Project Garage Part II


The vision for Project Garage is to have as much light as possible over every workspace.  There will be one fluorescent ballast located at each car space with another light added at the back of the garage to illuminate the rear of the cars. Since the garage doors, when open, would block the light coming from this rear ballast, it will be operated with a switch so it is not constantly on. With energy conservation (and lower electricity bills) in mind, Project Garage will be lit with 32 watt T8 electronic ballasts. 5 F32CWT8 ballasts were purchased for $42* a piece. Each required four 4′ long 32 watt T8 bulbs which were bought in bulk, 10 bulbs for $20. The bulbs emit 2850 lumens and have a 20,000 hour lifespan.

Rear ballast switch wiring
By now, you should be well versed to replace every light in your house!  Recessed lighting in the halls, pendant lights over the bar, chandeliers in the master bedroom…  I’m just saying…

The power for the switch for the rear ballast was pulled by tapping into the pre-wired ceiling outlet that will eventually power a garage door opener in the future. Remove the face plate to the outlet and pull the receptacle down. Feed one side of the cable wire down the hole and wire it to the receptacle the same way as we did last month adding outlets. The wires are connected in a clockwise formation with hots (blacks) on one side to the gold screws, neutrals (whites) on the other side to the silver screws, and the bare copper grounding wires pigtailed. A stud finder (not the same one used for a drinking night with the girls…) was used on the wall to locate a place to install the switch and a hole was cut next to the stud for the switch box. On a finished wall, a switch box that has plugs on the top and bottom which are screwed into the drywall is much easier to attach than one that screws or nails into the stud.

Hindsight is always 20/20. While it would have been more practical and certainly easier to wire a switch before the insulation and drywall was added, a reel of fish tape ($10) simplified the complicated job of wiring completed walls. Feed some fish tape through the switch box hole up the wall to the attic. The end of the fish tape has a hook to attach the wire coming from the outlet and going to the ballast in a u-shape and drag it back down the wall. If the switch is at the end of a circuit, only one cable must be fed down the wall.

Rear ballast
A fluorescent ballast at the rear of the garage will make working on rear suspension or brakes MUCH easier.


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