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Old 08-17-2012, 02:50 AM   #1
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I have a skylight about 13 feet up in the air which desperately needs a set of blinds to cover it up so I can get some sleep on the weekends. However, I want something that can open when I like the light. I don't want anything dangling 10 feet down so I'm opting for a motorized blinds solution.

Although battery operated ones are available, I'm not sure how long the batteries last, and getting up there to replace them regularly would suck. Hence, I'm opting for the DC Plug-in Transformer. Here's are my questions:

1. There is a hard-wired smoke alarm about 3 feet from the window:
a. Is the electrical wiring that goes to this alarm enough to create something for this plug?
b. Is this a DIY job or does a professional need to be hired? I'm pretty handy, but don't know much about electricity.

If anyone has ANY experience with either motorized blinds or doing what I'm trying to do, any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

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Old 08-17-2012, 05:36 AM   #2
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BIG NO - NO !
I am quite sure the authorities would flip out if you try that scheme.
It is doubtful that the wires would carry enough current anyway !
not to mention what it could do to the smoke alarms !

Sorry !

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Old 08-17-2012, 06:00 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
BIG NO - NO !
I am quite sure the authorities would flip out if you try that scheme.
It is doubtful that the wires would carry enough current anyway !
not to mention what it could do to the smoke alarms !

Sorry !
Most likely a hard wired smoke alarm circuit could easily be used for this purpose unless for some reason local codes require the circuit to be dedicated for smokes only. It's not necessarily a "big no-no".
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:00 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by brric View Post
Most likely a hard wired smoke alarm circuit could easily be used for this purpose unless for some reason local codes require the circuit to be dedicated for smokes only. It's not necessarily a "big no-no".
Thanks for the replies!

I'm from California, and based on my research, it does not need to be on a dedicated circuit.

I've got one person saying it's enough and one saying it isn't... More input would be greatly appreciated. And again is this a DIY or call an electrician type job? (If call, how much should I be looking to spend?)
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:10 AM   #5
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I'm subscribing....

I'm in the process of wiring up a bunch of new smokes and CO detectors....and I'm putting them on a light ckt.....

I recall a post some time ago where one 'licensed' contractor said that he always puts the smokes on one of the light circuits...that way it's less likely the home owner will turn off the smokes in the event they are getting intermittent alarms.

In my case, I'm doing load calculations and I have plenty of power to the smokes and lights on one 15a ckt....if everything was on, I 'might' be using 8a.

I'm in CA as well...and nothing in my drawings say I have to have a dedicated ckt for just the smokes...it just says that it has to be on a ckt that can not be turned off except at the source (load center).

In your case, I would do an assesment of what all is on that ckt for your smokes....make sure your not getting too close to the limit....in a worse case scenerio...

As for DIY....if you know the difference between hot, neutral...how to use wire nuts...and what Romex (NM) is...I think it's worth a try....it's going to be harder to patch holes.

Last edited by jeepdawg; 08-17-2012 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 08-17-2012, 01:23 PM   #6
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In many jurisdictions, a homeowner can do electrical work on his own home, but very often he must first pull a permit and then afterwards have his work inspected. Considering the amount of time you spend driving to the courthouse for the permit and taking time off work to be home when the inspector comes, plus the cost of materials (including drywall repair), you may be approaching the cost of an electrician. Electrician costs vary by locality -- just for an example, I had one put in a dryer receptacle; it was an easy job close to the breaker box and he billed me about $100. At that rate, DIY is a lot of hassle that isn't saving you much.

If you decide to press on, this doesn't sound like rocket surgery. Should be pretty much black to black, white to white, and green/bare to green/bare. Make sure there is enough room (cubic inches of space) in the smoke box to accommodate the additional wires ("box fill" as defined by code). As jeepdawg says the drywall part is probably going to be hardest part.
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylernt
In many jurisdictions, a homeowner can do electrical work on his own home, but very often he must first pull a permit and then afterwards have his work inspected. Considering the amount of time you spend driving to the courthouse for the permit and taking time off work to be home when the inspector comes, plus the cost of materials (including drywall repair), you may be approaching the cost of an electrician. Electrician costs vary by locality -- just for an example, I had one put in a dryer receptacle; it was an easy job close to the breaker box and he billed me about $100. At that rate, DIY is a lot of hassle that isn't saving you much.

If you decide to press on, this doesn't sound like rocket surgery. Should be pretty much black to black, white to white, and green/bare to green/bare. Make sure there is enough room (cubic inches of space) in the smoke box to accommodate the additional wires ("box fill" as defined by code). As jeepdawg says the drywall part is probably going to be hardest part.
Anytime a homeowner would need a permit an electrician would too. So tack the cost of a permit onto the hourly rate. He will also need an inspection, again add that to the cost of the job. So there's tons of money to be saved by diy.

Another advantage to having the smokes on with a light circuit is that you know right away if there's a problem with the power as the light won't come on. If its dedicated you wouldn't know till you look for it.

In my area its actually code that a smoke detector be on a circuit that has lights or a combination of lights and receptacles with no gfci or afci protection anywhere
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Last edited by andrew79; 08-17-2012 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 08-17-2012, 05:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylernt View Post
In many jurisdictions, a homeowner can do electrical work on his own home, but very often he must first pull a permit and then afterwards have his work inspected. Considering the amount of time you spend driving to the courthouse for the permit and taking time off work to be home when the inspector comes, plus the cost of materials (including drywall repair), you may be approaching the cost of an electrician. Electrician costs vary by locality -- just for an example, I had one put in a dryer receptacle; it was an easy job close to the breaker box and he billed me about $100. At that rate, DIY is a lot of hassle that isn't saving you much.

If you decide to press on, this doesn't sound like rocket surgery. Should be pretty much black to black, white to white, and green/bare to green/bare. Make sure there is enough room (cubic inches of space) in the smoke box to accommodate the additional wires ("box fill" as defined by code). As jeepdawg says the drywall part is probably going to be hardest part.
Where could I find a rocket surgeon?
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Old 08-17-2012, 05:29 PM   #9
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Where could I find a rocket surgeon?
How about this guy? Wernher Von Braun
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Old 08-17-2012, 07:07 PM   #10
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How about this guy? Wernher Von Braun
wasn't he a rocket scientist?
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Old 08-17-2012, 07:15 PM   #11
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wasn't he a rocket scientist?
Scientist, surgeon....what ever it takes....
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:15 PM   #12
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I installed 10 Kidde smoke, 3 CO, 2 heat detectors in my house. I tested with a clamp on meter and they dont even draw 2 amps. I have it on a circuit with bath and bedroom lighting and 2 BR receptacles. I am not aware of any such systems that are low voltage (I tried to find one but couldnt. 120V for these is overkill - they can run on a 9V battery for backup)

I dont see a problem with your plan. Just make sure not to tie the red "alert" wire into the wire to your receptacle(s). test the system with both the receptacle in use and not

as to whether you can/should do the work, no opinion on that part

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