Re-wiring a wall fixture

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Old 04-09-17, 08:06 PM
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Re-wiring a wall fixture

I purchased a unique wall fixture with standard E26 light sockets. My intent is to use this device with Vintage LED bulbs (probably 3 or 4 watts each bulb).
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I really like the design and set-up of this fixture. Unfortunately, it is a very cheap Chinese make that was so poorly packed that it sustained some damage (pipes cut into some of the wires during transit) .

This item is not UL listed and the wires seem thin to me (not that I am an expert on this, but even if the wires were not damaged in transit I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable with this). Also, there is no normal way to mount this on a standard electrical box. It is designed to screw into the wall with pipe sleeves (not made for an electrical box).

Nevertheless, the fixture is unique enough that I am considering re-wiring as a DIY project so long as I can also find a safe way to mount it too.

My Questions:
1. What gauge of wire should I use to re-wire this?

2. I was thinking of converting the water valve to a rotary on/off switch (a DIY add-on). Thus, I am wondering that if I run my Romex into the pipe near the rotary switch that I would add, if it would be reasonable idea to make my Romex connection there (inside the pipe since there is no wall box)? Is this a bad idea? I suppose this would be dangerous because if a cap ever came loose, it could make the pipe itself live.

Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions on how I might safely still use this I would appreciate your suggestions. Otherwise, maybe I should just return it.

This gives you an idea as to how thin the wires are. These wires came out of the socket during transport.
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Here is the socket with the missing wires. I'd have to get new wires into these empty terminals. I am guessing that the hot wire goes to the center of the socket?

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Thanks for your thoughts on this.
 
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Old 04-09-17, 08:37 PM
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There is always a risk in DIY light fixtures. There is no UL or similar approvals so if a fire can be directly attributed to have been caused by the fixture an insurance adjuster could raise a flag and deny coverage.

That aside. I would not hardwire the fixture into the wall. I would wire it with a three wire cord/plug and ground the metal pipework.

Those wires had crimps on them (red arrow) and then were crimped (blue arrow) into the sockets. You could probably solder the wiring to the crimp terminals.

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Normally the wiring inside of fixtures is smaller than house wiring. It can be #16- #20 based on type of insulation.
 
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Old 04-10-17, 05:25 AM
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Thanks for the reply and the great info. That would work fine for sure. We were hoping to avoid the external cord as we felt it would look better without that hanging from the wall too (the wires currently exit the pipe at the pipe sleeve near the water valve... I'd have to cut an exit for an external cord). Thus, I was thinking that I was able to add a rotary switch to the water valve (or some kind of switch to this device), it would then allow us to control it if it were hard wired. What makes this tempting is that there just happens to be a power junction box in the basement along the wall directly below the very spot where we want to put this. About 8 feel of Romex would do it if we were to hard wire it. Still a bad idea?
 
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Old 04-10-17, 06:00 AM
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What is the diameter of the two floor flanges.
 
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Old 04-10-17, 06:45 AM
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Here is a shot of what I think you are asking for. This is the flange where the wires exit the pipe that are supposed to tie into your power (notice how they conveniently spray painted them too). Seem very thin to support 5 bulbs anyway.


The smaller inner hole is about 1.25 inches in diameter
The edge of the outer plate is about 2 and 3/4 inches diameter.

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Old 04-10-17, 07:26 AM
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I don't like the idea but I was with reservations thinking of mounting them to octagon junction boxes flush with the wall but you would have to fasten the flanges to blank covers because of the diameter. Of course the covers could be painted. That though would get away from cord and plug. Perhaps a 10 amp fuse in the junction box feed from an AFCI. Not really convinced this is a good idea.
 
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Old 04-11-17, 04:53 AM
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Thanks for your help with this and for your candor about your safety concerns. It seems to me that if I build it properly using 16-18 gage wires, making sure it is properly grounded, etc. that it would be safe to use (UL listed or not if it is properly built it is not likely to start a fire). My intent is to use this with 3 watt bulbs (LEDs that mimic vintage bulbs). I am no electrician however so in the end I will bend to your instincts on this for peace of mind sake.

I could add an AFCI switch near the basement junction box to control this (and then perhaps just use a wireless switch to control the fixture (wireless switch tied in to the box where the fixture will be mounted… not sure how long these really last though but maybe start with this to avoid adding a home made switch in the fixture) . I really like the extra precaution you recommended of adding a 10 amp fuse to the wall box feeding the fixture.

Nevertheless, if even with these precautions you still have doubts about the safety of using this, maybe I should just forget it. I could still return it. We really like this unique fixture but in the end I'd like to sleep peacefully knowing that I am not being foolish about this too. I really appreciate the time you took to help me work through this idea.
 

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Old 04-11-17, 08:00 PM
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The lack of UL listing aside the things I would consider to rewire the fixture:

1) The fixture needs to have some way to properly connect to a standard electrical box. You might be able to get a larger flange and reduce the hole down to 1/2-3/4". A better option is to adapt a electrical canopy that will screw directly to a electrical box or round mud ring.

2) A separate set of wires should be run from each socket to the canopy/flange mentioned above. Since they will carry a small load each they could be smaller wires like you show.

3) All metal of the fixture needs to be properly grounded.
 
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Old 04-11-17, 09:37 PM
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To add here is what I was talking about. Similar to what Tolyn is suggesting. Source of the cover plate in my illustration is: https://www.lighthousesupply.com/ele...cal-box-cover/ I'd put one under each flange fastened to an octagon box. You only need one junction box with wires so the other cover plate could be to an empty octagon box.

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I'd use a fan rated old work box for the top flange.

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Old 04-12-17, 05:43 PM
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Nice find Ray!
 
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Old 04-13-17, 04:34 AM
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You guys are awesome . The cover plate and box links are much appreciated... perfect (I wondered about the box placement relative to where the studs are located...it looks like that would do the trick).

I notified the company of the damage in shipping (it was packaged so poorly that it nearly guarantees damage). The finish is chipped in a couple of places and the ends of the pipes cut into the sheath exposing wires in a couple of places. The company offered me a 50% credit as an option if I were to accept it in its current condition. Thus, for $69 this will make a nice DIY project.

I am studying soldering currently to prepare (I have soldered in the past but never with a/c wiring). The wires were crimped before at the socket in this fixture (. I am wondering if I should attempt to re-use those crimps with the new wires if possible in addition to soldering it (i.e. have a physical connection to the socket before soldering it?).

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Old 04-14-17, 06:08 PM
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Soldering on AC is the same as DC. Just typically larger wires. I would try to use the crimp connections. Just strip the wire and crimp them down using a needle nose pliers. Just remember hot (black) to the center part of the socket, Neutral to the screw shell.
 
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Old 04-29-17, 04:53 AM
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Re-Wire Steampunk Wall Fixture... choosing the right wire

Mode note: This thread was merged with an earlier one since it seems to be the same topic.

Greetings,

I am going to re-wire a steampunk wall fixture that has 5 E26 light sockets (the fixture consists of steampunk industrial metal pipes with 5 light sockets and by default is not grounded). It arrived damaged (pipes cut into some of the wires during transport so it really needs to be gutted). This fixture is intended to be used for ambience. I will use it with low power LED E26 bulbs that mimic vintage Edison bulbs (2-3 watt each bulb). However, I would like to include 2 non-LED bulbs (25 watt true vintage Edison tube bulbs). I am thinking I should wire this to be able to safely handle 60 watts each socket (just in case the house passes to someone else in the future… I can put a mailing label on it warning not to exceed 60 watts each socket, etc.).

The plan is to re-wire wire each of the 5 sockets individually bringing all of the pairs through the fixture to the wall workbox, where they will be connected to standard 12g Romex using appropriately sized wingnuts (Also planning on placing a wireless switch in the workbox box to act as the on/off switch for this fixture (the wireless switch I chose includes a 10amp fuse which is built into this switch). It gives me a little more confidence knowing that this all has to pass through a 10amp fuse. Note that the breaker for this circuit leading to the workbox is 15amp.

I will also be adding a ground wire to the fixture. I think what I need to do is attach the ground wire from my Romex to the pipe of the fixture (also test at the workbox itself to verify that it is truly grounded properly in the 1st place).

Question: What kind of wire should I use within the fixture?

I know that that your wire is NOT supposed to be the “weak link” in the chain (since the breaker for the line leading to the workbox is 15A, presuming the wire should be able to handle nothing less than 15 amps… again, the 10amp fuse in the wireless switch at the workbox gives me a little more peace of mind here). Nevertheless, I know that it is common for even UL light fixtures to use 16-18g wires within the fixture itself, but I am hesitant to just grab some low-voltage wire at Lowes or to get some 16-18g THHHN wire from Home Depot until I get input from someone who really knows what they are doing! What kind of wire should I use?

Many Thanks
 

Last edited by ray2047; 04-29-17 at 05:14 AM.
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Old 04-29-17, 05:12 AM
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Since this seems to be a continuation of your previous thread I have merged them.
 
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Old 04-29-17, 06:15 AM
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Low voltage wire should not be used as the insulation is not rated for "normal" 120 volts.

Article 402 of the NEC covers fixture wires. If you are running a separate set of wires for each socket 18 AWG wires should work fine. I would also recommend stranded for ease of installation. TFN or TFFN appears to be a common wire used in fixtures.
 
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Old 04-29-17, 06:28 AM
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You can try hardware stores but you may have to try a lighting store to find fixture wire by the foot. An electric motor shop might be willing to sell you some also. Home Depot has it in some stores but not showing by the foot in a quick check.
 
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Old 04-29-17, 06:45 AM
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It sounds then like TFN or TFFN = Fixture wire (I would buy 18 AWG version). If Home Depot does not carry this I'll try our local Gross Electric lighting store (Toledo area). Many Thanks!
 
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Old 04-29-17, 07:16 AM
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TFN or TFFN = Fixture wire
There are many other fixture wires out there. It just seems that TFN/TFFN is commonly available.
 
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