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Thread: 220v Downlight DIY Installation

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    Gold Member daveob's Avatar
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    220v Downlight DIY Installation

    OK all you bright sparks.

    I have browsed the thread here :
    http://www.theforumsa.co.za/forums/s...20V-downlights

    and very informative, but also total information overload ( pun intended ) !!

    I have had to replace a bedroom wall spotlight and opted for the LED version. Very impressed with the 3W output, so am thinking it is time to do the rest of the house.

    Here's my plan :

    Install 3 or 4 x 220V 3W LED downlights in all rooms. This will suffice for 95% of the time lighting is required in each room, and the central ceiling fan light can be used for the other 5% of the time when more lighting is actually required.

    To have 1 downlight in each room connected in line to my backup UPS ( so 8 lights in total on 1 line ), so in the event of a power failure, I have 1 LED workable in each room.

    I am about to re-roof the entire house ( incl. battons and sisalation insulation ) so it is probably an ideal time to do this project.

    My thinking is to get it all installed and wired up, then get a qualified competent and experienced electrician to check it all, connect to the main board, and issue a COC.

    So here's my questions : ( ps ... I want to do this the right and safest way - cheap and nasty to save is not for me - my kids and wife are worth so much more, and I don't want my house burning down ).

    1. is there a specific rating that I need for the fittings ? Bearing in mind that I plan to use LEDs but there would be a possibility that someone in the future could use 50W bulbs.

    2. what type of wiring to use ? heat resistant / thickness / etc.

    3. connection boxes ? Do I run all fittings for 1 room to a common junction box, and then from there a main line to the lights breaker at the DB ? Which wires need to be in pvc conduit ? Better to mount the junction box on the side of a wooden truss, or loose on the ceiling board ?

    4. Anything else I should know before I start this ? ( yes, i know I should know what I am doing, and that's why I ain't connecting this lot to power until it has been checked over. My belief is that with the advice and knowledge learned here, I can do just as good a job as the ( also unqualified ) electricians helper, and save a chunk on labour charges for the bits that expertise really aren't needed ).
    Watching the ships passing by.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daveob View Post
    OK all you bright sparks.

    I have browsed the thread here :
    http://www.theforumsa.co.za/forums/s...20V-downlights

    and very informative, but also total information overload ( pun intended ) !!

    I have had to replace a bedroom wall spotlight and opted for the LED version. Very impressed with the 3W output, so am thinking it is time to do the rest of the house.

    Here's my plan :

    Install 3 or 4 x 220V 3W LED downlights in all rooms. This will suffice for 95% of the time lighting is required in each room, and the central ceiling fan light can be used for the other 5% of the time when more lighting is actually required.

    To have 1 downlight in each room connected in line to my backup UPS ( so 8 lights in total on 1 line ), so in the event of a power failure, I have 1 LED workable in each room.

    Problem 1, if someone does fit 50 watt lamps, ups will go flat, so you install 12volt lamps instead of 230 volt lamps, which means you just need a battery and no invertors etc, you can take the battery to a different location and charge it if you need to, and you can use a solar powered system, even better.

    I am about to re-roof the entire house ( incl. battons and sisalation insulation ) so it is probably an ideal time to do this project.

    Yip get in there before they cover up, summer is almost here and you dont want to be climbing around in the ceiling. A tip, install lights and a switch in the roof space while you are about it, and a plug socket if you dont have battery operated tools, while you are rebattoning etc, install planks for walk ways, cutting strips of shutterboard would be the cheapest option, just makes life easier for everyone and reduces the risk of someone landing on you dinning room table.

    My thinking is to get it all installed and wired up, then get a qualified competent and experienced electrician to check it all, connect to the main board, and issue a COC.

    This could prove to be a challenge, but there are a few people who would do it, maybe dave could send one of his inspectors and just say you are selling the house and require a COC, they could check the rest of the electrics, just to be safe, i dont see an issue with doing this. I could do it but i charge R950 for an inspection report for a small dwelling and i am too busy at present, will only be available to take on new projects in january 2013, thats if none of my regular customers dont book my services first.

    So here's my questions : ( ps ... I want to do this the right and safest way - cheap and nasty to save is not for me - my kids and wife are worth so much more, and I don't want my house burning down ).

    1. is there a specific rating that I need for the fittings ? Bearing in mind that I plan to use LEDs but there would be a possibility that someone in the future could use 50W bulbs.

    230 volt side, 1.0mm square twin +e wire is the smallest, you can use, with a 10 amp circuit breaker. The size of the wire is determined by the size of the protective device you install or connect the circuit to. The 12 volt side of it, you would need to do some calculations and work out the volt drop for the load and distance from the source. I have installed my power supply (battery, charged by the solar panel) for my led lamps in the middle of the circuit, it is not connected to the municipal supply. I have 2 spare fully charged batteries just in case the one online fails, or we have a couple of cloudy days.

    2. what type of wiring to use ? heat resistant / thickness / etc.

    The wiring at the light fitting should be heat resitant, as are the downlighters supplied, shown in a pic in another thread.The rest normal twin +e is fine, lay it flat on the ceiling board under the rafters and no clips or mounting is required. You make it look tidy by rolling out the cable (do not pull from the centre) then tie it to something secure, and use your thumb to straighten it, if you have soft thumbs, use the handle of a hammer it works great for the newbies/softies.

    3. connection boxes ? Do I run all fittings for 1 room to a common junction box, and then from there a main line to the lights breaker at the DB ? Which wires need to be in pvc conduit ? Better to mount the junction box on the side of a wooden truss, or loose on the ceiling board ?

    Try centralise the box in each room, then run the cable to the lights for each room from the junction box or you can run a 3 way box to each light, using the 2 outlets for power in and out and the other the supply to the light fitting, just means more joints/more chance of problems. fit the covers with one screw but leave them open so that the electrician can check the joints

    4. Anything else I should know before I start this ? ( yes, i know I should know what I am doing, and that's why I ain't connecting this lot to power until it has been checked over. My belief is that with the advice and knowledge learned here, I can do just as good a job as the ( also unqualified ) electricians helper, and save a chunk on labour charges for the bits that expertise really aren't needed ).

    If you go past the electrical wholsalers during the week there are always, so called "electricians" who have a pretty good idea what they are doing and, sometimes have worked for an electrical contractor for years, get a number and get him to come in on the weekend, there are also plenty of them who do "private jobs" on the weekend, the trick is knowing which one is not conning you. House wiring is the simplest form of electricial, there is not much to it, and you dont need to be a brain surgoen to do it, its the people who do it, who make a big thing of it, my mate and i use to rewire a house on the weekend for pocket money,when we were still appies, strip the place on a friday evening rewire satuday and sunday, by sunday afternoon we woul reconnect and test. If you use twin+e, you can wire up all the lights on the ground, then roll it up and install it pre connected with tails for the light points, the problem with doing it this way you have to lay the cable on top of the rafters and install a batten to protect the twin +e or push it right into the lowest pitch of the roof
    i hope this helps and answers some of your questions
    Last edited by ians; 29-Oct-12 at 07:11 AM.

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    Dave something not too many people are aware of, cool white, daylight, warm white etc lamps. Make sure you select the correct lamp, most shops only carry cool white lamps because they are the most popular. LEd lamps can be dimmed, but there are special requirements, the dimmer has to be a specific dimmer for the led lamps and the lamps must be dimmable.

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    I give up??
    To make a mistake is human, to learn from that mistake is knowledge and knowledge is strength.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    If people are going to do it themselves (and they are), I suggest it helps if they've been given the right information as to how to go about it.

    Besides which - where does one draw the line in these conversations:
    Available to electricians only?
    Available to wireman who have proven their credentials to the site admin?

    Maybe SANS codes on electrical installations should be sold to wireman only?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    If people are going to do it themselves (and they are), I suggest it helps if they've been given the right information as to how to go about it.

    Besides which - where does one draw the line in these conversations:
    Available to electricians only?
    Available to wireman who have proven their credentials to the site admin?

    Maybe SANS codes on electrical installations should be sold to wireman only?
    Dave, Written advice can be used in a court to sue someone. Should you give advice directly to someone on this forum and something happens because of it then you may be held criminally responsible for that action, indirectly albeit but responsible nonetheless. Something as serious as telling someone it ok to wire your own house just do it this or that way can have devastating consequences for the contributor.
    Discussing a subject openly on a public forum and then someone uses that information to their own detriment is different.
    If someone has to come and ask questions on an open forum then it is plainly obvious that they do not have the skills to proceed successfully.
    My advice to those who are cash strapped, instead of purchasing that new 50 inch flat screen for Christmas rather spend the money onmore important issues, like your safety.
    To make a mistake is human, to learn from that mistake is knowledge and knowledge is strength.

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    Gold Member daveob's Avatar
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    I have to agree, partly, with both Dave AND Leecatt.

    DaveA : If people are going to do it themselves (and they are), I suggest it helps if they've been given the right information as to how to go about it.

    Leecatt : If someone has to come and ask questions on an open forum then it is plainly obvious that they do not have the skills to proceed successfully.

    Well, DUH !! Of course I don't have the skills for this - that's why I ask the questions. To be better informed about the correct way to do something would be better than just trying to do what one thinks is the right thing to do. I don't tell my 7 year old that "if you have to ask how to do something, you're obviously not skilled to do it, so just don't bother trying" ( within reason ). I also did a trade and when I started as an appy, I also didn't know a damn thing. So how did I learn ? Watch, ask questions, research. The questions on the forum is part of the research.

    So what skills do I need for this ?
    Find a spot that is the correct distance away from trusses, etc.
    Drill / cut a correct size hole in the ceiling board for the light fitting.
    Pull a (correctly sized) cable from the fitting location to the junction box for that room.
    Pull a cable from the light switch to the junction box.

    Up to this point, I don't see any special skills required for the above, providing I know the specs for the project : hole size, safety distances, cable sizes, etc.

    In fact, I would be reasonably certain that the majority of electricians' assistants that do this part of the work are far from skilled, with absolutely no qualifications at all.

    The final wiring, connections, and going 'live' are a different matter and should at least be checked by an experienced, qualified and competent (yes, all 3 requirements to be met) electrician, with the live connection being made by him thereafter.

    To satisfy Leecatts concerns ( about being sued ) lets add this to the start of the conversation :

    Hypothetically speaking, although I would never actually try this myself, but I am curious to learn what regulations and best practices would be for the following, and weather multiple qualified persons would all agree, what would your advise be for the following :
    Watching the ships passing by.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leecatt View Post
    I give up??
    Never, ever give up!

    What we need is a common, viable understanding of how to proceed in these things. And we do it by presenting our points of view and discussing the issues.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Gold Member daveob's Avatar
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    @ Leecatt

    Having just re-read your (and other's ) posts on this subject, I have to say that I felt the tone of your reply offensive, degrading and presumptive.

    "If someone has to come and ask questions on an open forum then it is plainly obvious that they do not have the skills to proceed successfully.
    "


    I am not an idiot. Please don't think I am. I may not be experienced in this / your field, but that does not define me as dense.

    Personally, I am a programmer ( by profession and as a hobby ), business owner (15 years) , can program PLCs, micro-controller devices in various languages, I am (reasonably) successful, work around 4 hours a day, from home, overlooking the sea, and earn an annual income with 6 zeros at the end ( before the decimal place ).

    The fact that you may, or may not, have any of the same skills that I possess does not affect how I view your capabilities and is not relevant to me, nor should my skills be relevant to you.

    I asked what I thought to be an intelligent set of questions, and expected to receive positive feedback and information.

    To assume that I am cash strapped and to assume that I don't already have (more than one and larger than 50cm ) flat screens is presumptive.

    In short, perhaps in future you should limit replies to positive, relevant to the facts available, and accurate.

    Your response could have been something along the lines of :

    Dave, Written advice can be used in a court to sue someone. Should you give advice directly to someone on this forum and something happens because of it then you may be held criminally responsible for that action, indirectly albeit but responsible nonetheless. Something as serious as telling someone it ok to wire your own house just do it this or that way can have devastating consequences for the contributor.

    I would suggest that all posts of advice of this nature should be made with a disclaimer, along the lines of "this is my personal opinion and should not be taken as professional advise, recommendation or guidance in any manner or form whatsoever"

    I have noting else of relevance to say ... end of post.



    If you didn't intend the offense that I took in your reply, then either the Ritalin I just started taking has some bad side effects, or your forum etiquette could use a little polishing.

    I trust that if / when we again cross paths on the forum, gentlemanly behaviour and etiquette will be used.

    Regards
    Dave
    Watching the ships passing by.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveob View Post
    I would suggest that all posts of advice of this nature should be made with a disclaimer, along the lines of "this is my personal opinion and should not be taken as professional advise, recommendation or guidance in any manner or form whatsoever"
    To some extent this is covered under the TFSA general disclaimer, and perhaps even internet forum culture. But I think Leecatt's point when it comes to person-to-person advice is worth bearing in mind.

    My general feeling is that when there may be fault in the advice, most often this is picked up and pointed out in a later post - the nature of forum discussions becomes auto-correcting. And essentially that is what is happening here, (whether we're talking about ians' or Leecatt's posts) although practically we're still in the process

    What I think we need to avoid is developing a culture where people are overly fearful to speak out. Let's please accept that what is said by all is done with the best of intentions as a contributor.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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