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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. I'm a 63 yr-old homeowner looking for advice. Though I use an electrician for major jobs, I am competent with electricity (I used to repair electronic equipment), and I try to do simple jobs myself.

I am now trying one task that always drives me crazy: installing a surface-mount ceiling fixture. This one attaches with two machine screws that protrude down from a crossbar bracket on the ceiling box. After the electrical connections are made, you are supposed to line up the fixture so that the two screws go through the fixture's baseplate, then fasten it all with cap screws. This seems to be a common way of attaching ceiling fixtures.

I am never able to see well enough to line up the screws. The fixture is already at the ceiling, so there's no way to look from above, and looking from below, I see nothing. It doesn't help that I wear strong bifocals.

Are there tips for doing this? After trying repeatedly, I've managed to get one screw through, then mess up the fiberglass on the ceiling side of the fixture without getting the second screw to mate.

How the heck do people mount these fixtures? I've done a few, and though it ALWAYS is a pain, this is the worst yet -- it just won't line up.

Thanks!

P.S. I have checked that the screws are in the right holes of the crossbar to match the fixture spacing.
 

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Good luck helps---

A thin awl blade pushed through the hole helps--touch the threaded screw end and raise the fixture---that gets one hole--good luck helps om the other one---
 

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I leave them sticking out as far as they can go and do not tighten up the nut that holds the screw in place.
Once one screw goes in get a nut on a few threads, it should just be a matter of moving at back and forth until the other screw comes through.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks!

Thanks, Mike & Joe, for your tips. I unwired the fixture, reattached the fiberglass to the base with two-sided tape, cleared the tunnels to the screw holes (using a screwdriver), and (after rewiring) had my wife shine a very bright flashlight across the ceiling as I raised the fixture. That way, I could visually align BOTH screws, which made the rest easy.

Wearing single-vision computer glasses instead of bifocals helped, too.

Thanks again guys! This was a great introduction to the DIY Chatroom.
 

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Good luck helps---

A thin awl blade pushed through the hole helps--touch the threaded screw end and raise the fixture---that gets one hole--good luck helps om the other one---
This is the tip I use, except I use a Phillips screwdriver and I can use it to tighten the screw too.
 

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I buy bolts 1.5" to 2" longer than the bolts that come with it and 2 nuts. I then nut it down and use a miniature handsaw to cut off the excess. You can then replace one nut at a time with the cap or simply cap over the nut, depending on cosmetics. I usually paint the nut a matching color and just put the cap nut on top of it. Total cost about 4 bucks and saves uncoordinated me a lot of time.
 
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