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Thread: Danger Zone ??

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    Default Danger Zone ??

    Hello all,

    Is this light dangerous? I have provided four photos of the light above my medicine cabinet. Can you experts tell what's wrong with this light if anything? It is old, but if it's safe I will reinstall it.
    If it is dangerous, I have the challenge of finding a new light that is approximately 14" long (the width of the medicine cabinet. There is currently no GFCI outlet in this bathroom, do they make new lights with GFCI outlets on them?

    I appreciate the input from anyone,

    Thanks in advance, Molo
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  2. #2

    Default

    It looks unbroken, are you concerned that one side is a little rusty? If it is not damaged then there is no reason to think anything is wrong. Usually the convience plug is facing down so it can be used, intended for an electric razor. You won't find a GFCI light fixture because only receptacles are GFCI protected.

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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    I believe I see a ground wire in the wall box ...

    I would try to fish some wire down the wall alongside the cabinet (maybe about halfway down), then install a GF outlet and power it from the original wire ... then run protected power back up to the light and remove its 2-prong outlet altogether.

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    Hello all,

    In particular, I am wondering if the fact that the back of the light fixture being so open is OK? Essentially the wire nuts that are connecting the box to the light will be hangin in the open wall cavity. So essentially it will be a junction made outside of a metal box. Is this safe?

    TIA,
    Molo

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default light

    There should/must be a ground wire to the light's housing and the receptacle has to be removed, or at least disconnected. Normally the light's wiring would be connected directly to the wires in the box, rather than having the pigtails to extend the leads.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    I can't tell for sure, but it looks like the neutral is bonded to the case of the light fixture. I'd replace the thing, move the box so that it is centered over the cabinet and the light can be anchored as designed. I'd much prefer a safety ground on the light, especially since it is in a bathroom. If you then fix up the drywall, plaster, whatever there, your choice of fixtures goes up to nearly infinity...there is a huge quantity of lamp available. Before you move the box, check out the light, you may find one deeper than you want, and need to raise it a bit so the light doesn't hang over the top of the cabinet.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7

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    The outlet is not safe and the wall being torn up is possibly more unsafe.

    If there is an elec problem, it is generally at the wire connections. The boxes are designed to contain these problems for a reasonable time. If you have arcing in this j box, you have an open cell into the attic.

    Repair the wall and properly install a new fixture. If the wies and lampholders look good, just disconnect the outlet and use the old fixture.

    You could add a GFCI outlet below this fixture but if there is only one set of wires in the fixture the GFCI will only be hot when the light is switched on.
    Last edited by Alectrician; 07-03-2007 at 05:16 PM.

  8. #8
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alectrician
    You could add a GFCI outlet below this fixture but if there is only one set of wires in the fixture the GFCI will only be hot when the light is switched on.
    Not if you power the light through the GFCI.

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alectrician
    The outlet is not safe and the wall being torn up is possibly more unsafe.

    If there is an elec problem, it is generally at the wire connections. The boxes are designed to contain these problems for a reasonable time. If you have arcing in this j box, you have an open cell into the attic.

    Repair the wall and properly install a new fixture. If the wies and lampholders look good, just disconnect the outlet and use the old fixture.

    You could add a GFCI outlet below this fixture but if there is only one set of wires in the fixture the GFCI will only be hot when the light is switched on.
    Thanks for the help. Are you suggesting that I could repair the wall, disconnect the outlet, and use the light if the "wies (wires?) and lampholders look good"? If so, could you please tell me what the lampholders are?

    Also, I had the same thought about the GFCI only being run by the switch. This would be fine as the only light in the bathroom is controlled by a switch, and can't imajine someone shaving in the dark. The original setup was this light only. Now I took power from the box (in the photos) and brought it up to a bathroom celing fan/light. Which is also controlled by the one switch in the bathroom. If I did the GFCI out of that box, I would have 4 wires going into that box.

    Thanks for any input,

    TIA, Molo

  10. #10
    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    As long as you're opening walls & fishing wires, why not run the gfi from the switch box, where you have constant power? Just a thought...

    Some people use rechargeable cordless shavers, would you ant to have to leave the light on to charge it?

    There's a limit to how many wires any particular box can hold, something to do with heat buildup. An electrician (or maybe alectrician) would tell you for sure, but I think 4 sets of wires would be too much for your box.

    Definitely want all connections to be inside a box. No splices in the wall cavity.

    "Lampholder" is sparky-speak for the bit where you screw the bulb in: what you and I would call a socket.

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    If splices "in the wall cavity" aren't allowed (which I am aware of), then the design of this light, with it's open back allows for splices on the outside of the wall cavity. The back of this light is 14" wide and 4" high of open space where the wires can drift around outside of the box where they are coming from. Are these kinds of splices safe? Also, I agree Frenchie, as long as I have it open right now I might as well incorporate the GFCI, and do whatever I need to do to bring the box size to meet code. Presently the power comes into the box that is directly behind the light, and is run over to the switch. The box behind the light and the switch box are the only two boxes in the bathroom. I would like to add a ceiling fan/light (controlled by the same switch), and a GFCI outlet.

    TIA,
    Molo

  12. #12
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Default ???????

    Is there something else that comes on with this light?

    What I am seeing is two whites and two blacks connected to the light.

    I donít see where there is a switch leg being dropped out of the box.

    All splices and joints as well as conductors MUST be in the box.

  13. #13
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    Hello JW,
    This light also has a switch on top. The switch and light are wired into the box. From the box (out of the top) is where there is a leg going to the switch. (the white is colored black, and the black is black. I would like to add a vent/light to this switch, and a GFCI outlet. If all splices must be in a box, how could this be done with this light?

    Thanks for any input, and constructive criticism,

    TIA,
    Molo

  14. #14
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Is there more than two wire nuts in the box?

    I can't see but two.

    Could you take and post a picture of all the conductors in the box?

  15. #15
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    Yes, I will have some detail photos there in 30 minutes.

    TIA,
    Molo

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