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Old 11-23-2014, 07:39 PM   #1
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Ceiling light installation questions.


We had to replace our entryway light yesterday and after a few hiccups got it up. First off it had an old fiberglass box from whent he house was built in the late 70's that was basically hanging there on nothing. Took it out and put a Saf-T-Brace hanger with the metal box in it. Then of course the wires were just barely long enough to get to the box (12-3 big round black insulated stuff as the light in on a three way switch). Had to go through the knockouts that line up with the box hanger mounting bolts. The wires are sitting up against the bottom of the bolts as I can't bend the wires down enough not to. I do have the wires in far enough that the outer insulation sheath is what is touching the bolts. Should be OK. I used these cable connectors in the box.



The feeder grounds were pretty short, so I pigtailed onto them, ran it to the ground screw on the light strap, secured, and tied the end to the pigtail to the ground wire from the fixture. I had to use a flat washer, tooth washer, and nut between the strap and the box to make the canopy bolts stick out far enough as well. I mounted the strap using the 10-24 fan bolts and it is secure and tight. I get good ground continuity between the strap and the box, strap and the feeder grounds, and box and feeder grounds. Would it have been better to take the pigtail to the box then rely on the strap bolts to supply the ground to the fixture? It was hard enough getting all the three-way wiring back into the box.

EDIT:
I finally found some of the larger box Saf-t-braces so I think I may switch the one I installed out for the larger box for more room. One thing that still is a problem is that the hanger bolts sit right in front of the knockout. Can I cut down the bolts so there is some clearance there for the 12-3 wire as long as the threads reach thru the whole nut? I was always under the impression that the minimum thread engagement for a nut was the diameter of the bolt. Shortening them 3/8" would give the knockout full clearance and let the bolt stick out past the nut by 1/8" or so.

Or would it be easier to drill a couple of new holes in the top of the box so the bolts don't line up right in front of the knockouts? The side knockouts would then effectively become "corner" knockouts

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Last edited by Blooze; 11-23-2014 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 11-24-2014, 06:47 AM   #2
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Ceiling light installation questions.


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We had to replace our entryway light yesterday and after a few hiccups got it up. First off it had an old fiberglass box from whent he house was built in the late 70's that was basically hanging there on nothing. Took it out and put a Saf-T-Brace hanger with the metal box in it. Then of course the wires were just barely long enough to get to the box (12-3 big round black insulated stuff as the light in on a three way switch). Had to go through the knockouts that line up with the box hanger mounting bolts. The wires are sitting up against the bottom of the bolts as I can't bend the wires down enough not to. I do have the wires in far enough that the outer insulation sheath is what is touching the bolts. Should be OK. I used these cable connectors in the box.



The feeder grounds were pretty short, so I pigtailed onto them, ran it to the ground screw on the light strap, secured, and tied the end to the pigtail to the ground wire from the fixture. I had to use a flat washer, tooth washer, and nut between the strap and the box to make the canopy bolts stick out far enough as well. I mounted the strap using the 10-24 fan bolts and it is secure and tight. I get good ground continuity between the strap and the box, strap and the feeder grounds, and box and feeder grounds. Would it have been better to take the pigtail to the box then rely on the strap bolts to supply the ground to the fixture? It was hard enough getting all the three-way wiring back into the box.

EDIT:
I finally found some of the larger box Saf-t-braces so I think I may switch the one I installed out for the larger box for more room. One thing that still is a problem is that the hanger bolts sit right in front of the knockout. Can I cut down the bolts so there is some clearance there for the 12-3 wire as long as the threads reach thru the whole nut? I was always under the impression that the minimum thread engagement for a nut was the diameter of the bolt. Shortening them 3/8" would give the knockout full clearance and let the bolt stick out past the nut by 1/8" or so.

Or would it be easier to drill a couple of new holes in the top of the box so the bolts don't line up right in front of the knockouts? The side knockouts would then effectively become "corner" knockouts

*I have had that problem with the bolts interfering on occasion. Those fan boxes are made from a very hard steel so drilling can be time consuming, but not impossible. I usually use an Arlington Industries plastic button type romex connector as they just snap in and do not come in contact with the bolts.

John Grabowski

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Old 11-24-2014, 07:43 AM   #3
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*I have had that problem with the bolts interfering on occasion. Those fan boxes are made from a very hard steel so drilling can be time consuming, but not impossible. I usually use an Arlington Industries plastic button type romex connector as they just snap in and do not come in contact with the bolts.

John Grabowski
I tried to use the Arlington snap in connectors but couldn't get the round 12-3 through it. The cable is big enough that the bolts are still in the way. if it was 12-2 I don't think I'd be having this problem. At this point it's either drill new holes or shorten the bolts.
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Old 11-24-2014, 12:16 PM   #4
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Ceiling light installation questions.


I ended up just putting two nuts on the bolts and cutting them off with a Dremel. Put a slight bevel on the end edge and smoothed the end up. This will leave about 1/8" of bolt sticking above the locking nuts that came with the kit and will only be about 1/8" into the knockout space. Should work fine for a 4lb light fixture and leave enough space for the wire.

Since I'll have to attach the light crossbar to the ears instead of the fan mounts, like I did the shallow box, I'll need to space out the crossbar with some washers so the light bolts will be long enough to attach the canopy (has those little round knurled nuts on the outside of the canopy that holds the whole light up), unless there's some way to get longer bolts. My ceiling has about 1/8" of texture mud on it so the box is that much short of being flush and makes the bolts that much too short. Grrr. I'd rather have longer bolts I need to cut to fit.
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Old 11-24-2014, 04:52 PM   #5
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Ceiling light installation questions.


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Originally Posted by Blooze View Post
I ended up just putting two nuts on the bolts and cutting them off with a Dremel. Put a slight bevel on the end edge and smoothed the end up. This will leave about 1/8" of bolt sticking above the locking nuts that came with the kit and will only be about 1/8" into the knockout space. Should work fine for a 4lb light fixture and leave enough space for the wire.

Since I'll have to attach the light crossbar to the ears instead of the fan mounts, like I did the shallow box, I'll need to space out the crossbar with some washers so the light bolts will be long enough to attach the canopy (has those little round knurled nuts on the outside of the canopy that holds the whole light up), unless there's some way to get longer bolts. My ceiling has about 1/8" of texture mud on it so the box is that much short of being flush and makes the bolts that much too short. Grrr. I'd rather have longer bolts I need to cut to fit.

*The screws for the box ears are 8/32. Not unusual to find around the house, but you can buy some at a hardware store or Home Depot. I think the screws for the fan mounts are either 10/24 or 12/24.

The screws for the light lately seem to all be what I call Chinese 8/32. They are just ever so slightly different from a regular 8/32. You can re-tap them to 8/32. But then you would have to re-tap the cap nuts as well or buy new ones.

I have put fender washers behind light bars to keep them flush with the ceiling. Something else I have done is to put 8/32 nuts behind the light bar on the box ear screws to prevent the light bar from being pushed into the ceiling.
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Old 11-24-2014, 09:01 PM   #6
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Ceiling light installation questions.


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Originally Posted by MrElectricianTV View Post
*The screws for the box ears are 8/32. Not unusual to find around the house, but you can buy some at a hardware store or Home Depot. I think the screws for the fan mounts are either 10/24 or 12/24.

The screws for the light lately seem to all be what I call Chinese 8/32. They are just ever so slightly different from a regular 8/32. You can re-tap them to 8/32. But then you would have to re-tap the cap nuts as well or buy new ones.

I have put fender washers behind light bars to keep them flush with the ceiling. Something else I have done is to put 8/32 nuts behind the light bar on the box ear screws to prevent the light bar from being pushed into the ceiling.
Yup. I have the 8/32's. A couple of 3/4" or so. The goofy ones that fit the acorn nuts are M4's. But... I bought some M4 bolts that fit the acorns and had to cut about 1/4" off them to get the right length. I could not get the threads cleaned up enough to fit the acorns completely back on. A regular hex nut would go on fine just not the acorns. Weird. So I ended up putting a star-lock washer, flat washer, and hex nut in that order from the light bar to the box on the 8/32 bolts to space the bar down flush with the ceiling and used the canopy bolts that came with the light again. It ain't coming off by itself. What a PITA.

I did redo the grounds so that I ran a ground wire from the box to the two feeder grounds and added in the light fixture ground wire with them. So one less wire nut than what I had before.

Everything seems to work with no sparking or throwing of breakers so I'm happy.
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Old 11-25-2014, 06:57 AM   #7
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Ceiling light installation questions.


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Yup. I have the 8/32's. A couple of 3/4" or so. The goofy ones that fit the acorn nuts are M4's. But... I bought some M4 bolts that fit the acorns and had to cut about 1/4" off them to get the right length. I could not get the threads cleaned up enough to fit the acorns completely back on. A regular hex nut would go on fine just not the acorns. Weird. So I ended up putting a star-lock washer, flat washer, and hex nut in that order from the light bar to the box on the 8/32 bolts to space the bar down flush with the ceiling and used the canopy bolts that came with the light again. It ain't coming off by itself. What a PITA.

I did redo the grounds so that I ran a ground wire from the box to the two feeder grounds and added in the light fixture ground wire with them. So one less wire nut than what I had before.

Everything seems to work with no sparking or throwing of breakers so I'm happy.

*Thanks for sharing the end result.

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