Outdoor light w/no junction box

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Old 10-13-12, 04:56 PM
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Outdoor light w/no junction box

Hello,

An outdoor, marine-style light used over my garage driveway in a 50+ year house needs replacing. It was an incandescent bulb system, pretty typical. I took off the light to find no junction box. The wire comes straight out of the wall (w/ground). It looks well done and has apparently been like that for decades, but the light case broke when a hockey ball hit it (kids!).

I need to replace that light and thought to put in a junction box per Code, but the shielded wire is passed through the supporting lintel, which is structural. There is no non-structural support nearby, the rest being concrete. I am stuck with that wire coming out at that location and nowhere to put a junction box in, certainly not recessed.

Looking at the old light, it is the type that was a a junction box in itself. There is a ground and it was fully accessible, as easy as 2 screws to change the lightbulb. The light is part of a circuit that extends up the wall to the room above. I traced the circuit to a junction box in a wall outlet.

Any solutions? Are there still available external lighting with a built-in junction box? I went to a couple of Big Box stores here in Canada but could find no solutions.

Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 10-13-12, 05:37 PM
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Looking at the old light, it is the type that was a a junction box in itself. There is a ground and it was fully accessible, as easy as 2 screws to change the lightbulb. The light is part of a circuit that extends up the wall to the room above. I traced the circuit to a junction box in a wall outlet.
I'm a little lost here. So you're saying you have multiple wires coming out into that fixtures? Here, in the states, all splices must be in a box approved for that use. Bringing extra wiring out to the fixture and using it as a splice point doesn't sound like the best way to do it. It sounds like a weather proof box is the answer. A picture or two would be a big help too.
 
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Old 10-13-12, 06:53 PM
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I have the 3 wires in a shielded cable coming out of the structural lintel above the garage door. The wires were spliced into the fixture which has a large, gasket-sealed "box" for this purpose it appears. I guess the fixture at the time was OK.

A weather proof junction box? Remember: this cannot be recessed. There is nothing to recess into. The junction box is going to have to be integral to the light fixture, if there is such a thing anymore.

Thanks.
 
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Old 10-13-12, 06:59 PM
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What you use for a junction box depends on the light you want to install. Here is a link to the box I'm referring to. This is a standard single gang weather proof box. It's also available in a round style. Many outdoor light fixtures can attach directly to these types of boxes.
Electrical Boxes & Enclosures | Boxes - Outdoor | Hubbell 5320-0 Single Gang Weatherproof Box 3-1/2" Outlets, Gray | B200981 - GlobalIndustrial.com
 
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Old 10-13-12, 07:53 PM
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If I put an external box not integrated into the light fixture itself, I will have so much protrusion the light fixture would extend well beyond the drip line of the wall above the lintel. It will get soaked, constantly, whereas now, being flush it is semi-protected. It would be less weatherproof then the current (broken) arrangement. It seems counter-intuitive to have a solution that is more exposed to the elements (and hockey balls) than something that looks to have been installed mid-1960's.

Of course that flushness comes from being located on a structural building component with no junction box behind it. The fixture is attached directly to cedar shingles which are themselves attached to the lintel above the garage door. Way back when the solution to an over-the garage light was to run a shielded wire through a 1/2" drilled hole in the lintel/cedar shingle. I have no alternative mounting locations. Certainly none where I can mount a flush box nor one where I can perch a fixture on a weatherproof outdoor junction box.

It would also be aesthetically not very pleasing to have a light perched on the external box, weatherproof or not.

Are there any exterior lights where the splice box is integrated into the light fixture itself?
 
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Old 10-13-12, 07:58 PM
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If you were to use a wall pack light....you could run the wires right into it. However you may not locate one you like. Look at the link I left. That is just one of many different styles. Try searching lighting wallpacks

26 Watt - CFL - Bronze Finish - 120 Volt - Compact Wall Pack Lights | Wall Packs - Warehouse-Lighting.com
 
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Old 10-13-12, 08:23 PM
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Looks like these still need a junction box behind them. I will try looking at wall packs. They might work. Thanks.
 
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Old 10-13-12, 09:27 PM
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First of all, welcome to the forums!

I'm curious. What are you describing as
An outdoor, marine-style light?
Does it look anything like this? One-Light Incandescent Weather Tight Industrial Light. That would be more resistant to damage, but it does require a weatherproof box for mounting. Still, do you really care if it sticks out a little more, given that the fixture itself is weathertight?

As PJmax said,
Originally Posted by PJmax
A picture or two would be a big help too.
That, or those, would help us see what you have now. See How To Put Pictures In Your Post.

Do you have any particular fixture in mind for this location, or are you exploring options at this point? If you're still playing with ideas, here's a different style of wall pack that's a little sturdier, and "suitable for wet locations:" Lithonia OWP3 42F 120 P LP BZ M4 Outdoor Mini Wall Pack Dusk to Dawn Photocell, Bronze. You could wire past the photocell if you wanted to just control it with a switch.
 
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Old 10-14-12, 01:51 PM
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Here is a photo of the removal:

http://cdn-2-service.phanfare.com/images/external/4202492_5706671_170463892_Web_2/0_0_e0e2f45a9cacbec203cb77a2e4e27f9e_1


The original light was a very old"bulkhead" or "nautical" style of weatherproof design. It had a single light bulb component in one side and room for wiring (in integrated junction box) in the other. Similar to this:

http://image.lampsplus.com/is/image/...i=460&fmt=jpeg

Directly behind the siding where the wire extends out is a joist, part of a double joist lintel over the garage. I cannot access the wire from the inside without complete disassembly of the garage door, ceiling, and some considerable cement, not to mention a natural gas pipe running nearby!

So that's the wire (and not too much of it) I have to work with, sans junction box.

I'd like to replace with a bulkhead light with an integral junction box, if such a thing exists. I can find walkway lamps and retrofit recessed potlights with integrated boxes, but nothing for outdoors. Hmmmm....

I suspect this lighting was put in originally in the 1960's, and then updated about 1982, when the garage door was converted from manual to motorized.
 
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Old 10-14-12, 02:03 PM
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It looks like the wire was brought out in a specific place for your old fixture. If it exited thru the center of the course you wouldn't have as much an issue as you do now since they snuck the wire out right in the joint of the courses. I'm still looking.
 
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Old 10-14-12, 03:02 PM
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This is an example of a surface ,mounting block that would work well for your application. Online Catalog | Siding Mounting Blocks | Siding Mounting Block You may need to find a stepped one or just move the cable so you can mount it wholly on the center of one row of siding.

 
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Old 10-14-12, 03:49 PM
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Mounting blocks. Those look like a viable solution with a careful, measured chiseling of the existing cedar shingles. That looks to be best option #1. Thanks.
 
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Old 10-14-12, 04:33 PM
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Those look like a viable solution with a careful, measured chiseling of the existing cedar shingles.
I'm not real fond of shattered cedar shingles and flying splinters. I would arm myself with a good utility knife and a supply of blades, and use that to cut the recess for the mounting block.
 
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Old 10-14-12, 04:53 PM
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A roto-zip should be able to cut your cedar shingles easily.
 
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Old 10-14-12, 07:56 PM
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Is the requirement for a junction box behind wall-mounted exterior light fixtures a recent code change or a regional practice? In both my houses, one built in 1977 and the other in 1980, and my parent's house, built in 1966 and added on to in 1986, the Romex simply comes through the siding, and the outdoor light fixtures are screwed directly to the siding, and the wiring connections made under the bonnet of the light fixture. All the houses noted are in Kansas, but are in 3 different cities and with 4 different electrical contractors involved. I've also noticed that installing ground rods for the main breaker panels does not seem to be practiced here, as none of the aforementioned homes have them. No, Kansas does not have any state building codes. Just curious.
 
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Old 10-14-12, 08:09 PM
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The NEC has required splices to be made in boxes for as long as I can remember. Sounds like there needs to be some continuing ed classes out there.

There are other means to ground a service panel. Metallic water lines are one method and formerly did not require a supplemental electrode like a rod.
 
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Old 10-14-12, 08:20 PM
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I am in Canada and I believe the major update to the National Building Code (electrical) adopted provincewide in my area happened in the mid 1970's. My original wiring dates from the 1950's and has partially been replaced with a new kitchen, bathroom and basement, but this legacy wire dates from the original period, though I suspect its junction origin is from a later re-wiring. That is why it was simply a 3-wire length sent right through the joists, but very difficult to retrofit simply due to location (and remodelling the garage is not usually a high priority work).

I do not think in the 1950's junction boxes were necessarily required for external fixtures because siding was just lapped straight on and rough-in boxes faced externally were difficult to install as a result. So wiring terminated in the bonnet of the light itself. Especially true with wall-mount fixtures, which, when I tour my neighbourhood, by far most outdoor lighting comes from a soffit location with its far greater accessibility. I think my set-up was not unusual in the day. At least it has a ground wire.

Lots of wall mount options out there. Now I need to find a low profile "pancake", weatherproof box to go under it. I'd like to keep to the bulkhead style of light as that is what my soffit installations are as well.

I have no zipsaw, but a Dremel should come close enough. That a a set of Lee Valley chisels that were an in-law gift and have never been used in 5 years!

Or maybe it's an excuse to buy a zipsaw :^)
 
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Old 10-14-12, 08:26 PM
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or maybe it's an excuse to buy a zipsaw :^)
We are men We don't need a reason to buy a new tool.

but.....a dremel would do it too.
 
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Old 10-14-12, 08:33 PM
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The mounting box I posted has a junction box incorporated into it. No pancake box needed.
 
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