cutting the back out of the box with a dremel but I doubt that would work.
From my personal experience, dremel will have hard time cutting thick metal like that. It is possible, but will take lots of cutting wheels and patients.
Regular grinder with metal cutting wheel works a lot faster and easier, but also more chance of damaging wire inside. Also possible to hurt user if not careful. I know because I nicked my finger twice. LOL
It is worse than cutting with knife because it literally grinds skin off.
Don't put it down and keep eye on it until it completely stops.
 
  #11  
Old 02-13-16, 05:25 AM
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I would like to keep things in EMT if possible. The previous owner had made modifications and done renovations and every "new" is NM-b so I'd prefer not to "mix and match". I don't want a run to be EMT to NM-b to EMT. Besides, most of those EMTs don't have ground conductors in them so I wouldn't want to break continuity.

If I am able to remove the back of the box using some tools...no way I think I can with all the EMTs there, I would have to move those out of the way first somehow...I am not so much worried about removing the box once I disconnected everything from it as long as I can figure out the wiring inside the box I can abandon the box in place.

Yes cutting with a tubing cutter will make a burr that can easily cut the insulation. So I need some way to file them down with the conductors there unless I can pull them back enough for me to use a deburrer. These are very old solid conductors from the 60s so not always easily pull back.
 
  #12  
Old 02-13-16, 06:13 AM
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If you use the tubing cutter, use light pressure and many turns to avoid forcing the pipe inward,as far as bonding,connect the bond wire from the NM-B to the new junction boxes which will keep continuity.
Your call.
Another option http://www.aifittings.com/catalog/em...ulated-throat/
 
  #13  
Old 02-13-16, 06:44 AM
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So I need some way to file them down with the conductors there unless I can pull them back enough for me to use a deburrer.
Did you forget your other thread? http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...necessary.html
 
  #14  
Old 02-13-16, 07:42 AM
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Tooth, I didn't forget, the two threads are related indeed. I was thinking about this issue and started the other thread first. I saw that you had a dental pick looking tool to debur...what is it called.

I am still hoping there is a creative solution I haven't though of that will not require me to truncate four conduits using a tubing cutter with conductors in them.
 
  #15  
Old 02-13-16, 07:30 PM
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I meant "Tolyn" not "Tooth", these autocorrect features has more misses than hits!
 
  #16  
Old 02-13-16, 07:57 PM
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I would switch over to NM-B from the handy box,no need for EMT as far as I can see.
I am thinking that conduit must be required. I see no other reason anyone would wire a complete house with conduit if it weren't required.
 
  #17  
Old 02-14-16, 07:19 AM
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I would do your plan in post #5 except I would use 4"x4" boxes rather then handy boxes. "Handy boxes are not handy for anything." (credit to IBpooks) If you want to use less boxes you could convert the EMT to 1/2" flex conduit.
 
  #18  
Old 02-14-16, 07:42 AM
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Trying to keep the conduit is causing constant headaches on your jobs. Unless required , ditch it and switch to NM.
 
  #19  
Old 02-14-16, 07:59 AM
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Trying to keep the conduit is causing constant headaches on your jobs. Unless required , ditch it and switch to NM.
I agree, but that is also why I question if conduit is required. I recall a number of different posters on various threads from Florida who also had conduit in their homes.
 
  #20  
Old 02-14-16, 08:24 AM
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Conduit

Looks like conduit is required:

Codes and Standards | ICC publicACCESS

See E3801.2

If you decide to remove the entire mirror panel, a drywall lift would be helpful to support the panel. Removal will be more difficult if adhesive was used.
 
  #21  
Old 02-14-16, 10:08 AM
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I would do your plan in post #5 except I would use 4"x4" boxes rather then handy boxes. "Handy boxes are not handy for anything." (credit to IBpooks) If you want to use less boxes you could convert the EMT to 1/2" flex conduit.
I have been debating between handy boxes, or conduit bodies or regular 4X4 boxes. I would have four of these one attached to each truncated conduit.

Care to elaborate "If you want to use less boxes you could convert the EMT to 1/2" flex conduit" I have been wondering about that. Do you mean using one bigger box at that location, and simply use flex conduit to bridge the short distance from the truncated EMTs to that new box instead 4 individual boxes? The only problem with that is there is no ground conductors in those conduits and I understand flex/bx/mc cables do not provide ground continuity like EMT/rigid conduits do.

As far as
 
  #22  
Old 02-14-16, 10:15 AM
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"I am thinking that conduit must be required. I see no other reason anyone would wire a complete house with conduit if it weren't required."

It's a locale thing. I have bought about 8 properties down here in South Florida in the last 20 years, and almost all of them were built between 1950s-1970s and all done in conduits. I have friends with newer house built after 2004 and all in NM-b.

One house I have everything in walls are in EMT conduits, as soon as it goes past the firestop in the attic then everything in MC cables.

when I modify existing conditions I try to keep what was used for plumbing and electrical. If I am mending a cast iron drain or copper line I will splice in a like material drain or supply instead of change materials unless I change all downstream or upstream. So if this circuit is EMT I stay with EMT. There are other circuits in NM-b and I will stay with NM-b.
 
  #23  
Old 02-14-16, 12:16 PM
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Flexible metal conduit does not need a separate ground for circuits 20 amps or less, and with conduit 6' or less. (As a side note MC cable is an approved ground with either a separate ground wire, or an approved metal jacket such as Corra Clad or MCAP)

To convert from EMT to flex use one of these: 1/2 in. Electrical Metallic Tube (EMT) EMT to Flex Set-Screw Coupling-91531 - The Home Depot
 
  #24  
Old 02-16-16, 06:33 PM
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Well I spent a few hours in the attic in a "pretzel" position.

After disconnecting all the conduits to the box, I was able to reroute two circuits via another conduit, and found out one circuit actually dead ended in the box. So I end up having to connect two conduits with only two #12 conductors - one hot one neutral. I ended up using a metal conduit body and two short pieces of EMTs. The metallic conduit body can provide ground continuity...right?



 
  #25  
Old 02-16-16, 07:31 PM
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The metallic conduit body can provide ground continuity...right?
Correct. However only conduit bodies marked with the cubic inch capacity may be spliced in. Also the unused opening needs to be sealed.
 
  #26  
Old 02-17-16, 10:44 AM
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yes I had a plug for the extra opening.

As far as splices I don't see anything on the body itself. It says E-121488. I have four #12 conductors in there and 2 wire nuts.

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  #27  
Old 02-17-16, 07:33 PM
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To provide access to conductors for pulling,
splicing, maintenance and future changes/
upgrades
Sounds like it is OK for splicing
 
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