HANGAR LIGHTING

There was a discussion a while back on the Matronics RV list about hangar lighting.   Here are the details of how I implemented a suggestion from my electrician to use simple cheap yard lights as hangar lighting.  These are very bright, will work at low temperatures, and only cost $25 each, about the same as one florescent shop light.  You may want to do some or all of these mods, and/or make your own mods to fit your situation.  I MAKE NO CLAIMS THAT ANY OF THIS MEETS ANY ELECTRICAL OR BUILDING CODES.  It works fine for me, and I feel it's a good safe install.  Depending on the size of your hangar or shop and how much light you want, you can use from 1 to 4 of these.  In my 48 x 38 hangar, I am installing 3 of them in a triangle pattern, with one hooked up temporarily for now.  Even just one of these puts out a LOT of light after it warms up.

 

  This is what you buy.  Only $25 at Home Depot, and the pic even shows the Home Depot part number.  It's a relatively low wattage; 175, just a bit more than the two 75w bulbs in a standard 4' shop light.  So electricity usage is much less than, say, common 400 watt industrial lighting.  You don't need as many of these as you would with 4' shop lights, and the light carries down from a high ceiling much better than 4' florescent shop lights.  You just can't do cheaper lighting than this.

 

  Remove this screw from the light sensor socket.

 

  Remove these 2 screws holding the transformer in the housing.

 

  Remove electrics from housing.

 

  Cut mount arm from housing.  The mount arm is for mounting to a vertical surface, and we will be mounting this to the ceiling.  With the leverage of the arm you're cutting off, you should be able to cut this freehand by just holding up the arm with your left hand.

 

  Cut off the light sensor mount boss flush with the top of the housing.  You'll need a piece of wood 7/8" thick to support the edge of the housing as you make the cut.  This isn't an ESSENTIAL step, but the boss is no longer needed, and this lets you use 6" lag bolts to mount the housing.  6" is usually the maximum length of commonly available 1/4" lag bolts.  If you can get 7" or 8" 1/4" lag bolts, then you can skip this step.  Or, if you're mounting to steel, you can use 1/4" threaded rod of any length you want and not need this step.  I'm mounting to the bottom of wood trusses, so I am using 6" lag bolts.

 

  Not essential, but I'd cut out the remaining center with a Dremel cutoff wheel.  Don't try to just knock these out, as the housing is very thin cheap pot metal, and you might end up knocking out a big chunk.

 

  Clean up the cut edges with a Scotchbrite wheel.  This is the mostly completed housing.

 

  Use a #19 drill to match the diameter of the existing electrics mount holes (so you retain the existing alignment), and drill all the way through the housing on each side.

 

  Now that your exit hole is established, use a 6" long 1/4" drill bit in a drill press to finish the 2 mount holes.  Or you could just mark the center of the top of the cast boss here, and just drill down in one step, without the #19 pre-drilling.

 

  Now, modify the transformer.  Remove the red wire.  Hold the Faston tabs with needlenose pliers as you do this, as the tabs are just soldered to the transformer wires and not secured that well.  We certainly don't want to break the connection between the transformer wires and the Faston tabs.

 

  On the side of the transformer that has 2 white wires, cut off the white wire that goes to the light sensor socket.

 

  Remove the black wire from the light sensor socket.  Cut it to 12" long.  Crimp a Faston terminal to one end, and put it on the transformer in the center, where the red wire was.  Thread the black wire through the loose zip tie.  You now have 1 black and 1 white wire to connect to your incoming power.  The incoming ground lead will be connected to the transformer frame and light housing via the mount bolt when you install the light.

 

  If you're running Romex to your light, cut a hole in the top, out near the edge, and put in a snap bushing.  I used a SB-625-8 busing and drilled the hole to 5/8".  If you can't use Romex, you can use armored flexible cable and run it to a wire clamp in the upper side of the housing.  Drill as necessary.    I did two like this using Romex and one using armored cable.  Pics of the armored cable setup (and the competed installation) coming soon - next time I get out to the hangar. 

 

  Here's the fully modified light, ready for installation (it's upside-down in this pic).  I am using 6" long 1/4" lag bolts that go through the transformer frame, through the light housing, and up into the bottom of wood trusses.  Pics of completed installation coming soon.  If you want to, you can also make a little plate and glue it to where you cut off the mounting arm, either for aesthetics or to please a building inspector, if applicable.  Also, I don't have pics of it yet, but there isn't room between the housing and the lag bolt heads to get a socket on the head, so I cut a slot across the head of each lag bolt and used a flat tip screwdriver to install the lag bolts.

 

  To maximize side light and not diffuse it, you can easily remove the diffusers, too.  They're open at the bottom, so it isn't like they're sealed or protecting the bulb much, anyway.  The aluminum shroud is about the same gauge as a pie pan, and you can easily unbend the crimp holding the plastic diffuser to the shroud.

 

  Here is a picture of one of the installed hangar lights.  This has Romex going through the PVC conduit, to a junction box where the Romex connects to the light wires, then through the snap bushing, into the light housing.

 

  Closeup of one of the hangar lights with Romex inside PVC conduit.

 

  Closeup of the hangar light I did using armored cable.  The black pipe is the propane plumbing.  Because the rafter trusses are 8' apart, the light and the pipe had to share anchoring on the same truss, hence the pipe dogleg around the light.

 

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