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-   -   okay to keep old knob and tube light fixtures (http://www.diychatroom.com/f18/okay-keep-old-knob-tube-light-fixtures-63275/)

Mike in Arkansas 01-31-2010 03:42 PM

okay to keep old knob and tube light fixtures
 
I'm replacing k&t wiring with NM. I would like to keep some original ceiling fixtures. The possible problem is that the old wiring ran through a hole in the plaster ceiling and into the fixture. No box and no metal top to the simple fixture itself. The fixtures are decorative metal open at the top with decorative globes on the bottom.. The electrical part is a ceramic insulated socket and is held in the fixture by means of a threaded ceramic part kind of like a nut that screws onto the socket which extends through the fixture, trapping the fixture between the halves of the ceramic part. The wires mount under screws an inch of so below the level of the ceiling when it's all together. I could mount a box but wonder about the following possibility. I can cut a metal disc that fits snugly into the top of the fixture and would end up about 1/4 inch below the ceiling when the fixture is installed. That would totally enclose the electrical connections. It would need a couple of clearance holes to allow the original fixture mounting screws to go back into the framing and a hole in the middle for a cable clamp. Is that acceptable code wise? I have access to the equipment to easily make the metal disc which would be easier than cutting the fragile plaster/lathe and fitting a box.

daveb1 01-31-2010 04:25 PM

Some of those fixtures are real nice to look at and would be nice to keep.However the wire in them is probably rubber and/or fabric coated and quite brittle from age.You might feel more comfortable in the long run to replace the wiring in the fixture as well as the sockets. I doubt if a home made box would be acceptable to code.There is a box available, often called a saucer box. It is about 1/2 inch deep and in my area is allowed a max of 1cable with 2 wires plus ground. It is surface mounted and is usually used for exterior lights beside doors.

Mike in Arkansas 01-31-2010 05:04 PM

Thanks Dave. I am replacing all the old wiring so no problem there. I thought about trying the saucer or pancake boxes but even at 1/2 inch it won't go into the fixture. Seems like what I want to do would essentially be a zero height box. You may be right though it likely won't meet code for one reason or another. Maybe someone else will give their opinion.

Scuba_Dave 01-31-2010 05:27 PM

Do you have pic of the fixture where the wires enter ?

Billy_Bob 01-31-2010 07:16 PM

FYI - A new fixture install would have an electrical box to enclose the electrical connections. Electrical connections come loose and sparks fly. The wires can get to be quite hot with a loose connection. Best to contain these sparks and hot (temperature) electrical wires in an electrical box.

The wire used is rated for a high temperature. The heat from a bulb gets to be quite hot and can wreck wiring, then the insulation falls off. (I've seen wrecked insulation even behind wall mount fixtures.)

And a bit of insulation above the fixture. This keeps the heat away from the wires.

Mike in Arkansas 01-31-2010 07:36 PM

No I don't. Camera quit last year and I never replaced it. Where the wires connect is almost like a 'bell' on a ceiling fan. The part that goes up against the ceiling and hides the wires and fan support. These are not fancy fixtures, I just prefer to keep them. If I could find a small enough pancake box and mount it directly on the ceiling whats the maximum gap allowed between the box and the lamp bell or is there one? Seems like anything would be better than the 'no box' situation.

spark plug 01-31-2010 07:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike in Arkansas (Post 392448)
No I don't. Camera quit last year and I never replaced it. Where the wires connect is almost like a 'bell' on a ceiling fan. The part that goes up against the ceiling and hides the wires and fan support. These are not fancy fixtures, I just prefer to keep them. If I could find a small enough pancake box and mount it directly on the ceiling whats the maximum gap allowed between the box and the lamp bell or is there one? Seems like anything would be better than the 'no box' situation.

IMHO a Pancake box would fit between the ceiling and the fixture (the way you describe it). Even though I don't know that specific fixture, there are still in the residential market replacement fixtures similar to the "Bell" shape that you describe, which will accept the old style "Flat" boxes that are anchored on a joist. Those are (still) found all over NYC.)!:yes:!


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