Saturday, January 24, 2015

Progress report...

Progress report...  Debbie and I worked on upgrading the lighting in the cattery today.  The existing lighting is four sets of 6' long track lighting, each with four wimpy 25 watt spot lights – 400 watts total for a 500+ square foot room.  That's not enough!  We're replacing each track light with a fixture that holds three 100 watt bulbs, so we'll end up with 1,200 watts of light.  Since we're using LED lamps, that means we'll really have about 150 watts of electricity used, to produce the same amount of light as 1200 watts of incandescent bulbs.

But...that's not going to happen until we get all those fixtures up, and naturally that's harder than we expected.  When I took down the first track lighting, I discovered that the previous owner had installed a chintzy wall box (intended for outlets, and not very good even for that!), totally unsuitable for hanging a heavy ceiling fixture from.  It was unsuitable (and not compliant with code) even for the danged track lighting, but for a normal ceiling fixture it would be downright dangerous.  So it was off to the hardware store to buy a new junction box designed for the intended purpose.  Actually, I wanted to buy four of them, since I figured that all four fixtures would have the same problem.  Alas, they only had two in stock.

We spent the next couple of hours wrestling the old junction boxes out of the ceiling without enlarging the 4" hole.  This involved hammers, chisels, pliers, and creative swearing (mostly at the previous owner, may lice of 1,000 jihadists infest him).  Then I installed the new boxes (easy when you have the right one!) and Debbie held up the new fixtures while I wired them up.  We got two up today – installed correctly – and we'll put the other two up once we can lay our hands on a couple more ceiling junction boxes of the type we need.

What should have been a 30 minute job ended up taking most of the day.  Sheesh!  But the new fixtures put out a nice, even lighting – perfect for the cattery.

I did one other thing today that I've been putting off: testing the two network cables we buried, running between the house and the barn.  I have a Fluke MS2-100 network cable tester – a lovely piece of kit – so this was an easy thing to do.  I had Debbie in the basement on the phone to change the reflector (part of the tester) from one cable to the other, while I was out in the barn with the main part of the tester.  Both cables tested out as 100% good, which I'm actually a little surprised at.  Those cables are 4' underground, laid over uneven trench bottom that has some rocks, and then covered with soil that I drove over (with my tractor) to compact.  I wouldn't have been a bit surprised if both were damaged, but it looks like they survived intact.  Yay!  My backup plan was to run a radio link between the two buildings, but the cable will give me a much faster link...

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