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joe_347V
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« Reply #2760 on: March 20, 2017, 12:13:51 AM »

I'm mostly into HID and the older or the oddball fluorescents. I'm fine with LED but I consider them to be expendable so I use them in fixtures that don't have much collection value. Low wattage HID is also quite interesting.

I don't mind seeing a retrofitted 8ft slimline as long as they didn't totally butcher the fixture trying to install the retrofit. I prefer retrofitting with 8' T8s but properly installed T8 tandem kits are passable.

I found some pretty nice HID finds at Restore today, got a 175w GE made in US merc from 1998 and a 450w 120v Durotest PS coated SBMV, both appear to be NOS or very lightly used.
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« Reply #2761 on: March 20, 2017, 12:15:56 AM »

Same here, I don't mind the T8 retrofits; what I DO mind are the chop jobs.
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« Reply #2762 on: March 20, 2017, 07:31:49 AM »

With HID indoors, you often find places way overlit. I think since it's lower CRI you need the extra light to make the store not look dingy? Not sure...

I'm primarily into street lighting (including utility-grade flood lighting and area lighting [aka NEMAs]) but I also like HIDs in general and most magnetic fluorescent fixtures (even some T8s if they're a cool enough design). I also like some traffic signals. Not into specific brands of them but I'd like to emulate RIDOT set-ups, particularly their R-Y-Y 12-12-8 crosswalk set-up.
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« Reply #2763 on: March 20, 2017, 09:17:42 AM »

I am mainly interested in outdoor and street lighting too. Fluorescent just doesn't interest me that much.
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« Reply #2764 on: March 20, 2017, 08:14:51 PM »

I also like low-wattage incandescent street lights too. I have a late 50s Wheeler crescent moon (sometimes called bird claw) shade light. I'd LOVE to get my hands on a radial wave that is in decent shape (not rotted through and tarnished on the underside) but most left out there today are rotting away. Some teenager would throw a rock at the light or shoot it with a BB gun to blow the bulb out for fun and chip off the ceramic coating on the reflector. The exposed steel would rust and eventually rot through. If the chip was on top, water might even collect and the rust might spread all over.

The amazing thing about the glazed ceramic/porcelain reflectors is that after decades of crap building up on them, as long as there are no chips in the glazing, they will come clean as new with a nice soapy soaked cloth (non-abrasive is a must!) and relatively little effort. Painted reflectors or exposed aluminum reflectors with no enclosure (i.e. refractor with gasket) will tarnish. With painted reflectors a new coat of paint solves the problem but with bare aluminum reflectors, other than sanding it down and buffing it out, there's not much you can do. I usually just hit it with some really fine grit sandpaper that's been soaked in water and gently sand it. It usually lifts off most of the tarnishing without leaving huge gouges in the metal.
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« Reply #2765 on: March 31, 2017, 05:33:34 PM »

Interesting!  I have several normal metal fluorescent fixtures I'd like to restore.

Mike, Remember how we were joking about rewiring my house?  Well, my dad is about to do just that.  He's living there right now and apparently there is a short circuit someplace.  We have a couple ideas of where it may be but he bought 250' of white #14 and is going to try to replace some of it, getting rid of some of the seven different genres/flavors of wiring in our house.  Loomex without a ground, 70s black NM, Essex white #14 and #12 from the 90s, early '00s white stuff, several different flavors of SJTW, and even some #10 UF direct burial inside the walls. It's a real mess.  At least some of it might have new wire- if not and the problem turns out to be something else, now we have lots of #14. 

If I were him I'd have bought yellow #12, since a lot of it is #12, though I suppose considering the main part of the house branch circuits has never tripped a 20 amp breaker it should be fine.  Some of the branch circuits have 30 amp breakers, the main would trip first if anything happened! 

The stuff done in the '90s was decently done,  I'd say.  But it feeds some older parts of the house that still use other, older genres like '50s-'60s Loomex (and yet the house isn't even that old, it likely came from somewhere else) and some other stuff which isn't very nice.  Opening boxes can sometimes lead to "shocking" (pardon the pun) surprises like the time I discovered we had Loomex live and in use when I opened a box to tag into it for more outlets. 

Some done in the early, early 2000s is JUST OK, the wire isn't secured.  Some of my additions are probably decent, though not exactly code worthy most likely, and some additions of mine were never finished and thus plugged into existing outlets using Romex wire on plugs since I wasn't ready to tear into existing junctions, and would need bigger boxes.

There's even modern, yellow Romex in use in some stuff I've done, but it was all re-used wire I salvaged from another demolition job.  (It was recent stuff though so I figured it was OK). 

With our house, 250 feet of wire might not get you particularly far in terms of rewiring the whole place, but might at least get rid of some of the old or re-used wire.  If it were me I'd use #12 but I suppose I could always pull new wire later for EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING that's #12 yellow.  And redo the breaker board. 
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« Reply #2766 on: March 31, 2017, 11:02:51 PM »

Hmm yeah I would've gone with 12-gauge too, with 14-gauge used only for lighting and dedicated outlets for the fridge, microwave, etc. Make sure he uses 15A breakers then if he's going with 14awg wire. Is he ripping out the walls and everything too or "snaking" the wires? If he's actually ripping the walls out it might be a good idea to look into the NEC and try to follow that best he can. Even though the codes are probably not enforceable in your area, if he's going through all the effort to rip out the walls and get rid of the old stuff, might as well make it as close to code as possible without going too far out of your way like moving the breaker panel or something. But stuff like separating lighting and receptacle circuits (which isn't really a code thing but just convenience so you don't loose your lights if an outlet gets overloaded) and keep each room on its own circuit (again not really a code thing, just convenience).

One thing that comes to mind is that kitchens are *supposed* to have two 20A circuits supplying countertop space (no lighting on this circuit or outlets outside the kitchen, and stuff like the fridge and wall-mounted microwaves serving as a range hood must both have their own 15A circuit per code, plus it just makes sense, as you don't want your fridge tripping out lol) and bathrooms are supposed to have a dedicated 20A circuit. 1 bathroom can have one 20A circuit for the outlets and lighting or two bathrooms can share one 20A outlet circuit and have the lighting on a separate lighting circuit (a lighting circuit is a 15a circuit serving only lighting/ceiling fans as defined by the code).

I can't think of any other major things. GFCIs *should* be used in the kitchen, bathroom, garage, basement, outdoors, and some special places, however an exception to GFCI protection in kitchens is dedicated receptacles (for fridge, microwave, dishwasher, stove) that are specifically for one appliance and can't be used for anything else, which is good since again, you don't want your fridge unnecessarily being shut off lol.

Wiring projects are fun! If you didn't live thousands of miles away I'd offer to go help your dad. Grin LOL

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« Reply #2767 on: April 01, 2017, 01:52:35 AM »

We've since decided after another phone conversation we're gonna just rewire as much of the house as we can.  This includes moving the breaker board OUT OF THE BATHROOM.

Downstairs will be easier, we're gonna just run everything through the crawlspace and come up through the floor, slight snaking needed but not much.  This means we'll be able to reuse the existing outlet boxes, nothing wrong with the existing boxes.  I'm going to recommend we do a separate lighting circuit with the #14 he bought already, 15a should cover all the lighting or shold we do two circuits for lighting? 

Upstairs may be somewhat more difficult, but much of it comes up through one shared wall with the kitchen so snaking could be relatively easy there, tape the new wire to the old and pull the old stuff out pulling new in.  For my bedroom the one wall should be easy but the other and some of the ceiling lights in the house may involve tearing up some sheetrock. 

You say I can (by code) legally use #14 for the fridge and the stove? I'd like to go 20a for all the other room circuits to allow overhead for electric space heaters to be used if need be. 

Washer and dryer are on another circuit hooked directly to the generator, not part of the main house panel, so that probably won't get replaced. 

Doing the lighting circuit separate may mean more cost but I'd prefer it that way for the reason you described.  Overloading an outlet won't plunge a whole room or two rooms into darkness, and even if the lighting circuit develops a fault there's some table lamps that still work so you're kept out of the dark. 

Might also finally make the two screwed up 3-way switch installs in the house actually work as intended!  Grin

Ideas for pulling wire behind drywall without tearing up walls/ceilings if at all possible?  My dad is a 70 year old retired carpenter so he knows his stuff too but any other ideas are welcome. 

LOL, if you could afford to pay for your plane ticket there and back and to feed yourself for however long,  you should come visit and help me pull wire all summer long in the evenings after work and on weekends. (My dad will be working much of the summer too, out of town, so with a larger magnitude project I'd LOVE the help).  I would LOVE to have someone who really knows their codes and construction stuff inside out come help, but you might just go insane seeing my house and all its issues. 

One friend of ours who will be visiting us this summer actually grew up in our house from like '94-'02.   (We know his mom, the person we bought it from).  He's a fully licensed/bonded electrician who did lots of marine electrical for my dad on a previous project.  Perhaps if he's in town for a week I can get him to come visit and make him a couple meals in exchange for someone to help me pull Romex and make sure I'm doing it right. Or at least look at what's there and offer other ideas on what to do to fix what isn't feasible to replace that's buried in walls/ceilings.  We decided we're redoing everything because we don't know exactly where the problem lies and there's numerous marginal/sketchy/overloaded/just plain OLD areas using materials long since outlawed by modern codes.  (tiny metal boxes, '50s era "Loomex", etc). 

That said all the existing fixtures with '70s-'80s Universal and Advance ballasts will stay, just connected to new wiring.  If this goes as planned the ONE good thing about my house that will meet code is the wiring; the rest of the house will still have its fare share of issues.
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« Reply #2768 on: April 01, 2017, 09:34:19 AM »

Yeah running the wires through the basement would be easier. Kudos for going through the trouble to move the breaker box! lol

Yeah existing boxes can be reused. Not sure how many lights are in your house, but you should lay the circuit out as if you were using incandescent lamps one wattage higher than the max rating on each fixture (if all your fixtures say use max 60W incandescents, lay everything out as if you were using 75W incandescents, which would give you room to spare if you ever added lighting in). I personally would separate the lighting between upstairs and downstairs just so you don't have one cable going all through the house. It would be a PITA to troubleshoot if something went wrong since you'd have no lighting in the house! I'd put outdoor lighting on its own circuit too, since that's where shorts and other problems are most likely to occur. You don't want an outdoor fixture keeping your lights off!

For the fridge, yes, if it's a dedicated outlet, you can use a 15A. For a GAS stove, you can also use a dedicated 15A outlet (uses 120V for the ignition, time/timer, etc. and I'm not even sure if that one has to be dedicated, but it would make sense to prevent nuisance tripping, as it would otherwise have to be GFCI protected) but for a 240V stove I'm not sure. I'm not sure what rating breaker by electric stove has. I'll have to check...

Good luck on fixing that 3-way switch! They're a PITA to wire up since you need 3-cable wire (black, red, white, plus ground). Can't use regular romex for that. I can't help you with snaking wires though. I HATE doing that lol. Takes a LOT of patience and practice. I'd rather just rip out the wall LOL. Part of your house should be fairly easy though, since don't you have some T1-11 or plywood for walls in part of the house? Would be pretty easy to unscrew it or pop the nails out to get full access to the wiring. That's where drywall sucks lol.
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« Reply #2769 on: April 01, 2017, 02:12:48 PM »

Yeah, my dad is thinking let's do "home run" through the crawlspace, AKA every wire ends up back at the breaker box, but I don't see necessity in that. We'll need a huge panel if that's the case but each receptacle on its own dedicated 15a or 20a would be wonderful.  I wonder if in that case you could legally get away with #14 for EVERYTHING if EVERY outlet was on its own breaker?  Shocked

I was looking at the NEC and they say 3 watts per square foot for a lighting circuit.  So I'll probably need at least 3.  Perhaps one for the garage/shop, one for the rest of downstairs, and another for upstairs?  Perhaps a fourth for some outdoor lighting but that's gonna be a lot of work so I'll likely just put all that on the downstairs lighting circuit. 

Yes, my range is propane, and pretty old/primative, it only has the electronic ignition, not even an oven light! 

For hot water I currently have coils in a small diesel stove but that whole arrangement is eventually changing.  I plan to wire up the electric element in the storage tank, a normal 50 gallon electric water heater, but that will be off just one of my generators, which also needs a redone panel.  30A and #10 wire should work for that no problem, I've seen it done before.

For my inverter/charger/transfer to the house panel I'll probably go 120v/30A strictly on the basis of probably only being able to fit #10 wire on the terminals of the inverter/charger/transfer switch unit.  This one doesn't have a separate feed for the charger, which when starting to charge dead batteries easily pulls as much as 1500 watts by itself.  When I had only 2000 watts worth of generator, I had to let the batteries come up before turning on any large loads; sure I could run a few lights, etc. in the house but that was it for the first bit.  Because of the way that unit is wired I'd probably put it on a 30a 120v breaker, so even when charging dead batteries the house has as much as 15A worth of usable power besides that.  Also #10 going into the new panel and a 30a main there, so with fully charged batteries I should be able to use 30a. Then 15a for the lighting circuits, refrigerator, stove, etc, and 20a for outlets.   Another 20a breaker in the generator-only panel would power the washer/dryer circuit, and another for some chest freezers out in the garage/shop.  But that second panel would probably be another phase of the job after I move that generator elsewhere.  Perhaps also run another 20a breaker off the inverter panel for each future outbuilding, two of them to be exact.  There I might put the lights and outlets on the same breaker, it's not the main house. 
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« Reply #2770 on: April 01, 2017, 06:28:52 PM »

Nah having every outlet on its own switch is a little ridiculous for a dwelling lol. One 20A breaker per room would be sufficient (even 1 15A breaker would be sufficient unless you're a real energy pig). I personally don't like having more than one breaker per room for outlets since it can get confusing when work is done on the electrical (i.e. a person might shut off one breaker for a bedroom and not realize there's another breaker for the same room and get juiced or on the flip side, a person might not know which breaker to flip off if there are two labeled for the same room). However, it does have the benefit of only loosing half a room if you trip a breaker.

On the same token, I don't like sharing breakers between rooms unless they're the same kind of room (such as two smaller sized bedrooms). Something like a hallway outlet I'd just tap into whatever circuit is powering the outlets in the room on the other side of the wall (unless it's the bathroom; that's a no-no).

My basement has all the outlets on one 15A breaker (for the finished portion that is; it's like 14 outlets or something). We've never tripped it since we don't use the majority of the outlets down there (they're inaccessible with stuff in the way anyway; we have two that we use for temporary stuff like vacuuming the rugs or me testing lights and we have one quad outlet for the TV and stereo and one outlet for the computer, shredder, printer, wifi modem, and downstairs phone, all on a power strip (well the phone is plugged directly into the other outlet on the duplex with everything else plugged into the power strip, which s plugged into the duplex outlet.

Since you don't have a full basement this is a bit of a moot point, but I'm a big fan of quad outlets at "light switch level" in an unfinished basement. In a finished basement the outlets look weird higher up but for unfinished basements it's really handy for a future workshop or if you have stuff stacked against the walls it doesn't necessarily block the outlets.

Not sure if I could deal with living off-grid. Sure it's doable but it sounds like a real pain in the butt lol. Having to charge batteries and all that. I'd rather just pay the electric bil every month and just use electricity at my convenience. Of course, since you have no power company in your area you don't have a choice. I bet wind power looks appealing to you though! (maybe solar in the summer but it would be pretty useless in the winter months up there lol, I'd imagine you get a decent amount of wind year-round though?) Of course, you still have all the extra "stuff" to deal with but you'd get rid of the diesel generator (or at least it would be supplemented by the wind power or whatever green source you consider). You might even be able to set up a wind-powered lighting system in your house for 12V lighting if that's feasible. Would be cool for sure! 12V LEDs tend to have the flicker issues but there are probably better ones out there that do not. Of course, that's not allowing for your fluorescents to be used. So perhaps the 12v LED lighting would be for night lighting or just in certain areas of the house?

Honestly, I'd love to have a bunch of small output LEDs on the ceiling and have a "starry night sky" look but at light levels of a typical home. Basically the whole ceiling covered in lights but not a true luminous ceiling, as those give me that "sterile hospital" vibe lol.
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« Reply #2771 on: April 01, 2017, 08:25:51 PM »

The person who did a bunch of wiring in the '90s at our house put in a crap ton of the quad-plex outlets.  While overkill they are handy.  I know who it was and had the privelage of asking "Why'd you do that?" and was told it was because back then "Wall warts" were so big they'd take up a whole receptacle.

We have a wind generator and since I've been there Dad has since added some solar, so we're getting there alternative energy wise, but a long way to go nevertheless! 

Ya know, maybe I should consider going low voltage LED lighting, but right now I just want to fix the existing system, keep it 120v.

And I personally love the luminous ceiling concept in those 50s/60s/70s/80s kitchens! I grew up in a house with such a setup from '88. I'd recreate that in a new install if I could. 
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« Reply #2772 on: April 01, 2017, 09:09:37 PM »

If I were to have a luminous ceiling I'd want it to be capable of 6500K lighting and 3000K lighting (using separately switched fluorescent tubes I suppose) so I could use the 6500K during the day for that "daylight" look and 3000K at night for a more cozy feeling. I don't like cooler temperatures in "living spaces" at nighttime. Feels cold and uninviting to me. But during the daytime warmer light looks drab and boring.
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« Reply #2773 on: April 01, 2017, 09:13:57 PM »

That's a really interesting idea actually!

Guess what Mike?  I bought more of the GE halogens, this time old-stock Mexican ones from 2012, pre-modified-spectrum.  1490 lumens!   Grin
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« Reply #2774 on: April 01, 2017, 10:26:21 PM »

Oh wow 1490 lumens? Sounds good! Not quite as good as 1600L 100W incandescent but still better than the crap they've got now lol.
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