Page 38 of 39 FirstFirst ... 2836373839 LastLast
Results 1,111 to 1,140 of 1148

Thread: Adventures in DIY

  1. #1111
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Bend, Oregon
    Posts
    6,260
    It's done, after nine years. Original and re-imagined.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_3618.jpg 
Views:	30 
Size:	810.9 KB 
ID:	25216

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSC09926 smaller.jpg 
Views:	31 
Size:	947.1 KB 
ID:	25217

  2. #1112
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    1,267
    Quote Originally Posted by geonuc View Post
    It's done, after nine years. Original and re-imagined.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_3618.jpg 
Views:	30 
Size:	810.9 KB 
ID:	25216

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSC09926 smaller.jpg 
Views:	31 
Size:	947.1 KB 
ID:	25217
    Looks very nice. I am sure that it will 'age' very well..

  3. #1113
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    15,721
    It looks superb. Clean built, lovely aesthetics.

    I'm sure there is a good explanation why one of the brass "strengtheners" on the left is mounted vertically and not horizontally like the others and the original?
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  4. #1114
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Bend, Oregon
    Posts
    6,260
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    It looks superb. Clean built, lovely aesthetics.

    I'm sure there is a good explanation why one of the brass "strengtheners" on the left is mounted vertically and not horizontally like the others and the original?
    I was wondering if someone would notice that so I decided not to point it out. The brass pieces provide no structural support, by the way - they serve merely to hide the joints (some of them) and add aesthetic value. The one vertical piece on the left is a mistake I made last year as I was chiseling the wood to fit the brass. I realized after a couple of whacks with the mallet that I had made an error on that one. Rather than go through some sort of woodworking repair process, I decided that it was OK. It adds a personal distinction. And no, in general the orientation of the brass doesn't necessarily match the original. I made that choice deliberately.

  5. #1115
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    The Great NorthWet
    Posts
    15,531
    I didn't notice that! I'd probably have turned the one on the other side to match, but that's just me. Looks lovely!

    I'm curious about something from a couple of weeks ago; the drawer rails on the bottom instead of the sides. Typically with rails on the side you can lift up on the drawer front to take it out. How does that work with the ones on the bottom? Or can you just not take it out?
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  6. #1116
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Peters Creek, Alaska
    Posts
    13,297
    Most handsome. I quite like it. Is the brass raw or varnished? If it's the former, I'd like to see how it ages.

    Quote Originally Posted by geonuc View Post
    The one vertical piece on the left is a mistake I made last year as I was chiseling the wood to fit the brass. I realized after a couple of whacks with the mallet that I had made an error on that one. Rather than go through some sort of woodworking repair process, I decided that it was OK. It adds a personal distinction.
    The flaw in your Persian carpet.
    Forum Rules►  ◄FAQ►  ◄ATM Forum Advice►  ◄Conspiracy Advice
    Click http://cosmoquest.org/forum/images/buttons/report-40b.png to report a post (even this one) to the moderation team.


    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  7. #1117
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Bend, Oregon
    Posts
    6,260
    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    Most handsome. I quite like it. Is the brass raw or varnished? If it's the former, I'd like to see how it ages.
    It's from raw stock which I cut to size and left unvarnished. Yes, I imagine it will change much like the original's. The fly in that ointment is the corner pieces. They're made of much thinner metal, maybe a different alloy. I'm not terribly happy with them but they're all I could find that somewhat matched the original

    The flaw in your Persian carpet.
    Exactly.

  8. #1118
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Bend, Oregon
    Posts
    6,260
    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    I didn't notice that! I'd probably have turned the one on the other side to match, but that's just me. Looks lovely!

    I'm curious about something from a couple of weeks ago; the drawer rails on the bottom instead of the sides. Typically with rails on the side you can lift up on the drawer front to take it out. How does that work with the ones on the bottom? Or can you just not take it out?
    As I recall, I had already done the other side. So, I was stuck.

    Not sure what you mean with the rails. In both cases (side and bottom) you just withdraw the drawers until the catches are exposed in the slides. Release them and the drawer comes out.

  9. #1119
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    The Great NorthWet
    Posts
    15,531
    Sounds good! And the chest looks beautiful.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  10. #1120
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Bend, Oregon
    Posts
    6,260
    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Sounds good! And the chest looks beautiful.
    Thanks!

  11. #1121
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    3,039
    geonuc, that looks great. You have good reason to be proud of the result.

    (And I like the idea of the "flaw in your Persian carpet".)

  12. #1122
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    15,721
    I was going to hint at the Persian carpet when I asked the question!
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  13. #1123
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Bend, Oregon
    Posts
    6,260
    The Persian carpet analogy works particularly well in my house as, along with the original chest of drawers, my family picked up quite a few carpets while in Iran.

  14. #1124
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    15,721
    We once got paid in those carpets. Different times...
    With sufficient thrust, water towers fly just fine.

  15. #1125
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    North Tonawanda, NY
    Posts
    3,828
    A few months ago I moved to a new apartment where all of the electrical sockets are ungrounded. Since then, everything I have that has a third prong has been on one of those adapters that let you physically plug the thing in but makes it stick out farther and does nothing for the third prong's intended safety function. To ditch the adapters and add at least some bit of an extra safety feature while still leaving it clear for any future renters here that it's not grounded, I was thinking of replacing one or two outlets per room with GFCIs (labeled "ungrounded") and leaving the rest with two holes. I was also going to replace the rest with new white two-hole sockets because the ones that are already here are hideously beige and some have paint slopped on them. (The last time somebody painted the walls, they apparently took off the plates but left the sockets in place and uncovered, so even the screws holding the sockets on their boxes are painted over.)

    There were a few fun surprises waiting for me when I starting pulling them out.

    Unless I was mistaken when I first looked, some had a pair of wires connected at the top and another at the bottom, and some had wire pairs connected corner to corner. Maybe I saw that wrong and it will all be straitened out by just looking carefully again. Also, a light switch is connected by only one pair of wires but there are more wires in the box with it, crammed into the back with caps on them. Was this originally supposed to be an outlet, at the height of a light switch? Where is the load that apparently would have depended on those wires that aren't connected, since everything seems to work fine this way?

    But the oddest one of all: there actually are ground wires in the boxes, although I couldn't see them at first because they're way back in the back and it's somehow gotten dusty in there. The wires are simply twisted together and wrapped around a screw connected to the back wall of the box, so the overall tree of ground wires in the building is connected to nothing. Even if there were an event of the kind that grounding was invented for, no current related to that event would ever touch any of the wires that are supposedly there for such an event. (Those screws have been in there for years and don't want to budge. I've gotten one out so far by holding a screwdriver in one hand and turning it with a pair of pliers in the other.)

    Somebody was so intent on installing ungrounded sockets in a grounded building that they did the work of twisting & screwing the ground wires just to get them out of the way. What was that about, some kind of rebellion against government regulations and thinking that safety precautions are for losers?

  16. #1126
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    8,912
    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    Unless I was mistaken when I first looked, some had a pair of wires connected at the top and another at the bottom, and some had wire pairs connected corner to corner.
    Usually when the outlet is connected both top and bottom, that means one of the sockets is connected to a switch and the other is connected directly to the power source. One's switchable, the other's always on. If it's only connected to one pair of wires, both outlets are always on.

    (It's possible to have both sockets switched, of course, either on the same switch or two separate switches)

    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    Also, a light switch is connected by only one pair of wires but there are more wires in the box with it, crammed into the back with caps on them. Was this originally supposed to be an outlet, at the height of a light switch? Where is the load that apparently would have depended on those wires that aren't connected, since everything seems to work fine this way?
    The extra wires not connected to the switch - are we talking one set of wires, with each individual wire capped by itself, or two (or more) sets of wires with wires from each set capped together? Switch, outlet, and fixture boxes are often also used as junction boxes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    But the oddest one of all: there actually are ground wires in the boxes, although I couldn't see them at first because they're way back in the back and it's somehow gotten dusty in there. The wires are simply twisted together and wrapped around a screw connected to the back wall of the box, so the overall tree of ground wires in the building is connected to nothing. Even if there were an event of the kind that grounding was invented for, no current related to that event would ever touch any of the wires that are supposedly there for such an event. (Those screws have been in there for years and don't want to budge. I've gotten one out so far by holding a screwdriver in one hand and turning it with a pair of pliers in the other.)

    Somebody was so intent on installing ungrounded sockets in a grounded building that they did the work of twisting & screwing the ground wires just to get them out of the way. What was that about, some kind of rebellion against government regulations and thinking that safety precautions are for losers?
    That I don't know. Somebody may have just decided to put in non-grounded outlets to save money.

    (FWIW, your building's ground wire "tree" is still connected to the earth and still grounded, it's just that your outlets and fixtures plugged into them aren't connected to the tree).
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  17. #1127
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    8,912
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    Usually when the outlet is connected both top and bottom, that means one of the sockets is connected to a switch and the other is connected directly to the power source. One's switchable, the other's always on. If it's only connected to one pair of wires, both outlets are always on.
    I should note that the outlets which are connected to two sets of wires need to be physically modified - there's a tab that has to be broken off to separate the internal connection between the sockets. So you have to be sure to do that if/when you replace those outlets. If you connect both sets of wires without breaking the internal connection, you're going to have problems.
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  18. #1128
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    18,939
    Delvo, are you renting that property? If so, do you have permission to rewire the sockets? I’m asking because there can be legal liability issues both for the renter and owner.

    Also, do you know how old the place is? My house, for instance, was built in ‘61 and doesn’t have grounded sockets but I think they were standard by ‘80 or perhaps somewhat earlier. Age will give you a good idea whether it should have grounded sockets by default (older homes/buildings can of course be upgraded, if the owner wants to spend the money, which would be considerable).

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  19. #1129
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Norfolk UK and some of me is in Northern France
    Posts
    9,154
    If you have GFCI protection and fuse or MCB the ground still protects the cable even when not connected at the socket. Many USA sockets are just two pin and double insulated equipments needs no ground. Your light switch is just two wires but in the box the neutral side is wired through, maybe with wire nuts. And the light circuit maybe carries on to other lights. Some USA supplies are 120 and Neutral, some are + /- 60 then rated 110 to allow for losses. GFCI on older circuits were rare and modern ones are now 5 mA trips. I mention that because the modern GFCI will false trip on as little as 60 feet of cable, due to the capacitance of the cable. So beware making changes if you are not sure of what you are doing!
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  20. #1130
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Bend, Oregon
    Posts
    6,260
    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    So beware making changes if you are not sure of what you are doing!
    As someone trained in the ways of electricity, I endorse this warning.

  21. #1131
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    The Great NorthWet
    Posts
    15,531
    As for the ground wire connected to a screw, that used to be the way it was done. If you look at the three-into-two adaptor, you'll see it has a little screw lug on it. That's supposed to attach to one of the cover screws, which in turn screws into the grounded metal box. Nowadays, of course, the boxes are plastic.

    GFCI outlets need to be on the first outlet of a string. If they are on the last outlet, they'll only protect that one outlet.

    Finally, I'm surprised the city or whatever allows apartments to be rented with ungrounded outlets. Are there at least grounded ones in the kitchen and bathroom?
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  22. #1132
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Peters Creek, Alaska
    Posts
    13,297
    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    Unless I was mistaken when I first looked, some had a pair of wires connected at the top and another at the bottom, and some had wire pairs connected corner to corner.
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    Usually when the outlet is connected both top and bottom, that means one of the sockets is connected to a switch and the other is connected directly to the power source. One's switchable, the other's always on. If it's only connected to one pair of wires, both outlets are always on.

    (It's possible to have both sockets switched, of course, either on the same switch or two separate switches)
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    I should note that the outlets which are connected to two sets of wires need to be physically modified - there's a tab that has to be broken off to separate the internal connection between the sockets. So you have to be sure to do that if/when you replace those outlets. If you connect both sets of wires without breaking the internal connection, you're going to have problems.
    You may also see the extra connections on an outlet that's been daisy-chained in the middle of a wiring run. In this case, the tabs will be present and must be or the down-run outlets won't have power. The tabs must also be in place if one set of wires are connected diagonally opposing. But I think it's best practice to connect to one set or the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    Also, a light switch is connected by only one pair of wires but there are more wires in the box with it, crammed into the back with caps on them.
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    The extra wires not connected to the switch - are we talking one set of wires, with each individual wire capped by itself, or two (or more) sets of wires with wires from each set capped together? Switch, outlet, and fixture boxes are often also used as junction boxes.
    I think Sean is correct here. It's pretty typical to see a line run to the switch, then another run to the light/power receptacle. The hot (black or red) wires are connected to the switch with the neutral (white) and ground (green or bare) wires being connected together in the box with wire nuts.

    But the oddest one of all: there actually are ground wires in the boxes, although I couldn't see them at first because they're way back in the back and it's somehow gotten dusty in there. The wires are simply twisted together and wrapped around a screw connected to the back wall of the box, so the overall tree of ground wires in the building is connected to nothing.
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    (FWIW, your building's ground wire "tree" is still connected to the earth and still grounded, it's just that your outlets and fixtures plugged into them aren't connected to the tree).
    In older construction, with metal conduits and receptacle boxes, it was common to use two-conductor wiring, with ground wires being attached to the boxes. Assuming that the system is properly grounded to earth, as Sean described, you should be able to install grounded outlets. Today, outlet boxes are plastic and conduit—when it's even used—is usually PVC. So, a ground conductor is needed in addition to hot and neutral.

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Delvo, are you renting that property? If so, do you have permission to rewire the sockets? I’m asking because there can be legal liability issues both for the renter and owner.
    I think this is quite important. If the existing wiring isn't up to electrical code, that's on the landlord. If the work you do isn't up to code, you could expose both yourself and the landlord to legal risk.
    Forum Rules►  ◄FAQ►  ◄ATM Forum Advice►  ◄Conspiracy Advice
    Click http://cosmoquest.org/forum/images/buttons/report-40b.png to report a post (even this one) to the moderation team.


    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  23. #1133
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Bend, Oregon
    Posts
    6,260
    Another COVID-19 project: rebuilding the cabinet that's built in to a bay window section of the house. Aside from wanting to update it with better sliding drawers, the primary reason was a complete lack of insulation behind the cabinet against the outside wall. During winter, if you opened one of the drawers, the temperature inside would be near that of outside. I can't fathom how the previous owner thought it a good idea to omit insulation. I also didn't like the top surface, which was poorly fitted oak flooring.

    I almost forgot to photograph the 'before' condition. Here's a shot as I began ripping up the oak top. Note that the two doors to the outside cabinet portions were already removed when we moved in, and I've taken out the bottom drawer to see what's behind it.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_3627.jpg 
Views:	13 
Size:	959.5 KB 
ID:	25317

    I decided to do the new cabinet in two pieces: the bottom section with three instead of four drawers, and a top section with the one wide, unwieldy drawer split in two. I also decided to use pine boards instead of plywood. Drawers would feature the nice sliders I used on my last project. And I built doors for the cabinet sections. But first, here's the reason for the project. This may not be the best insulation for this application (or maybe it is) but it was the only type that the local home improvement store sold that wasn't enough to insulate an entire wall. I only need this small amount. R-13.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_3696.jpg 
Views:	11 
Size:	788.3 KB 
ID:	25319

    Here's the work in progress, including a painting operation supervised by the cat & dog.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_3775.jpg 
Views:	11 
Size:	1.11 MB 
ID:	25321

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_4071.jpg 
Views:	14 
Size:	1.17 MB 
ID:	25322

    And installed. The knobs are all different; they are some of the ones we had in our kitchen in Atlanta. Each drawer and door there had a different knob.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_4091.jpg 
Views:	14 
Size:	838.0 KB 
ID:	25323

    The top section should go quicker. And then I need to think about what wood to use for the top surface.

  24. #1134
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    The Great NorthWet
    Posts
    15,531
    Kittie! I like the different knobs.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  25. #1135
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    North Tonawanda, NY
    Posts
    3,828
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    (FWIW, your building's ground wire "tree" is still connected to the earth and still grounded, it's just that your outlets and fixtures plugged into them aren't connected to the tree).
    I presumed so, and have confirmed it with a circuit tester once I got a grounded outlet installed. Given some of the other oddities in how these outlets were installed, I was ready for a circuit test to show that the ground wires actually weren't grounded at all, in which case I would have stuck with two-slot outlets so the third hole wouldn't make an ungrounded socket look grounded.

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Delvo, are you renting that property? If so, do you have permission to rewire the sockets? I’m asking because there can be legal liability issues both for the renter and owner.
    The lease doesn't say anything about power outlets or light switches. It does mention "fixtures", which I figure I must treat as including switches & outlets because otherwise there's no mention of them at all, but what it says about them is that it's up to me to take good care of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Also, do you know how old the place is? My house, for instance, was built in ‘61 and doesn’t have grounded sockets but I think they were standard by ‘80 or perhaps somewhat earlier. Age will give you a good idea whether it should have grounded sockets by default (older homes/buildings can of course be upgraded, if the owner wants to spend the money, which would be considerable).
    Just the wiring alone tells me that if it's grounded then it's grounded and if it's not then it's not, regardless of when it would have been done. And it is. Only the wrong outlets made it appear otherwise.

    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    You may also see the extra connections on an outlet that's been daisy-chained in the middle of a wiring run. In this case, the tabs will be present and must be or the down-run outlets won't have power. The tabs must also be in place if one set of wires are connected diagonally opposing. But I think it's best practice to connect to one set or the other.
    I've taken another look and confirmed that at least one box did have the wires connected corner to corner. But what I meant by that wasn't that there was only one pair of wires and the ones that had two pairs at the top & bottom had "extra". I meant that even with two pairs connected, they were sometimes crossed, like drawing a letter X instead of an "equals" sign. I can see why that wouldn't be expected to make a difference, since the two screws on the same side are in contact through that side plate anyway, but it's still just a strange thing to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    In older construction, with metal conduits and receptacle boxes, it was common to use two-conductor wiring, with ground wires being attached to the boxes. Assuming that the system is properly grounded to earth, as Sean described, you should be able to install grounded outlets. Today, outlet boxes are plastic and conduit—when it's even used—is usually PVC. So, a ground conductor is needed in addition to hot and neutral.
    I've looked at the instructions that come with GFCI outlets. They actually show that if you have both a metal box and ground wires in your cables, you are supposed to use both. (This calls for a wire connector that can take four wires: line-cable ground, load-cable ground for any outlet but the last on its circuit, one to the screw in the metal box, and one to the screw on the outlet.) That's what I've done for the ones I've finished so far, so now they're double-grounded; the outlet's green screw is connected to both the metal box and the cable's built-in ground wire.

    Now that I've finished a few replacements and tested them with a circuit tester to confirm not only live power but also properly connected neutrals & grounds, I'm sure that the weird unused ground wires in these boxes are real, so I'll mostly just be repeating the same process for a bunch more outlets. It's time-consuming, and it doesn't take long for me to end up wanting to do something else, so I'll end up spreading out the whole project, just doing a bit of it all per day. But somewhere along the line I'll also need to tackle a couple of special cases that involve light switches.

    One of those is in a closet, and instead of just a light switch or a pair of power outlets, it has a single power outlet on bottom (which I never plug anything in to) and a light switch on top (which I have seldom turned on even when I do walk in there because there's light coming in through the doorway). It has no ground screw, but does have one other extra screw; it's connected to both line and load with black & white, plus a red wire on the extra screw. If I leave it as it is, it stays ungrounded, but its modern counterparts don't have that extra screw so there's no possible way to just get a new one and connect it the same way the old one is (plus grounding).

    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    The extra wires not connected to the switch - are we talking one set of wires, with each individual wire capped by itself, or two (or more) sets of wires with wires from each set capped together? Switch, outlet, and fixture boxes are often also used as junction boxes.
    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    I think Sean is correct here. It's pretty typical to see a line run to the switch, then another run to the light/power receptacle. The hot (black or red) wires are connected to the switch with the neutral (white) and ground (green or bare) wires being connected together in the box with wire nuts.
    This box is part of the more troublesome case, and the one that I actually need to do something about; there's no real choice of possibly leaving it as it is like that last one.

    It's in the bathroom by the bathroom door, about four or five feet from the faucet. It controls the pair of light fixtures to the right & left of the mirror. One of those has a built-in two-prong socket which is also controlled by the same switch. It's angled downward toward the faucet less than two feet away. It has not only the faucet to the left but also the shower stall to the right not much farther away. The people who make GFCI outlets would not approve. The light fixtures don't work; I got new tubes for them and they didn't light up. But the socket does work. I have a tall lamp on the floor plugged in to that socket, which I never unplug. It's the only socket in the bathroom, so replacing the light fixtures with light fixtures that don't have sockets (not only on general principle but also because practically none are available with sockets anymore) would mean eliminating the room's only socket. Also, the light fixtures are bare old non-stainless metal with lots of rust dots, and the light switch is beige, so they're two different kinds of hideous.

    The light switch has no ground screw. It has two screws, which are currently connected with one black wire and one red wire. (Both wires for a switch looking "hot" seems normal; the switches themselves have only yellowish screws, no whitish/colorless ones.) The box contains unused ground wires and two other bundles of wires with a cap on each bundle, so those wires aren't connected to anything else but each other. One bundle includes a yellow wire. I have not yet pulled it all out enough to check for any crossover between the two bundles.

    So, if I got just a new switch, I could connect it the way the old one is (plus ground) simply enough without needing to figure anything else out in there. But then, once I replaced the light fixture, I'd have no socket in that room. On the other hand, I could get a socket-&-switch combo or a socket pair, and then the room would have its socket(s), but then I'd also need to see which cable in there has the hot & neutral I need for the socket, and, if it's a switch combo, I'd also need to sort out how to connect the lights to the switch, which isn't the same way they're connected now.
    Last edited by Delvo; 2020-Jun-15 at 02:08 AM.

  26. #1136
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    North Tonawanda, NY
    Posts
    3,828
    OK, the first circuit's outlets are all replaced and working perfectly, which means I got to turn that breaker on and turn the one for the next circuit off (which has three times as many switches/sockets to work on). Along with being able to plug things in the way they were meant to be now on the first circuit, and get a small air conditioner for the kitchen window, that also means the bathroom is dead, so I've finally pulled out the switch I was talking about and all its extra wires for a detailed look (with the same floor lamp now on an extension chord from the kitchen).

    The box behind the light switch has three cables going in & out of it: the power source line, one for the light fixtures, and one to another switch box I haven't mentioned before, for the fog fan, about a foot above and a few inches to the right. Each cable does contain a ground wire, which is tucked in the back of both boxes not touching the switches even though the fan switch does have a ground screw. All three neutrals are joined with a wire nut, and all three ground wires are joined with another one, with one of them doing a U-turn around the screw at the back of the box. A third wire nut has four wires together in it: all three hots and a short black segment to the light switch (which has no ground screw). The cable to the light fixtures (with the built-in two-slot socket) has a red wire that the other cables don't have, which is connected to the light switch's other screw.

    I thought the connections among the black & red wires looked strange because there seemed to be two potentially hot wires running to the light fixture: one straight from the nut where it touched the other hots, so it should be hot all the time, and one that went from the same wire nut through the light switch to the red wire to the light fixtures, so it should be hot only when the switch was on. That would make sense if the power socket built in to the right light fixture was always usable, but it wasn't; it only had power when the switch was on. But then, what was that extra black wire doing? What was in there that was always on? After pulling the light fixtures apart, I figured out that it wasn't me who was missing anything. As I had begun to suspect, inside the first fixture, the red and neutral wires had been connected all along, with the red treated as hot, and the black one had been capped alone all along just because it had nowhere to go. It was a hot wire to nothing. They'd used a cable with one more wire in it than they needed. (Actually, two, counting the ground, since the light fixture made no use of that either.) I can't get rid of the extra wires or put the light & fan switches together in one box without damaging the walls, but at least now that I know what's going on in there, it will be relatively simply to replace the light switch with a socket-&-switch combo and replace the beige fan switch with a new white one and properly ground everything, not too different from replacing sockets with sockets like I've already done.

    Also, the fan switch was clearly added more recently. It's much less dusty (almost dustless), the style of the equipment in it is different in several minor ways, and the switch is groundable. But the box with the light switch on it has all the wiring it needed for the fan switch if they'd just replaced the single switch with a duplex with two switches. The only reason not to do it that way is if you want to add a third thing like a socket or another switch somewhere, but they didn't. (This is a mistake that actually benefits me, because if they'd done it the sensible way, I wouldn't have a place to add a socket, so the room would be about to end up with no socket.)

    So the previous people who've worked on the bathroom's electrical stuff (in at least two separate rounds years apart) avoided grounding when they could have grounded, used a cable with too many wires so they had to cap one end of an extra but still connected its other end for no reason, set the whole arrangement up for a combination of something in the light fixtures that would respond to the switch and something else that wouldn't even though the former was all there was, and tore apart some of the wall & added a whole new box for a second switch when there was no need for any more than a simple replacement part in the original box. And this is in the same place where grounding was laborioiusly avoided everywhere else too (except for one properly-installed GFCI above the kitchen counter), and some sockets were connected top-to-bottom or corner-to-corner instead of bottom-to-top, and sockets & their mounting screws were painted over, and the whole front room that was once part of a porch was left on the same breaker with the porch light when they enclosed it so all my electricity in that room is coming from the building's general breaker box (together with the stairwells and basement) instead of my own apartment's.
    Last edited by Delvo; 2020-Jun-16 at 10:27 AM.

  27. #1137
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    8,912
    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    After pulling the light fixtures apart, I figured out that it wasn't me who was missing anything. As I had begun to suspect, inside the first fixture, the red and neutral wires had been connected all along, with the red treated as hot, and the black one had been capped alone all along just because it had nowhere to go. It was a hot wire to nothing. They'd used a cable with one more wire in it than they needed.
    Maybe they wanted to allow for being able to change the power socket in the light fixture to be always on. For that matter, maybe it was originally wired as always on, and somebody changed it so the power socket was also switched.
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  28. #1138
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    The Great NorthWet
    Posts
    15,531
    The cables with the red, white, and black wires are for use when you have two switches controlling one light.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  29. #1139
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Posts
    8,912
    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    The cables with the red, white, and black wires are for use when you have two switches controlling one light.
    Normally, yes, but you wouldn't normally run them to the lighting fixture - they just go between the switches. They were used for some other reason in Delvo's case.
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  30. #1140
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    North Tonawanda, NY
    Posts
    3,828
    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    Those screws have been in there for years and don't want to budge. I've gotten one out so far by holding a screwdriver in one hand and turning it with a pair of pliers in the other.
    About half-way through the whole project now, a couple that I've done since then were too stuck for that trick, but by then I'd already tested & confirmed an even better trick: a swab with the tip soaked in CLR. That makes a shockingly huge difference! In one box so far the screw holding the ground wires to the back of the box was impossible to unscrew even with that, so all I could do with that one was clip the wires off from it and connect the loose ends straight to each other and to the socket's green screw. That's still grounded, and the circuit tester confirmed it, but grounding only 1 way felt wrong after I'd been grounding the others 2 ways until then.

Similar Threads

  1. VA Hospital Adventures
    By BigDon in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 2012-Apr-24, 06:24 PM
  2. Adventures of Mr. X in the Marketing World
    By a1call in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 2010-Oct-09, 08:59 PM
  3. Scotch Mount Adventures
    By drlit in forum Astronomical Observing, Equipment and Accessories
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 2009-Apr-20, 05:50 PM
  4. Motorcycle Adventures
    By crosscountry in forum Off-Topic Babbling
    Replies: 44
    Last Post: 2006-Feb-27, 02:52 AM
  5. Adventures in Woo-Woo Land
    By jaeger in forum Against the Mainstream
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 2004-Mar-29, 05:29 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •