Surface light on dropped ceiling - what is required?

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by SidecarBob, Jan 3, 2018.

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  1. Jan 3, 2018 #1

    SidecarBob

    SidecarBob

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    I am finishing a 6'3" x6'8" basement bathroom which will have a dropped ceiling (24x24" PVC panels) because about 80% of it is covered by ducts and I wont to retain access to wiring, TV & internet cables &c that run through that space. The light will be a surface mount LED fixture.

    I have hung the track for the ceiling at the same height as the door opening, which only leaves a bit over 2" between the face of the tile and the cold air duct in the centre of the room where I would prefer to mount the light (this is also in the middle of a tile). As I understand it there has to be a box above the light and it cannot be supported by the ceiling tile so the box is normally tethered to a joist above with a cable or chain but there isn't room to do that in this case.

    I would like to make a bracket from .5" or .75" steel strip that would hang just below the duct and attach to the joist on either side of the duct, then bolt a 1.5" deep octagon box onto he bracket so that it is flush with the surface of the tile and mount the light to the box as I would in any other finished ceiling.

    The only problem I can think of with that is that getting the tile into place might be a bit fiddly and it wouldn't be easy to remove it later but that shouldn't be an issue if the tiles surrounding it can be removed.

    What do you think?
     
  2. Jan 3, 2018 #2

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    have you seen these.
    https://www.aspectled.com/blogs/support/led-ultra-thin-recessed-fixtures-installation-guide
     
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  3. Jan 3, 2018 #3

    Kabris

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    Your plan sounds good. If you can do pull ups on that cross section it will definitely hold a surface mount fixture, assuming the fixture weighs less than you do lol. Don't need access to that tile, just the tiles around it.
     
  4. Jan 3, 2018 #4

    SidecarBob

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    Neal: Those look good except that I really dislike flush mounted lights. When the light source is mounted above the ceiling it works like a spotlight, tending to to project the light onto the floor below instead of reflecting off of the walls & ceiling. For general room lighting surface mount fixtures will illuminate a larger area simply because the light radiated to their sides will bounce off the ceiling & walls and spread. If you want to see what I mean find a short piece of 6" or so tube (roll up some thin cardboard if you have to) and hold a light bulb inside it in a dark room, then move the bulb out and see how much more light you have.

    Besides, I already have a fixture that isn't bright enough for the larger room I bought it for but should be bright enough to light up a 6' cube with light coloured semi gloss walls.

    Kabris: That's pretty much what I was thinking. Except that the light only weighs about a pound so the bracket wouldn't need to be strong enough to hold up a lardo like me :D I am just wondering if there is anything in the electrical code that would keep me from putting a box directly below a duct.
     
  5. Jan 3, 2018 #5

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    That is true for pot lights not so sure with this as it is not in a can and has the white defuser. But I can't guarantee. Have you looked at wall fixture over sink
     
  6. Jan 3, 2018 #6

    SidecarBob

    SidecarBob

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    I could do a wall fixture as a last resort but I would rather use the one I already have if I can. It is just about perfect for in that little space.
     
  7. Jan 3, 2018 #7

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    I did mine with just lights over the mirror and put dark tile around the tub and a dark shower curtain. Then when it was all done had to figure out how to get a water proof light over the shower. It was dark in there.:trophy:
     
  8. Jan 3, 2018 #8

    SidecarBob

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    Yeah. When we moved in here the main floor bathrooms had those cheap 2 bulb fixtures (similar to the ones on the bedroom ceilings but with narrow shades instead of square ones) over the counters. There were some enclosed 2x48" fluorescent fixtures left over from the basement so I mounted them on the walls in place of the cheapies and now there's enough light to read in the bathtubs. But they are still T12s and I have been contemplating eventually putting LED in there.

    Downstairs a light over the sink would probably light up the shower well enough but with a 77" ceiling it would have to be pretty close to eye level and I don't like that much.

    In the long run, it has to end up better than a bulb in a pigtail like it has been all these years, though :p
     
  9. Jan 4, 2018 #9

    Kabris

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    Directly below a duct is fine.
     
  10. Jan 4, 2018 #10

    Snoonyb

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  11. Jan 4, 2018 #11

    SidecarBob

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    God. I have added a piece of 3/4" flat steel to my shopping list for tomorrow.

    Those whips might be OK if I was in a hurry, had a lot of lights to do and my only other option was to buy the materials and pay an apprentice to make them up. Maybe. But at $24 + shipping & duty each he would have to be a very slow apprentice...
    For just one light I think I'm better off to make a bracket and use ordinary NMSC from the spool I already have.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  12. Jan 4, 2018 #12

    Snoonyb

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    They are already made up and there are a variety of lengths available.

    Also, with a "general" light fixture, and no fixtures over specific use areas, your shadow will be on every wall.
     
  13. Jan 4, 2018 #13

    SidecarBob

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    The room is only 75" x 80", too small to put lights over "specific use areas". And even if shorter ones are cheaper in proportion they are still way overpriced.
     
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  14. Jan 4, 2018 #14

    nealtw

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  15. Jan 4, 2018 #15

    SidecarBob

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    Yeah. I did the cheap version (LED strips on wooden frames) in the garage to put light below where the overhead doors are when they are open (I like to work out there with the doors open on warm evenings) and they really make a difference. I would say that each frame (2 runs of 120 LED/M, total of 5.5M per frame) produces just about the same amount of light as one of the 2x48" T8 fixtures in the rest of the garage but the LEDs consume 25.5W compared to the fluorescents (rated at 2x32W but measured at 55W).
    If I didn't already have the light I'm going to use I might have looked at something similar for the bathroom.

    LED shop lights 1.JPG
     
  16. Jan 8, 2018 #16

    hornetd

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  17. Jan 8, 2018 #17

    hornetd

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    The support that you need is something on the order of a T-Grid Box Hanger 512. This attaches to the grid but you are supposed to tie it to the structure as well with support wires at both ends of the bar. Please note that the bar can be installed either way up in order to match the depth of box you use.
    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Jan 8, 2018 #18

    SidecarBob

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    Here's the bracket I made. You will notice that there are 2 holes in each end but only 1 screw; I removed one and loosened the other so that I could raise the box just enough to get the 5mm thick tile into place. It is now fastened securely with all 4 screws.

    Bracket for box 1.JPG

    Bracket for box 2.JPG
     
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  19. Jan 8, 2018 #19

    SidecarBob

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    And here's the finished ceiling with the LED surface fixture. When I bought this fixture I tried it in a 7' x 11' room with 8' popcorn ceiling and matte finish walls and it was nowhere near bright enough. In this little 6'3" x 6'8" room with 6'5" semi gloss ceiling and semi gloss paint on the top halves of the walls it is more than enough. In fact, I measured over 200 Lux at about 1m above the floor right under the light, which is more than any of the fluorescents or incandescents in the house produce.

    Ceiling (light off).jpg

    Ceiling (light on).jpg
     
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  20. Jan 11, 2018 #20

    Kabris

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    Nice job, looks great!
     

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