Weekend Warrior

mostly about cars, driving them, fixing them, rating them and occasionally fixing computers, phones and things around the house

From pallet to beautiful kitchen lights

When I started this project I had no idea how to get from the pallet to what I had in my head but the end result is great for something without a plan. The biggest challenge of this whole project was taking the pallet apart. I had initially expected that to be the easiest part but as it turns out they are not so easy to take apart. After some youtubing I was able to find a way to take the pallet apart although it took much longer than I had expected.

I measured the gap in the kitchen where I wanted to put the lights and started building. It's not a complicated thing, two load bearing beams on the side, another two across those makes the basic structure. In the middle put the planks that will hold 3 small 12 volt lights. I glued all the pieces together and drove screws through them while the glue dries. I then sanded them down and vanished them with a vanish sealer. It looked quiet nice even if I say so myself. I will upload pictures of this project on Instagram @weekendwarriorsa.

The wiring was a bit of a mission because the power out of the socket is at 240 volts and my little 12 volts light bulbs would not be able to handle that. I had to find a way to get the right voltage to the bulbs. Why not just get 240 bulbs, you are probably wondering. It would remove all the unnecessary complication. The extraordinary answer to that question is someone gave me a bag full of 12 volt light bulbs. It would be cheaper in the long run, not to mention convenient to use them. So I had to use a 12 volt system. I bought a transformer that could take 240 volts and step it down to 12 volts. I wired the bulbs in parallel which complicated it a bid but if you have ever tried to find a blown light bulb in Christmas lights that are wired in series you will understand the need for this. In parallel if one blows they won't go dark, only the blown one which will make it very convenient to find the blown one and replace it.

I wired the switch incorrectly though and instate of completing the circuit I was causing a short. Each time I tried to put them on the mains would trip. I was tired and just wanted the satisfaction of seeing them come on. It took a while for me to figure out how stupid I had been, about two hours. At around 02:00 I figured out I had wired the switch incorrectly, I wasn't completing the circuit but pinching it on both sides. I remedied this by connecting the red cable in and out of the switch, the black cable to another black and earth to another earth, which is the correct way of doing it as opposed to what I was doing which is connecting red into switch and black into switch. 

A little after 02:00 I finally got the satisfaction of seeing the lights come on. It was a thing of beauty. The war had been won or so I thought. The worked flawlessly for a week. Then yesterday we had them on for a long cooking session and they just went off. I still have to diagnose why they went off. I hope it's not the transformer because I'm really not in the mood to return it. I will have to find some time and whip out my test light and try to figure out where is the power going.

 

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