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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dollhouse - Twin Wire - Wiring a Ceiling Light

Let there be light. Well the next step for me was to put in the lighting. It seemed a little overwhelming at first, but once I got started it was pretty simple. Remember that every floor will be covered with something so it's easy to hide the wires for the ceiling in the room above its floor. So my advice would be at a minimum put a ceiling light in every room.

There are 2 different ways to go here.
  • Copper Tape Wire Method
  • Twin Wire Method
I think the more popular way to go is the copper tape, but I went with the twin wire. It just seemed more straight forward to me. I have messed with electric in a regular house before and the twin wire seemed more similar to the real thing and I figured I may have an easier time with it.
So here are the steps I used.

0. Make sure the ceiling is painted / papered / or finished. Also, make sure you test each light before you start messing with it.

1. Measure out the room on the bottom and find the center, then transfer it to the floor of the room above.

2. Drill a hole, I used a Trim Nail, since I didn't have anything that small to drill with. It worked fine.

3. I ran all the wires straight back so use a square or a ruler to draw a lines on either side of the nail.

4. Use a Metal Ruler and an Razor blade to score the 2 lines. Then start angling the cuts on a v pattern to form a v channel from the nail to the edge of the floor.

5. Finally, use some sand paper, the nail, or a file to clean out the groove.

6. I needed to use a needle nose pliers grib and twist the plugs one at a time.

7. Once they are both removed push the wire from the back, straighten out the wire and the pull the plug off the end.

8. Straighten out the wire all the way from the fixture to the end. Then feed the wire through the ceiling.

9. The fixture had an adhesive sticky on it, but take my advice use a little tacky glue. The first one fell down under it's own weight in a hour or so.

10. The hold the fixture up for a minute or so.
11. Tuck the wire down in the V channel and eyeball it to make sure it does not stick up past the floor.
12. Use a piece of masking tape to cover the wire. I tried to get this nice and smooth with no lumps or bubbles.
13. Finally, stick the wires back in the opposite way they came out. I used a needle nose again to push them back in. Then run the wire along the outside edge of the walls down to the electric box.

If the light doesn't work, take out the plugs and strip the wire a little on the end by pinching it with your nails and pulling off. Re-assemble the plug and test. If you tested the light before you installed this is really the only point of failure.

Later I want to put individual switches for each room on a panel at the bottom of the doll house, which I will show up here. If anyone has any advice on how to pull that off let me know. Also, I still need to figure a permanent way to keep all the wires. And as far as the roof goes, it has a flat roof and I am not sure what you are supposed to do with that so I am not sure how to pull that off. Once I figure it out I will post it back up here.

1 - Transformer - $25
1 - Electric Kit - $25
10 - Light Fixtures - $12 each - $120 bucks
1 - Tacky Glue - $2
1 - Masking Tape - $1

Running Total: 220 ish.

Again, make sure the lights work before you get started. Also finish the ceiling before you get started. Lastly it is expensive, but the lights are soo worth it. They bring the whole thing to life and the kids think it's the coolest thing.
I put a ceiling light in almost every room. I will post it all lit up soon.

Oh and finally the finished product:

1 comment:

dale said...

Hello Robert! :)
Thanks for stopping by my blog and giving me this link. I'm going to share it with hubby, gotta get him moving on this, lol ;)

You're in Sicklerville? I'm in Collingswood! Small world!

And you're an engineer? my hubby's an ME and he's currently building a machining shop in the garage.

You engineers are all alike. ;)

Thanks again, I'll be looking forward to more of your postings in the future. :)