Advice needed on lighting updates

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by mattmattmatt, 10 Oct 2021.

  1. mattmattmatt

    mattmattmatt

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    Hi all,

    I've been lurking here a while and the forums have been really helpful with a lot of work I've been doing around a new house - thanks for all the help so far!

    I'm in a 70s build modernist house (unrendered concrete block, flat roof, lots of exposed brick and timber etc). Sometime in the 90s and early 2000s previous owners have done some absolutely shocking 'renovations' including throwing out original features and throwing up artex or dot and dab plasterboard - done badly to boot with corners missing and wonky walls. For the electrics, we had a satisfactory EICR done recently along with upgrading the old fuse board to an RCBO board but a lot of the installations are at a minimum head-in-hands inconvenient / botched / horrendous to look at. One in particular I'm looking to change is here:

    [​IMG]

    Why that light is 90 degrees to the joists, I have no idea. And I'd be interested if anyone knows the regs for having a cable suspended across a gap like that!

    Anyway, the lighting circuit is loop in switch so the cable coming to the light is single t+e. Joins into that box on the joist like so:

    [​IMG]

    I'm going to swap this out for some pendant lights but wanted to get advice on the best way to add in multiples. Two rough drawings are below - either wiring the lights one after the other in a 'loop' or using a junction box to split into two lines of two lights. Of course there will need to be a junction box of sorts to replace this one anyway (will probably just switch this to a WAGO box on similar). All work will remain surface mounted so probably get some fancy looking cables. Possibly metal conduit to fit with the original aesthetic but I'm already tired thinking about hiring a bender. Any advice or opinions on this?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. flameport

    flameport

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    Either will work, but if using conduit the second option will be easier and look better.
    There are ways to do it without bending the conduit, but it will still need to be threaded.
    Galvanised steel junction box to match the conduit.
     
  4. ericmark

    ericmark

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    To be neat and compliant likely looking at Ali-tube or mineral insulated cable, the latter is not DIY, tried lighting an old listed building and dark ceilings are really a problem, I would be looking at plaster board and deciding if you want functional or looks, today we do have strip lighting, and low profile battens, but it is not just how to light, it is how to light and look good.
     
  5. mattmattmatt

    mattmattmatt

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    Cheers both, really helpful.

    I'm leaning towards the second as well for both aesthetics and feels 'cleaner' having a box that can be added to / subtracted from if needed. For the galv conduit, I've seen pre-bent threaded corners / elbows that would work and unless I decide to do some other rooms similarly, would be cheaper than renting a bender anyway.

    MICC would look good but no way I'm getting involved in that process. Definitely not looking to plasterboard - I've just sanded back and sealed the ceiling in the bathroom that someone had painted (badly). Dark ceiling isn't a problem, just need to get rid of that awful light fixture. Will probably be pendants but there's some track lighting up in other rooms that also looks good but probably a little too bright and 'spotty' for this room.
     
  6. ericmark

    ericmark

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    Ali-tube looks like mineral but easier to install. The system should be designed to not fall down in a fire not sure how long, so plastic cable clips can be used, but every so often a clip which will not melt is required.

    Lighting track clearly doubles as conduit, back in 70's I got some from Habitat when we still had Habitat shops, I was not impressed as there seemed to be no cable entry, just three wires, but today I am sure much improved.

    I find it does not matter how many times I ask SHMBO it that the final plan, once lighting fitted it changes, so lighting track seems good.
     
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  8. OwainDIYer

    OwainDIYer

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    You can avoid threading conduit if you use conlok fittings.

    More expensive than threaded but you won't be needing very many.

    An option that would allow flexibility and suit the building would probably be low-voltage tension wire systems.
     
  9. Harry Bloomfield

    Harry Bloomfield

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    FP 200 cable can look as good as MI cable and no special tools or skill is needed.

    If using galv tube, why not limit the tube to just putting in the straight sections, leaving the cable exposed just at the bends?
    You could add a short thread and external bushes at the ends, or in fact a trick I learned Italy...

    You saw the tube square, file it smooth to remove burrs - next you place just the lip edge over an anvil, tapping it with a cross-pein hammer, on the inside lip, so as to stretch it to form a short funnel shape.
     
  10. winston1

    winston1

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    If you go for those systems it is essential to use real transformers not the electronic switch mode supplies to avoid emc problems.
     
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  11. mattmattmatt

    mattmattmatt

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    Thanks again all, those are some great suggestions. My original doubt was on the correct way to wire with a junction box or not but it's been really great to get more opinions on the aesthetic side of things!

    I'd checked out Conlok before and they seem like a great idea for ease. I'd heard anecdotally that there was grounding issues but I'm presuming this is more in high use / industrial situations. What they were intended for instead of a design choice in a small room.

    The FP200 is also really interesting - there are some spots in the house (hallway mainly) that I thought the MICC would look great but cost/effort for a DIY install was a terrible idea. That's kind of opened that back up.

    I hadn't thought about using the suspension system before and I'll look into it further. Seems pretty cost effective too.

    In case anyone's interested, I'd found a few flexible conduit systems online like this: https://www.creative-cables.co.uk/3043-tubes-system. Definitely designed explicitly for style over function and the boxes/switches are just marked up standard items. Then there's the extreme end of 'more money than sense' with stuff like this: https://theworkshopbelow.com/products/20mm-conduit-tee-box-antique-brass ;)
     
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