Next we will be preparing all the wiring that we will use in the relay box.
A note on wire colors
Guess what kids, electricity doesn't care about the color of the wire's insulation (the plastic wrapper around the metal wire). Wire colors are used to define standard wiring practices. The standards exist so that any electrician can walk into any house and know which wire is connected to which contact. That being said, never assume that someone has followed the standard. Always check your wires with a multimeter. Also, wire color standards may differ by geographical location.
In this project, I tried to follow the color standards used in the US. I did make some adjustments for various reasons that I'll try to explain. As I said, electricity doesn't care about wire color, but for your own sanity/safety, I suggest you use 3 different colors of wire.
Cut and strip the wire
(image 1 shows the cut and stripped black & white wires)
1. Cut the following lengths of wire (lengths are approximate, you may need more or less):
8 pieces of white wire 10" in length.
8 pieces of black wire 10" in length.
2 pieces of black wire 4" in length.
8 pieces of green wire 6" in length.
2 pieces of green wire 4" in length.
2. Strip the insulation from the wires in the following manner:
10" and 4" black wires: strip 3/4" from both ends of the wire.
10" white wires: strip 3/4" from one end of the wire, and strip 1/4" from the other end.
6" green wires: strip 3/4" from one end of the wire, and strip 1/4" from the other end.
4" green wires: string 3/4" from both ends of the wire.
Wire the outlets
(image 2 shows the back of an electrical outlet)
I don't feel confident enough in my knowledge of home wiring to give an overview of wiring an electrical outlet. If you really want to know how to do that ask Google
or call an electrician.
A very very brief explanation of the contacts on a outlet:Hot
= the contact with the fresh electricity. Typically the black wire goes here. Usually indicated on the outlet with gold colored screws.Common/neutral
= the wire with the "used" electricity. Typically the white wire goes here. Usually indicated on the outlet with silver colored screws.Ground
= the contact that goes to ground. Typically the green or uninsulated wire goes here. Usually indicated on the outlet with green colored screws.
You connect a wire to the outlet by wrapping the exposed copper wire around the contact screw and screwing in the screw until the wire is held tight.
Take each outlet and wire as follows:
Wire the 3/4" end of a single white wire to the common terminal of the plug.
Wire the 3/4" end of a single black wire to the hot terminal of the plug.
In this project, we won't be using the ground terminal.
(image 3 shows the finished wired outlets)
Build a wire spider
I've got no clue what this thing would be called, lets call it a wire spider. Essentially, it's a group of connected wired legs that are held together with a wire-nut body.
(image 5 shows the finished wire spiders)
1. Line up four pieces of 6" green wire and one piece of 4" green wire with the 3/4" stripped end all facing the same direction.
2. Take two wires and twist the 3/4" stripped ends together. Do this again with another pair of wires.
3. Finally, put all five wires together and twist the wire-nut over top. Your spider is done. Pull on the spider's legs and make sure your connection is nice and tight.
(image 4 shows two pairs of twisted wires ready have a wire-nut screwed on)
4. Build another wire spider using the other five green wires that you cut.
Eventually, the two 4" legs of both spiders will be connected together with another wire-nut, but not yet. This may lead you to ask, why not build a big wire spider with eight wires? The answer to that is pretty simple. It's difficult and unsafe to put too many wires inside a single wire-nut. Wire-nuts are rated for how many wires of a certain gauge can be held together with the nut. (I may have broken some of those ratings while building this project.)