This instructable will show you how I replaced the wall mounted outdoor light fixture on my house with this lovely (and cheap) custom lantern.
You can see the lamp fixture I was replacing in the first photo in relation to the gazebo. It wasn't much use to me there. My wife and I didn't use the gazebo in the cooler evenings (when it was dark) as we couldn't see anything clearly.
I therefore came up with a cunning plan to move the fixture and create a lantern in the middle of the gazebo. The end result is the second photo.
Step 1: Safety Notice
IMPORTANT NOTE: When working with electrics always remember to shut off the breaker and make sure the circuit is not live while working on it.
WHEN WORKING ON LADDERS: Do not work on ladders alone. Always have someone else with you holding the ladders steady. Should you fall they can call for help (if needed). It can save your life. A fall of a few inches can kill.
I am not responsible for any injury or damage to yourself or your home and anyone else who follows this instructable. This instructable assumes an understanding of electrical safety and household wiring.
Step 2: Tools and Equipment Needed
I purchased the following items to be able to complete this instructable. You may substitute whatever lantern you like and use this as a guide to how to complete something similar.
The items purchased:
- Stainless steel outdoor lantern on clearance at Target for $9.98.
- 15ft Indoor/Outdoor extension cord from Home Depot. Approx $7
- A weather proof lamp connector from Home Depot. Approx $3
- A Metal, Wet Location, outlet box. Approx $8
- Some Clamp Connectors. Home Depot. Approx $3
- Blank Outlet cover, wet location. Home Depot. Approx $5
In addition to this I used:
- Stainless chain link, left over from another project
- Crimp Spade connectors and loop connector
- 1x small nut and bolt
- 3D Printed custom designed lamp topper (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1666147)
- Two small pieces of heat shrink tubing
- Cables ties
- Drill and bits
- Wire cutters
- Wire stripper (optional)
- Crimp Tool
Step 3: Design Lantern Topper
I custom designed and 3d printed a "topper" for the lamp. In the first picture you can see the hole that the lantern had. I measured the hole with my digital calipers. I also measured the extension cord I planned to use so that I could create a pass through to the inside of the lantern.
This piece serves to close the hole over to the elements and provide a nice path for the extension to pass through.
I designed the part in Autodesk 123d and printed in PLA on my Printrbot Simple metal. I used Makerbot true black pla.
I do not intend to show you how to create the printed part but have made it available on thingiverse to download.
Step 4: Wire Up the Lantern
Drill a hole in the lantern top with a metal bit of suitable to the size for the nut and bolt you are using. I used a M5 nut and bolt I had lying around spare. I center punched the position of the hole before drilling to stop the biot slipping on the metal surface.
I push fitted the 3d printed part to the lantern and then proceeded to wire up the extension cord
- Pass the extension cord through the connector from the top and pull it all the way through the door of the lantern.
- Clip off both ends of the extension cord.
- Strip off the outer sheath about 4 inches from end the extension and strip the end of the green wire inside.
- Use a loop crimp on the green (earth/ground) connector.
- Shorten the black and white wires to about 2 inches and strip the ends.
- Crimp spade connectors to the ends of the black and white connectors.
Once I had completed that I shortened and stripped the ends of the weatherproof lamp connector and use the opposing crimp connectors on the end.
Pass the connector ends through the heat shrink tubing and connect the ends of the extension to the lamp connector. White to white, black to black. Add a cable tie to the end of the extension cord just at the end of the outer sheathing.
Once this is done pull the extension cable up into the lamp till it bumps up against the printed insert. Put another cable tie as close to the outside top of the printed insert. This stops the lamp moving up and down and holds it steady in the insert.
Next connect the ground/earth loop with the nut and bolt through the hole you drilled in the lantern earlier. This makes sure the the case is safely earthed/grounded.
Add some chain links to the handle of the lantern of the length you would like the lantern to hang down from the gazebo.
Step 5: Replacing the Old Exterior Lamp Fitting
The old fixture was controlled by a switch inside the house and it seemed logical to replace it with something more useful.
NOTE: As previously stated, make sure to switch off all circuit breakers at the fuse box before working on any electricals.
Assuming this is done, let's proceed.
I removed the two nuts/screws holing the old fixture to the wall and was presented with the mounting shown in picture two.
I carefully disconnected the wire nuts connecting the fitting to the mains and set them aside for later use.
I removed the old metal cross fixture and lined up the new outlet box. I marked the holes used to mount the box to the wall and drilled the holes. I used rawl plugs in the hole to provide a secure mount when screwing the box to the wall. I passed the old wires through the back of the outlet box and secured it to the wall using two exterior grade screws.
There was a little gap around the outlet box that needed a little filler work beside it which I took care of with caulking. I ran a bead of caulk all the way around the edges of the box to make sure no rain etc could get down behind it.
I hung the new lantern from the hook in the inside of my gazebo and ran the cable down the roof support using cable ties to secure it in place at about 6 inch intervals.
I used a clamp connector in the bottom of the outlet box and passed the extension though it to the inside of the box. Tighten the screws on the clamp connector to the extension so that any weight or pulling on the extension doesnt affect the connections inside the box.
Next, shorten and strip the ends of the extension cord to the appropriate length and wire nut them to the mains connectors. Black to black, white to white and green to green. Remember to connect the ground/earth to the green screw inside the outlet box to ground/earth that as well.
Once this is done take the outlet box face plate and the gasket and screw them to the front of the outlet box. The remaining holes in the outlet box are filled with the little metal plugs that came with the box itself, sealing the box up from the elements.
Step 6: Admire Your Work
Once you have finished connecting and running the extension cord you can turn the breaker back on and test the light.
If you have connected everything securely and correctly the light should come on when you press the switch.
Enjoy your custom lantern and the gazebo.