Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sodium Light Redux and Repurpose.

As always, electricity is dangerous when not respected and injury, death and property damage can happen even under the best of circumstances. Some training on wiring, and the use of some safety tools and procedures including lock out/ tag out would be a good idea. Be sure to follow all applicable electrical codes and perform all outdoor wiring through a G.F.C.I. or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. This will shut off the electricity during a ground fault, a condition that is extremely dangerous. Think of the scenario of taking a bath and a hair dryer falling into the tub when you think of a ground fault. I've put these in my kitchen and bathrooms as well as outside. These outlets cost about $10 to $15, but are much cheaper than an emergency room visit or funeral.  If there isn't one or you aren't sure there is one or how to do it, better to contact a licensed journey electrician to install a G.F.C.I for you. I've done home repairs for over 20 years and will still consult one if there is something I'm not sure of. Do this and any other repairs or mods at your own risk.

To be honest with you, this is more of an idea for the handyman than an actual fix. Back in December, my then employer at Aire Serv had me relamp the four lights at the back of the office and they looked and still look like this one. They have a 75 watt high pressure sodium bulb. As you all may or may not know these bulbs are $15 to $20 apiece. He bought four bulbs and in the intense cold, I was able to resurrect three by just replacing the bulbs. I told him that the fourth was going to need to be rebuilt and likely was going to exceed the cost of a new assembly. He agreed and bought an L.E.D. fixture, which I dutifully installed. I asked and he let me keep the light in which I saved rather than trashing it. Except for some yellowing and a little sun damage, the casing was fine and the socket was intact. I relegated it to my shed for nearly six months. Fast forward to yesterday, I bought a 13 watt CFL bug light, some plastic conduit and an elbow, along with a couple of male adapters to fit into the socket and the bottom of the light, which incidentally had no knockout, only a casting on the bottom, which I drilled out with a Christmas tree bit and threaded one of the adapters into so I could feed the conduit to.

The sodium light was bright enough for any dark area, and the trailer park I live in is very dark indeed. However, it's nice to be able to see the stars at night too. As it turned out, the electric eye was bad and that needed to be replaced anyway. So I removed and saved the igniter and ballast, installed the new eye and since this was an Edison (medium) base, installed the CFL (Compact Florescent Lamp). All that was needed was to connect the neutral wires together. Attach the black wire on the electric eye to the hot side on the line going in and the red wire to the hot lead for the bulb. Put the case back together and viola!, a light that's tough, not too bright and does the job perfectly. Maybe I'll install an L.E.D. bulb in this thing during the winter, but for now the yellow CFL bug light works great. Maranatha!

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