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DGR: carrots, and a light/fan timer switch

News, Baby ·Saturday January 20, 2018 @ 06:37 EST (link)

Typing this at 0630 while holding a just-sleeping DGR—after we watched a few episodes of This Old House together. Honey is not feeling well and is sleeping after a long night with him. Some pictures including him having carrots and getting ready to have some rice cereal.

I installed a Lutron MA-T51MN countdown timer switch in our downstairs bathroom for the light/fan (combination unit). It's about $35 and a good energy/time saver; set the timer (5-60 minutes) and let it count down and turn off automatically (can also be set to "on" to stay on normally). When there's a minute left it will turn off momentarily and then the LED will flash faster for the remaining time. If a time greater than 5 minutes is set, the LEDs will move down through the settings as it counts down. I looked at several of these switches online and this was about the only one that didn't look terrible.

Wiring was fairly simple: after turning off the breaker and removing the wall plate, I had to unbundle the neutrals (NEC 2011 requires them to be brought to switch boxes, and they had been, joined with a wire nut) and connect a neutral wire to the switch, and then move the common/load hots from the old switch to the new (new is pickier, common must go to black screw terminal). There is a version that doesn't require a neutral (the non-MN model) and apparently uses a trickle charge to power the LEDs (which may not work with very energy efficient low wattage fans). It works great; I have another one to install in the master bathroom too.

In the continuing workshop power saga, the ground rod has been installed and connected. When I went to install one of my tandem breakers in the 70A sub-panel the first "electrician" (let's call him bozo for short) installed, there was no room since the #2 wires coiled around inside took up too much space. I considered turning it upside-down so the wires would come more directly to the lugs (minor code violation: breaker "on" would no longer be up), but I couldn't get the hot wires back into the lugs, so I opted to move up to a 100A panel: much better fit, and going from 2 to 6 spaces means I no longer need tandem breakers.

I installed a first receptacle, but it was not able to power a lamp. Broke out the multimeter. 16V from ground to neutral; apparently this is way out of spec; max of about 3V is expected. 124V from ground to each hot; 104V/136V from neutral to hots. Something's wrong with the neutral. Probably has something to do with how it's wire-nutted to a much smaller wire using a wire nut thinner than the #2 wire itself (an electrician friend says a split bolt should be used); so it's probably an "open neutral" that shouldn't be too hard to fix—I hope. Measurements at the service panel from the breaker going to the workshop to the (bonded) ground/neutral are the expected ~123V.