Monday, October 21, 2019

Farm wiring

Some of these fixtures are pretty rough after thirty years of hard usage.
I was installing motion activated lights on some barns today.

It is hard to believe the barns were originally built and wired by a master electrician.

What a rat's nest.

The National Electric Code specifies that "boxes" have six inches of wire available so degraded and obsolete outlets and switches can be pulled out and replaced. The guy who wired these barns begrudged even three inches and then back-stabbed the outlets. Bastard!

Even worse is that he passed bare, non-metalic wire through raw holes in the sheet metal siding. It looked like he knocked some of the holes through the sheet metal with a tire iron.
This is more appropriate type of pass-through for plastic insulated wire going through a sheet-metal wall than to snake the wire through the hole with raw edges. Link

I don't begrudge the few extra cents it takes to buy the next larger receptacle to give me extra room to fold and pack wire. I don't begrudge a few extra feet of wire. I wince when I buy outdoor grade wire when I only have a foot or two exposed to the sun...but I do it anyway. Sure it takes longer to use a hole saw to cut a round hole and bang in a grommet to protect and secure the wire. But those are the right things to do.

The last barn will be a challenge. It looks like it has been rewired and relamped at least twice and the barn only has two working outlets and two more that were abandoned in-place. Go figure.


  1. Ouch, that's NOT going to be fun.

  2. My father used to remind me of the age-old wisdom that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right. And it seems like almost every time I tried to cut corners on a project I ended up having to sooner or later redo it the right way.

    And my grandfather, who was a carpenter and builder his whole life used to say measure twice (or thrice), and cut once.

  3. Farmers are the most amazing short cut artists in the world...
    I've cleaned up after more than one.

  4. Only twice have I had a construction tradesman who did a good job without me being there to ensure it. And I don't hire from the bottom of the barrel. It's why I have a marked preference for doing my own work, even if it takes me forever + day to get something done.

    Drives Mrs. Freeholder nuts.

  5. My f-i-l law is a retired farmer. Successful farmer, very good carpenter and a pretty good jack of all trades. Common sense and mechanical aptitude and he could figure most things out. And when time was short, the master of the band-aid fix. I learned a lot from him both how to do it right and how to make it work in a pinch. And to know when NOT to use the shortcut. That said, I fixed some wiring in the machine shed last year that looked just like what you are looking at!

  6. "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?"


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