Let There Be Light

As work on the East Rail layout ramps up, one of the more annoying issues has been the “black hole” dark spot in the corner. The poor lighting was really taking the fun out of working on the railroad and needed to be addressed. Adding lighting that is effective and cleanly executed isn’t always that easy.

To the rescue was a Lithonia lighting 4 foot LED ceiling mount fixutre that I ordered from The Home Depot. When picking lighting, the first thing I look for is “horsepower” (brightness) which is measured in lumens. This particular product rates at 4000 lumens which certainly does the job. It also has adjustable color temperature and brightness knobs.

Electrical codes dictate that all connections must be made within a junction box that is accessible from the room (not behind a wall).

The tricky part of the install was that the ceiling above the fixture is actually a drywall boxout I built to conceal my home’s major hvac duct runs. This meant I needed to find the framing and also make sure I knew were the ducts were so I didn’t drill through them. Once I knew where everything was, it was the old story of wishing you had six foot long, one inch diameter, jointless arms to thread the wire through.

My good buddy Tom Klimoski, a career firefighter and master DIYer, is always reminding me of the importance of adhering to building codes. Codes aren’t a case of “the man” telling you what to do in your own home. Their sole purpose is to keep people from burning their homes down, killing themselves, etc…..all worthy objectives I think we can all agree.

Tom reminded me that two key wiring codes are: a) All electrical connections must be made in a junction box and b) junction boxes MUST be accessible from the room, not hidden behind drywall. In other words, some jury rigged, just twist the wires and stuff them behind the walls, deal is just downright dumb from a safety standpoint. It only takes an extra hour to do things to code and the peace of mind is worth it.

The layout room is now bathed in bright and evenly distributed lighting. Onward and upward.