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Let there be light

February 10, 2010

At last there is light in my workshop.  I salvaged these commercial florescent light fixtures as left overs from a recently completed Wal-Mart, and while they weren’t free, they were an affordable way to light a large open area.   With the considerable help of my next door neighbor and frequent project collaborator, Rick,  we installed 16 eight foot long fixtures, each containing four 48″ long 32w bulbs.

While flourescent lights are efficient, a quick bit of math shows that it was a good thing that we ran 12 gauge wire and a 20 amp breaker.

32W X 64 bulbs = 2048W / 110 volts = 18.6 amps.  Wow.   I may have to put some solar cell panels on the roof to balance things out.  I rather like the steel construction and industrial feel the place is beginning to take on, and so I elected to mount all the electrical fixtures, including the breaker box, using formed channel strut stock.   I’m cutting these into 46″ lengths to span between the first and second horizontal support girts and bolting them on with 3/8″ hardware. 

All kinds of clamps and brackets are available to fasten pipe and conduit to the struts, so while I’m just running the electrical basics today, I can add future circuits, black iron pipe carrying compressed air, or other functionality as I set things up. 

Pulling all three conductors at the same time is made easy by lining up the spools of wire, taping the ends together to a leader and then drawing it back through the conduit run using metal fish tape on a reel.

Like every other project I have embarked upon, this is taking longer than I expected.   Hours swallowed up measuring, drilling holes and mounting struts  which first must be cut to length.  Box knock outs to be punched, threaded connectors to be trimmed and fitted, conduit to be measured, cut and glued – it all ads up.  I am using PVC conduit with metal boxes, and this is adding some complexity vs using all plastic in the first place.   Hopefully, another weekend or two and I can wrap this up, get inspected and get on to the fun part of moving in and setting up.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tim permalink
    February 10, 2010 5:57 pm

    It’s really looking amazing Mark! Any plans for, ya know, walls? 😛

  2. February 13, 2010 3:37 pm

    mark – good to see you finally shed some light on the ol’ bat cave.   2048 watts should be enough to light a small airfield. 😀

    tim – mark ordered walls but they haven’t come in yet.   the padded versions had to be specially manufactured to mark’s height and weight. 😛

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