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Help With Wiring Light Fixtures

Discussion in 'Electricity/Wiring' started by AjaMichelle, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member


    I have to re-install the basking light fixture in my savannah monitor enclosure because the sockets weren't paired with mounting/celing boxes or grounded. However, since this has to be done over again, I now have to do it by myself. It seems straightforward, but I want to be sure it's done correctly. Let me know if I'm doing this wrong:

    So I have what I believe to be keyless porcelain sockets. These sockets are not grounded. There are two.


    I purchased these ceiling boxes to pair with the sockets.



    I have the "hot" wire (black) connected to the brass screw on the socket, and the neutral wire (white) connected to the silver screw.


    The socket connects to the ceiling box via screws, then the ceiling box attaches to the enclosure. I am mounting everything directly to inside, nothing is inset. Do I remove these (pink 'X') perforated spots to feed the wires through? What can I use to break the perforations?


    How do I ground the box?
    I have a green wire for ground I was going to attach here (green) with this green screw.


    After I attach the ground wire, I need to feed it out of the enclosure with the black and white wires. To what do I literally attach the green wire to ground it?

    This enclosure is not wired into the circuit of my home. I am planning on plugging the enclosure into a nearby socket via a cord. The only lights in the enclosure are two 4 foot fluorescent bulbs and two 45 watt incandescent bulbs. The fluorescent bulbs are regulated by an electronic ballast.
  2. JoeyG

    JoeyG Subscribed User Premium Member

    Okay let's see if I got all this right and let me know if I miss something. First for knocking out the pink x all you need is a screw driver of something to beat it through. It's only attached with one little tab so just break it off. You should purchase a half inch "chase nipple" and a lock ring for it so it protects the wire from being cut as it goes through the hole.

    Your connections are correct with the hot and neutral wires. Now explain to me how you're getting from the socket to the cord that will plug in? Also does the cord you're looking to use have 2 or 3 prongs to plug in. If 2 you wont be able to ground your little metal box anyway. For your application you'd be fine with a plastic box.

    In order to ground your box via the "ground" wire you need for your cord to have the 3rd wire in it. Are you making a splice somewhere? If you can get a "S O cord" with "twelve, two" (or even an old extension cord you can cut) you can get a male cord cap to put on one end and plug right into your recepticle (using an old cord you'd have one already), the other end wires directly to your light and has the ground wire in it. Let me know what you plan to do and I'll help you which ever way you go with it. :) Hope this made sense, it did in my head :D
  3. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Sweeet thanks so much!!! :)

    That definitely made sense.

    I do not have a chase nipple or lock ring, but I can go get these. There's an Ace hardware up the street from my house. :)

    Getting from the socket to the cord:

    The hot and neutral wires feed through this hole to the outside of the enclosure. But I plan to have the ceiling box in between the socket and the wood of course. :)


    Then they attach to this cable:

    I'm not done cutting it yet so the ground wire is still super short. :)

    Then that yellow cable goes to this gang box along with another cable for the electronic ballast/fluorescent bulbs.

    Each lighting unit (the ballast and sockets, respectively) is powered via these black extension cords, and they are grounded. :)

    So my question about grounding has apparently already been answered. :) The person who was doing this for me finished connecting everything in the gang box. I just need to get the ceiling box on the enclosure and connect the wires from the socket to the yellow cable. So the ground wire in the yellow cable connected to the switch feeds into the enclosure and I attach that to the ceiling box to ground it right? Like so:
    The ground wire

    screwed into here

    in the enclosure.

    While the hot and neutral wires

    connect to the hot and neutral wires from the yellow cable

    with wire connector caps

    Are the caps color coded?
  4. Rakoladycz

    Rakoladycz Elite Member

    I suppose you could color code them but no it is not necessary. I often use all of the same as they are more dependent on the gauge of wire you are trying to put together. Plus you can see which wires go/come from it.

    I actually wired my basking lamps into my ballast so that it all comes out with one cable and into one timer. They both come on and go off at the same time. This may not actually be the safest way to do it, but I see know dangers... I am however NOT an electrician. lol
  5. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Awesome! Thanks! :) Hopefully I can figure out which cap is the right size.

    Have I missed any other essential components necessary for preventing fires, etc.?
  6. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    You're going to have to make that hole in the enclosure ceiling larger to accommodate for the chase nipple, at least on the inside. If you have one, just use a larger bit, the same size or a bit larger than the nipple's diameter, and countersink it. As for the wire nuts, they do not need to be coded, but all the wiring (hot, neutral and ground) should be. The biggest thing is making sure you cannot see any bare wire and that all the wire nuts and splices are well secured--just give them a slight tug to make sure.
  7. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    So I need a hole that the chase nipple can be inserted into? And the chase nipple functions to protect the wires all the way out of the enclosure?

    I don't think countersinking will work because my ply is only like half an inch thick. I think I'll need to drill a hole through the ply that matches the diameter of the chase nipple. Also, it looks like I'll have to drill another hole because the ceiling box offsets the way the wires exit.

    The bag the wire connecters came in designates what combination of wires and diameters are appropriate for each cap. Matt, you're saying to use a different color for the hot, neutral and ground, respectively?
  8. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    The chase nipple is going to protrude from the box, so unless you have some sort of spacers or standoffs between the box and the ceiling you will have to bore a larger hole for the rim of the nipple to set in to. You should only need t countersink about 1/4" deep to accommodate the nipple.

    The wire nuts don't need color coding, just the wiring (wiring is usually: hot=black, neutral=white, ground=green/brown or striped). Usually certain manufacturers will color code their wire nuts in order to differentiate accepted gauges. The color of wiring pretty much says it all, so there's no need for color coded nuts :)
  9. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    :) Thanks! That makes a lot more sense now.

    Can I just feed the wires out of the box without using a chase nipple?
  10. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    No, I wouldn't...especially when being fed through bare wood. The idea behind the nipple is to protect the wire's sheathing--the edges of the hole in the metal box can be extremely sharp, often scoring/removing the protective sheathing which then exposes bare wire to the elements...which could result in a fire. Even if the bare wire doesn't come in direct contact with wood it can ignite dust that will eventually accumulate within the box.
  11. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Well the way the wires are exiting the box shouldn't result in any rubbing. :( It seems like they will only come into contact with the wood since the metal is flush with the wood, and the exit hole in the box is large, and the hole in the wood through which the wires will feed is small.

    Also, when I ground the wire to the box, the screw will protrude from the top of the box. I don't want it coming into contact with the wood so I was going to drill a hole in the wood such that when viewed from above, the screw is seen but it's basically sitting in an open gap. Does that make sense? It makes sense in my head. :)
  12. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    Still, the nipple is a safety precaution. You could probably get away with it, but it's a risk. The choice is yours :)

    Makes sense to me. You could even stick a bit of electrical tape on the end of the screw just to be extra safe.
  13. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Thanks! :) I appreciate all of the help!
  14. JoeyG

    JoeyG Subscribed User Premium Member

    okay I hope I'm not too late. I see what you're doing now :) In this case you're best using a "romex connector". You should bring the "yellow" cable all the way to the socket without splicing above your enclosure. this is the safest way to do it. Mark where your metal box will be and then drill a hole only for your connector to fit through and into the metal box's half inch hole. you don't need a chase nipple then as the romex connector is made for this very application. I can't recommend you leave a splice uncovered on top. Even if you make a good splice it's not the safest way to do these things, something could fall on it or even water. The yellow sheath of the cable helps to protect the current carrying wires inside, so it's best to bring it directly in. then everything is color to color and the bare copper wire goes on your green screw. Ensure it wont make contact with either of the other terminations in the socket.
  15. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    Hey Joey!

    I already rigged everything up but it's exactly as you describe minus the Romex connector. I drilled holes through the ceiling of the enclosure that are the size of the hole in the ceiling box and pulled the yellow cable into the ceiling box instead of splicing outside of the enclosure. Only a very small portion of each respective wire is exposed--- only what was required for a good connection to the terminations. The bare copper wire is connected to the ground screw and there's an open pocket around the ground screw where it screws into the wood, so the only material in contact with the screw is the metal of the ceiling box. The yellow cable is taut exiting the enclosure so it's not in contact with the sharp metal where I believe the romex connector and chase nipple are intended to go. Also, the copper ground is taut so it's not in contact with the terminations.

    Thanks for all of your help! :) I didn't realize when I started keeping herps that I'd end up learning all of this other awesome stuff too lol :)



  16. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    Looks good to me. How close are the bulbs to the basking surface? Are they on dimmers?
  17. AjaMichelle

    AjaMichelle Elite Member

    I'll need to measure but I think they're about 12 inches away from that shelf, and now that I'm adding the slate of flagstone they'll be a little closer but it's only about an inch tall.

    I put the shelf in based on parameters in her current enclosure (space between the lights, distance to the lights, basking surface medium, etc.).

    I tested the lights and basking spot surface temperature several times before adding the ceiling boxes and flagstone, and the basking spot surface temperature never went over ~125*F. Of course, the doors weren't on. :)

    I have been thinking of dimmers. Can I add those later if the spot is too warm? :)

    Knowing my luck everything will be too warm lol
  18. Rakoladycz

    Rakoladycz Elite Member

    Yes you can add dimmers later.
  19. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I can pretty much guarantee you that spot is going to be too hot eventually.
    Flagstone retains heat very well and it will build up overtime.
    I recall a Uro habitat I had setup that I used flagstone under a single lamp. It had no problems hitting 200 degrees Fah.
    So check the temps a few times a day to see what it's building up to.
  20. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    Agreed...and even if dimmed the lamps seem a bit too close in general. Personally I try to keep all heating elements out of reach to avoid any potential injury.

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