ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
4/2/16 9:03 p.m.

I have an exterior lamp like this (ish):

https://secure.img2.wfrcdn.com/lf/87/hash/18876/6295547/1/Acclaim-Lighting-Builders-Choice-1-Light-Wall-Lantern-5001BK-5001BW.jpg

The base behind it is a circular electrical fixture like this:

http://i.stack.imgur.com/ZGUdQ.jpg

I plan to 'upgrade' the patio with a set of string lights. I'd like to hardwire them to this fixture, which is switch controlled. How do I do this?

I know you can buy a simple waterproof cover for this type of electrical box with a 1/2" thread outlet in it.. but. how does the wiring get sealed? Some sort of EMT -> wire sealing/fitting/thing?

TRoglodyte
TRoglodyte SuperDork
4/3/16 5:59 a.m.

If I think I Understand what you are doing, use a Cord grip that threads into cover? Some places call them a strain relief?

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
4/3/16 7:10 a.m.

Are you planning on eliminating the wall fixture?

I can think of several ways to make the connection waterproof, but they will all be ugly as sin (except for snaking into the wall, and then you wouldn't need to waterproof).

BTW, your existing wall fixture is not waterproof.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
4/3/16 7:20 a.m.

Are the patio lights going to be pemanently installed? I'm not getting the hard-wire part.

If switching is the issue, you could install an outlet similar to this in the base of the fixture and just plug the patio lights in (they'd work off the switch)

You could wire a ground fault in line if you are concerned.

If you cut the plug end off the patio lights to hard wire, you are not installing to code.

Snaking down the wall into the box would be neat and clean.

Waterproof connections on the surface are going to involve conduits, cover plates, and general ugliness.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
4/3/16 8:14 a.m.

Strictly speaking, string lights aren't rated for permanent hardwire connections like you want to do. I'd replace the existing light fixture with a receptacle that has a weatherproof while in use cover, plug in the string lights, and call it a day.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
4/3/16 9:10 a.m.

Yes, your answer is to add a receptacle with a weatherproof while in use cover connected to the switched circuit. I can't imagine why you would want to permanently hard-wire string lights. By nature they aren't the most reliable types of lights in the world, even good ones. You want them to be easy to replace.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
4/3/16 10:58 a.m.

The weatherproof in use cover is the correct answer, but considering where wall lantern sconces are typically mounted, it's gonna look awful.

How about adding an outlet in the attic tied to the switch, where the string lights can be plugged in inconspicuously?

paranoid_android74
paranoid_android74 Dork
4/3/16 1:45 p.m.

What are the dimensions of the box (width and depth) the light is currently attached to?

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
4/3/16 8:28 p.m.

In reply to SVreX:

Well, one can do what a previous owner of my house did: add a spacer and then run surface raceway (down) to a receptacle.

Yeah... It looks hideous... and one of the many reasons I want to rewire the entire house.

BrokenYugo
BrokenYugo UltimaDork
4/3/16 8:42 p.m.

Without getting extra hacky, this is probably your best bet.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
4/4/16 7:23 a.m.
stuart in mn wrote: Strictly speaking, string lights aren't rated for permanent hardwire connections like you want to do. I'd replace the existing light fixture with a receptacle that has a weatherproof while in use cover, plug in the string lights, and call it a day.

Commercial grade string lights (the kind with a standard bulb-socket every 4 ft or so) are designed to be hardwired. Xmas lights are not.

SVreX wrote: How about adding an outlet in the attic tied to the switch, where the string lights can be plugged in inconspicuously?

This seems like the best answer. Hardwire them to a connection in the attic?

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