If I Can: re-wiring George The Funky Chicken

One thing about living in the city, you never know what’ll show up in your alley.  Usually it’s not the best surprise (hint: that’s not Santa…) but sometimes it is.  Tada: George the Funky Chicken!

MAJESTIC.
MAJESTIC.

How could I leave him out there all alone? Yes, I feel sorry for the lamp. So I took him in, cleaned him up, and gave him a place of honor right in the front room. Only one problem.

He doesn’t work.

So, I figured that with my vast knowledge of electrical wiring [kaff] I could figure out how to fix George. And the interwebs didn’t let me down. Mostly because it’s a super-easy project that I knocked out in less than an hour.  Here’s how I did it. Continue reading “If I Can: re-wiring George The Funky Chicken”

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If I Can: I sing the home electric

Well  since my last attempt, I may not be able to do more than swap stuff, but I’m enjoying the process.

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#1: The outlet above my oven. It started off wired. And by wired I mean wires hanging out of an open box.

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See?

So since this is the same deal – copper ground, white neutral, black live – I tried to do it myself. But I had no idea how to attach the outlet to the box, as it didn’t fit. But I learned something; the round, “Mickey Mouse” edges of an outlet snap right off with a slight bend from handy-dandy pliers. Voila! Fit perfectly. Later, I told the guys at the Depot what I’d done. Apparently those bits are made to snap off for exactly that reason: not all boxes are rectangular, so boom, snap to fit!

#2: USB chargers built right into an outlet! How festive! And a nice idea for someone like me who constantly charges her phone. Again, the copper/white/black = an easy swap.

#3: Another upgrade, a light-sensitive nightlight built into an outlet! This one was tough, as there are only three points of contact –  green screw for ground, silver for the white neutral wire, black (though sometimes it’s just uncoated brass) for the black live wire – and the outlet wasn’t just using 3 wires, it had an extra white neutral & black live. Why? Because it was part of a chain of electrical connections. Wanna know how I found out?

I installed the first one in the upstairs hall , and the lights in the front bedroom went boink.

I thought I’d simply burned out the closet light (not checking the main room, as it was daytime). But NOOOOO. Headed out to the Depot, and grilled…er, asked the guys who taught my wiring seminar what they thought it was. “Could be anything”, they replied. Perhaps a blown fuse?

So I went home and promptly freaked out. Did I end up costing myself more than I would have if I’d gotten it done professionally from the start? After 20 minutes my pity party was over, and I pulled a Winnie the Pooh and had a good think….

Could the two white wires & two black wires use just one screw/connection? Y’know, double up on each screw? Bopped back to the Depot, and the answer?

“Of course. Happens with those specialty outlets all the time.”

So I did, and it worked. And now I have a nightlight in the hall, and and lights in the front bedroom. Huzzah!

Bonus? I now love electrical tape. Insulation of the gods!

Off to shovel popcorn into my gaping maw. Treat yo self!