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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Other Crafts Proper Wiring Questions
Proper Wiring Questions
Unkle John
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 22, 2003
Posts: 1217
From: Middle-of-the-Ocean, TX
Posted: 2007-11-02 11:28 am   Permalink

Hey gang.

I've been working on my bar off and on and will be fully dedicated to it this weekend. I have run into a slight problem with wiring hanging lamps. Well I should say hiding the wires. I do not have thatching or anything on my ceiling (only two black "beams"). I don't really plan on adding that to the ceiling, you'll see when I'm done, but I wanted to know, what would be a good way to run wire to an outlet.

I was thinking of running the wires along the "beams" so you probably won't see them, but I do plan on having a few hanging lamps. I have been using swag lamp kits, I need to check, but do they sell the chains themselves and if so where is the best place to look?

And lastly, my outlets are in odd places in the room. Should I have to extend the wiring, should I buy extension cords or rewire the lamps for longer wires?

I only ask b/c I don't want to start a fire.

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[ This Message was edited by: Unkle John 2007-11-02 11:30 ]


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Chip and Andy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2211
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2007-11-02 12:29 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-11-02 11:28, Unkle John wrote:
...Should I have to extend the wiring, should I buy extension cords or rewire the lamps for longer wires?

I only ask b/c I don't want to start a fire.



If money is no object (keep reading after you have finished laughing) add outlets into the ceiling near where the lights will be and have them conected to the wall switch.

Or, on a more reasonable note (meaning lower cost), re-wire the lamps with new and longer cords. Extension cords are fine for the appliances or christmas lights. They are not designed for semi-permanant use. They will work, but it is not the best idea.

You should be able to get a spool of lamp cording from your local big-box hardware store. Then, re-wire the lamp, pull the wire directly off of the spool and run the cord for the least visibility overall (length of cord is not really an issue with this method), cut the cord and add the plug and your good to go. The color of the cording is not really important because you can paint it to make it even less visible.

This also gives you the peace-of-mind of new wiring that is designed for exactly what you are doing.

Some tips that will help:

Be sure to get Lamp Cording rated for 110v. There is a spool of speaker cord that looks just like lamp cording but it wont take a long run.

When you get the cording to where the electrical outlets are, add about a foot of cord before you cut for the plug. Trust me on this one, I have had to cut plugs off of long runs to replace and having that bit of extra to work with really helped.

Spend the extra bit of cash to get 'good' wire tacks. There is nothing more annoying than hitting the metal part of the cord with the staple gun. And don't use the hot glue gun, trust me and just don't.

If you run all of your wires back to one place you can plug them all into a power-strip and have one switch for everything. Unless you are lucky enough to already have a switched outlet to use.



Good luck! Show us lots of pictures of before, during, and after!

[ This Message was edited by: Chip and Andy 2007-11-02 12:30 ]


 
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Tiki Zen
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Joined: Mar 15, 2007
Posts: 352
From: Too far from the beach Bowling Green, KY
Posted: 2007-11-02 12:31 pm   Permalink

Okay, first with the customary disclaimers: 1) always check with your local building inspector or a professional electrician, as codes vary from state to state. 2) I am not an electrician, just a do-it-yourselfer.

But . . . I had a similar situation in a room where I put a billiard table. Needed to get hanging lights over the table, and I had several faux beams running across the ceiling.

What I did: I had a switched wall outlet directly below one of the beams. The beam was simply a 2x4 screwed to the ceiling, with 1x4 boards on the sides and bottom, creating a hollow box. I drilled a hole through the bottom of the beam near the wall. Then I angled through that hole and drilled another hole in the wall concealed by the end of the beam. Using an electician's "fish tape" I pulled electric cable up from the switched outlet.

Then I drilled another hole in the side of the beam, near the middle of the room and near the ceiling. I pulled the cable through the hollow beam, using it as a conduit.

From the hole in the beam, I exited and ran the rest of the distance to the light fixture with surface-mounting decorative conduit. This is essentially a flat track you screw into the ceiling and then lay the electric cable against it. A low-profile cover then snaps over the conduit onto the track. When painted to match the ceiling, it is not too objectionable.

According to code? Doubtful, but the house hasn't burned down.

Here's what I did:




Rather than have outlets on the ceiling, if you are wiring into a switched circuit, you can just install a surface mounting junction box and hard-wire.



[ This Message was edited by: Tiki Zen 2007-11-04 09:39 ]


 
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Tipsy McStagger
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 21, 2004
Posts: 3525
From: HELL
Posted: 2007-11-02 12:39 pm   Permalink

most hardware stores (major stores) sell just the swag chain in gold, black, silver or antique finish....

use channel wire covers to hide the cords on your ceiling beam..they too can be bought at the same stores...you can get all you need from straight runs, to corner pieces and whatnot...basically it consists of a small channel with a cover that mounts to a beam or wall and you run the wires through it to the outlets....snap the covers in place and you have a nice clean look. they are either metal or plastic and can be painted to help camoflage them...it's purely a cosmetic item mainly used for home offices and entertainment centers where you have a billion cords all over the place....


 
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Unkle John
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 22, 2003
Posts: 1217
From: Middle-of-the-Ocean, TX
Posted: 2007-11-02 1:52 pm   Permalink

Thanks guys! That's exactly the info I was looking for.

My beams are made the same way, plained black. I'm going to the hardware store after work to pick up supplies. I'll get those pics up after this weekend (if for some unknown reason I don't get a chance. I would love to have plugs in the ceiling.. but the funny thing is I have no dry wall in the house. None. And seeing I am 45 miles from a major city, this small town really doesn't care what you do. Sad isn't it.

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[ This Message was edited by: Unkle John 2007-11-02 13:55 ]


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Kewlava
Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 21, 2007
Posts: 47
From: Phoenix
Posted: 2007-11-04 09:14 am   Permalink

Unkle John,
Tipsy's idea is a good one, but if having the ultra-clean wire covers doesn't fit your tiki vibe, you can use split bamboo to cover the wirecovers!- Or like I've done, split PVC pipe and use epoxy to make bamboo "Knuckles" and paint it to resemble natural bamboo!

Kelly
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Unkle John
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 22, 2003
Posts: 1217
From: Middle-of-the-Ocean, TX
Posted: 2007-11-04 12:12 pm   Permalink

Yeah I think i'm going to go for that look, fake bamboo. Right now I just put hooks in the ceiling to hold the wire there while I make more modifications to the bar. Now to scour eBay for more decor & portholes.
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Tipsy McStagger
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 21, 2004
Posts: 3525
From: HELL
Posted: 2007-11-04 3:42 pm   Permalink

you can also get outlets that are for use with the channel stuff.....i have them in my house because my house has lath and plaster, which means trying to run conduit and a junction box is a pain in the ass and would require demolishing the wall to do it.....these outlets have a metal box and are attached to the outside face of the wall. the previous owners added them cause these old bungalows never had enough outlets in the rooms. you can get around code by changing the channelling to round metal conduit, steel junction boxes and then painting it to blend into the ceiling(if you are drawing power off the breaker,otherwise if you are just using channels to hide lamp cord it's not necessary)


and while you are covering them with bamboo half rounds (which is a good idea), try disguising the outlets with coconut half shells!


 
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Unkle John
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 22, 2003
Posts: 1217
From: Middle-of-the-Ocean, TX
Posted: 2007-11-05 10:38 am   Permalink

I might just do that. Our house was built in 1940 and the electrical has had minimum updating over the years (most outlets are 2 prong instead of three) and the walls are 2x4's and studs. You'll see when I getthe bar finished.
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Koitiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 03, 2007
Posts: 233
From: Austin
Posted: 2008-10-04 8:52 pm   Permalink

Hey Unkle John,

Anything happening on your tiki room? I'm trying to figure out the wiring situation too. Finally getting started on our room. Just found some nice, fat bamboo poles that will easily hide the wires over the ceiling run, but then need to figure out what to do above that and where to drop each light and how to plan for future lights as more will certainly be added over time. Anyone talk about low voltage? Would love to see pics if you've got em.


 
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Chip and Andy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2211
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2008-10-04 11:34 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-10-04 20:52, Koitiki wrote:
Anyone talk about low voltage? Would love to see pics if you've got em.



Low Voltage systems? Like some of the track systems that are only 24 volts?

Or Low Wattage lightbulbs? Like using a 3 watt nightlight inside of a puffer-lamp?


 
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Mai Tai
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 21, 2004
Posts: 1436
From: Exotic Isle of Alameda
Posted: 2008-10-05 02:33 am   Permalink

I think he means a low voltage system as in a 12 volt DC system that incorporates a transformer to convert the 110V AC house current into a 12 V DC current. The nice thing about a system like that is that you can run a bunch of lights off of one piece of zip cord, as long as the sum of the wattage of the bulbs doesn't exceed the total wattage output of the transformer. So if you use a 50 watt transformer, you could run ten 5watt bulbs off of it no problem. And you can splice into the zip cord, and handle the bare wire ends without fear of electrocution, due to the low amount of voltage in the line.

I have been experimenting with this type of low voltage system for the lights in the tiki bar area here in Casa de Mai Tai. I have illuminted three fish floats off of one line, using 5 watt bulbs for each fixture. The problem I have encountered is, the 5 watt low voltage bulbs are much brighter than the regular 110V C7 type 5 watt bulbs - too bright for ambient lighting purposes for a tiki bar. And I haven't seen any low voltage system bulbs smaller than 5 watts, although I have heard that there are 2.5 watt bulbs for a 12 V low wattage system out there, but I haven't been able to find any yet. So if you go with the 5 watt bulbs some type of dimmer control needs to be used as well.

I haven't experimented with a dimmer control yet, and I also want to monkey around with L.E.D.'s, since they use so little current, last for a long long time, and have many different color options. I'm also looking into building my own custom low voltage flicker circuit controller, to make the lights all pulse and flicker independently and randomly like they were all candle-lit. But to be honest, I have more important things to do right now, so these projects are going to be on the back burner until spring or so. If I manage to get this lighting project done before then, I'll be sure to post details and pictures.
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Koitiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 03, 2007
Posts: 233
From: Austin
Posted: 2008-10-05 10:13 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-10-05 02:33, Mai Tai wrote:
I'm also looking into building my own custom low voltage flicker circuit controller, to make the lights all pulse and flicker independently and randomly like they were all candle-lit.



Check this website:
http://www.simflame.com/
They have a low voltage version. The thing I like about these is that there is also a non-flicker setting.

Yes, I was thinking of a low voltage system. Thanks for the tip about the bulbs. I'll check into that if we go that route.


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Mai Tai
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 21, 2004
Posts: 1436
From: Exotic Isle of Alameda
Posted: 2008-10-05 1:58 pm   Permalink

Hey, that's cool that SimFlame now offers a low voltage flicker circuit. I was familiar with their stuff, but hadn't looked into them for over a year. Looks like they've added a few products to their line recently. Thanks for pointing that out, if I can find lower wattage low voltage bulbs or figure out some kind of dimmer controller, then I might use that SimFlame flicker circuit.

Also, I'm working on a rain window effect box for the huge window in my bar area. TikiHula is working on one in his Kapili Room as well. We are both investigating using programmable lighting controls (like from a DJ rig) that can control all of the various lighting scenarios at once, and you interface it with a laptop to program everything. Something like that might be an option for all of the lighting in the bar area, if you have complicated mood lighting scenarios. For most home bar applications it might be overkill, though.
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