Wiring for Lights

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Old 09-24-12, 09:11 AM
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Wiring for Lights

A little background: I've been an aircraft electrician on and off for about 6 years total now, so I'm pretty familiar with wiring repairs, terminals, safety precautions etc, however, I've never created my own wiring from scratch, nor do I have any household electrical experience.

Here's what I'm wanting to do: I plan on wiring 16 standard houshold light sockets together. I'm basically planning on wiring them in parallel so multiple lights can be removed and the rest will still work. I want to basically take a plug, splice the power wire to a master on/off switch and dimmer unit, and then take it to the first light. The power will be connected to the post on the socket with the power wire leading to the power post on the next socket, and so on and so on so all of the power sides are connected and I plan on doing the same for the ground wires all the way around and back to the ground wire on the plug, then plug it into an extension cord and plug it into a standard american outlet. The lightbulbs I'll be using are pretty high watt lights, about 100 watts or higher or the new energy effecient kind... not sure what they're called, but the ones that have much less watts but equal higher on the package.

So here's my question: Am I doing anything wrong, or anything that won't work? I'm posting here mostly to make sure I don't screw up and burn my house down. Thanks!
 
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Old 09-24-12, 09:18 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Tell us more about what you're trying to accomplish here and how this will be used. So far, only the extension cord is throwing any flags for me but others may catch things I have not.
 
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Old 09-24-12, 09:28 AM
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I'm making a ring of lights (4' in diameter to be exact) to be used for photography. I'm wanting it to be portable so it'll have a short cord and plug to be used with an extension cord. Mine will only really be different in that I'm making another plywood ring that will cover up the wires and let the bulbs stick through, for safety purposes since I won't be the only person using this. That and I'm using 16 lights instead of 12.

Here's an example of something very similar to what I'm wanting to do: How To Build A Kick Ass 4 Feet DIY Ring Light | DIYPhotography.net
 
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Old 09-24-12, 09:43 AM
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The power will be connected to the post on the socket with the power wire leading to the power post on the next socket, and so on and so on so all of the power sides are connected and I plan on doing the same for the ground wires all the way around and back to the ground wire on the plug,
I don't see a ground wire in the wiring at the link you posted. I only see two wires, a hot and a neutral, and I don't see how the two are distinguished.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 09-24-12 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 09-24-12, 01:50 PM
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The link you posted is not code compliant in any way! Using bare wire and exposed connections is just waiting for something to go wrong.

Here is what I recommend:

Take you first circle you cut out for the back of the ring and mark the locations for your lights.

It the locations, you will attach either 3 1/2" round/octagonal boxes or 4" square boxes with a square to round mud ring.

Between each box you will run either flex conduit (I suggest metal, but non-metallic is fine too) or some metal armored cable such as MC. If you use conduit, you will then need to install your #12 wires (Black, white, green) into the conduit and to each box. One box will have your 3 wire cord run to the ring. I suggest a hard usage cord with #12 wire.

In each box, the green will splice through and attach a pigtail to each metal box with a ground screw. The black wire will also splice through and pigtail to the brass screw of the lamp holder. The white wires will splice through and pigtail to the sliver screw of the lamp holder.

When you are done assembling this, you will see there is no exposed wires or connections. It is now safe as it can be. You may put a front ring on it if you want, but it is not necessary for other then for looks.

This project will only take a few hours and cost less than $50 in material, not including cord and lamps.
 
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Old 09-24-12, 08:47 PM
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Thanks all for the imput! I had planned on using heat shrink and insulating epoxy on all of the exposed wires in addition to covering them with another wooden ring. Would that make it code compliant or do I still need the boxes on back? I'm mainly asking becase the socket fixtures I found that would work best have the wiring post on the front not the back.

Edit: and instead of just wrapping bare wire around the posts I plan on using insulated terminals.
 
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Old 09-25-12, 06:02 AM
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Wood is not code compliant against any electrical component. You will need to do as the others have suggested and wire it like you would wire your house. Nothing different. Same safety factors. You could install "old work" round ceiling boxes in the ring and then your fixture, bringing the wiring from the bac (not an extension cord) through the provided entrance holes. Post a picture of the fixtures you found. Not sure what they look like, but bet they won't be compliant.
 
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Old 09-25-12, 04:07 PM
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No, as Chandler posted it world not be code compliant. ALL splices/terminations are required to be in a box. The big problem is you have 120 volts exposed. Insulating epoxy is not an approved insulation for high voltage.

If you use the lamp holders, like in the blog, you could also cut out the boxes on the front ring and then attach the lamp holders to both the plywood and the boxes. The boxes that Chandler mentioned is a good alternative. They are the same size but just have "ears" for a flush mount.

If it was me, I would just use one ring on the back, Install the boxes and conduit, paint it all black to prevent any glare, and then install the wiring and fixtures.
 
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