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Radical Ans 07-24-2009 07:40 AM

electrical n00b
Well, not really. I'm an electrical engineer by trade, but I've never done any home electrical work. I just purchased my first house and am in the process of putting up new light fixtures. I wanted to make sure I'm doing things right.

My main question is do I need to stuff all my wires back up into the junction box when I attach the fixture to the ceiling, or is it OK to have them to the side of the junction box pressed up against the ceiling?

Also, should I wrap the connections in electrical tape in addition to using wire nuts or are the nuts fine by themselves?



Termite 07-24-2009 07:48 AM

The box is intended for the makeup of the fixture to occur inside the box, not outside it. There will always be a little slack on the wires that go to the fixture but do your best to make your connections in the box.

Nuts are fine on their own. Tape around wire nuts is a clear sign that an amateur did the work!

Also, be sure that the mounting hickey-strap (or disc) is properly grounded and that your ground wires are mechanically tied with a nut or a buchanan and not just twisted together. The NEC requires permits for this sort of work.

Yoyizit 07-24-2009 10:21 AM


Originally Posted by Radical Ans (Post 306063)
in the process of putting up new light fixtures.

Ceiling mount fixtures sometimes call for 90C wire. Depending on when your house was built you might have 60C wire.

One way around this is to use CFLs, another way [which UL refuses to sign on to] is to use bulbs with half the rated wattages, so if the fixture says "200w max" don't go over 100w.
It has to do with the thermal resistance of the fixture.

Ideal makes a tester, the 65-165, which will answer questions about the health of your house's wiring even before you ask them.
Just reading the manual that goes with this instrument is an education in itself but they may have typos in the section that deals with the resistance of #14 and #12 wire. The manual is online somewhere but I've lost the link.

J. V. 07-24-2009 10:43 AM


Originally Posted by thekctermite (Post 306065)
The NEC requires permits for this sort of work.

Maybe, but who would pull a permit to install some ceiling fixtures? :no: I would not. :yes: That would be silly.

darren 07-24-2009 04:27 PM

Well your the engineer, we always do what the engineer wants.

Off course i am just kidding and i beleive your question has been answered in the previous post.

Stubbie 07-24-2009 05:04 PM

The NEC doesn't oversee permits...thank god...:) Local codes generally dictate what does and does not need permitted work. Usually but not always replacement of fixtures, switches, & receptacles does not require permit.

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