Code Violation or a Nothing Issue?

plumeriavineFebruary 25, 2010

Take a pendant light that hangs at a level where you can touch it. It comes ready to hardwire into a ceiling box.

Cut off the wires that come on it, including the ground. Substitute a length of extension cord. Attach a plug to the end. Plug this into a socket adaptor. Screw the socket adaptor into a lightbulb socket on a ventilation fan.

Would this pass inspection?

Is UL approval voided?

Do light fixtures need UL approval or is this a locally decided thing?

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Ron Natalie

It's certainly against UL approval.

If I were going to play games like that, I'd do it after the inspector was there.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 5:34AM
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joed

Everything past the screw in socket I don't think is covered under NEC. It falls under UL aprooval.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 8:36AM
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plumeriavine

Does this type of a set-up lead to a safety hazard?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 11:00AM
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davidro1

They are sub-optimal connections.
- socket adaptor into a lightbulb socket
- a length of extension cord - a homemade splice. (?)
I hope everything remains visible, in good condition and distant from other objects.
Someone one day might wrap a damp tea towel around a taped bump where your extension cord splice is.

Reminds me that one is supposed to plug a fridge into an outlet and not into an extension cord, but I cannot explain why.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 12:35PM
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weedmeister

This sounds like something my father would have done.

I assume now that the lamp is no longer grounded since the ground wire was cut off?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 2:37PM
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plumeriavine

Yes - does seem like it to me that it is no longer grounded. Not sure if it is NEC or UL - - someone told me that lamps you can touch need to be grounded. Does anyone know?

Also, I am thinking that there might be an NEC violation - - no splices on flexible hanging cords. Can anyone confirm that?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 7:03PM
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pharkus

I guess this isn't the "right" responsible answer but it's certainly reflective of reality, at least where I am.

You can buy anything you want, and the day the government effectively stops you from modifying commercial products will be the day all scientific development comes to a screeching halt as invention will no longer be permitted by law.

All you are talking about doing is purchasing "hanging lamp parts" (bulbholder, cord, necessary adapters) which are partially preassembled, and assembling them into a plug-in hanging lamp.

You will then plug it in.

Does the inspector come over each time you plug in a table lamp? Didn't think so.

You're not talking about wiring the building - you're talking about custom-building an end-use product, and as such, you can currently do so.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 12:05AM
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hexus

you've modified a piece of equipment that came factory wired a certain way. In doing so you've voided any UL listing. In doing so, using said piece of equipment is against the NEC.

Can you get away it? Sure. Will the inspector say anything? Who knows.
Do you really want stuff jerry rigged through out your house though?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 12:20AM
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plumeriavine

When I pay someone to professionally install a light, I am not expecting them to splice away at the fixture in an effort to save themselves the time and energy to properly mount it according to the manufacturer's directions.

Will the inspector care as much as I do?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 1:03AM
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Ron Natalie

It's unsafe. Extension cords are not designed to be used to suspend luminaires.
Plug adapters for lights are not designed to support dangling cords.
Luminaire cords are not designed to be spliced to extension cords or other plugs with piece of crap electrical tape splices.

Get away from this clown.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 5:40AM
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Billl

There are a lot of things you shouldn't do that aren't specifically spelled out in a building or electrical code.

BTW - they sell pendant kits that screw into a light socket and extend it as a pendant. If you want to do this, buy the product that is designed for the purpose.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 10:51AM
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groundrod

The OP wants to plug this rube goldberg contraption into a fan. It may be another simple case of natural selection at work.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 1:19PM
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weedmeister

Though perhaps worded this way, this was not the OP's intention. Rather, it is how the so-called 'electrician' installed the light.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 2:16PM
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groundrod

How did you glean this from the original post? My ESPN must be out again.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 3:37PM
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weedmeister

I've been following this poor woman's saga about her house remodel for some time now.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 3:48PM
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groundrod

So she needs to start over with a real electrician this time.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 4:11PM
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plumeriavine

Exactly. I pray we will be able to start all over again.

I am left speechless by the daily discoveries as I look at what this licensed company did in my home. I'd never even have thought that someone would rewire a lamp like this and claim a professional job.

It seems like the collar had to be cut off to make the modifications. The collar pieces never stayed in place - they tried contact cement. Of course, it fell apart again as soon as the lamp was turned on and the collar heated up.

I am thankful we discovered it before someone was hurt or a fire occured.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 4:45PM
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pharkus

I will agree that this is not something any "electrician" should have left behind.

I am looking at it as an object that a homeowner chose to plug in. I do not believe the NEC requires that the end user / resident only use UL-approved appliances - if it does, than every single electronic item I've ever built over the years is illegal. Of course, this may be why so very few people learn electronics now.

If the end user chooses to extend a cord (I was assuming it would be done safely, which I agree in this case it soudns like it was not), it's nothing more than a homemade lamp that (s)he chose to hang from the ceiling. It is not UL-listed. Neither is any other homemade lamp, nor is the 500W amplifier sitting on my desk that has been operating and not torching my house since I built it 10 years ago.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 5:09PM
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brickeyee

You can make lighting (and other equipment) for your own use.

As long as the connecting cord is a listed type the actual internal wiring is outside the NEC.

NEMA covers equipment wiring for sale, but as long as the item is for your own use you are actually fine.

An electrician that converts a fixture listed for permanent use to a cord and plug is the one at risk.

If the entire cord was replaced with an approved type suitable for the application it might be acceptable, but splicing outside an enclosure is not acceptable.

Even a chandelier provides some enclosed space for splicing of the wires feeding multiple arms into a single down cable threaded through a pipe or chain.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 6:38PM
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groundrod

If this is what was done where it can be seen, I wonder what the work that is covered up looks like.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 7:38PM
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hexus

"every single electronic item I've ever built over the years is illegal"

wouldn't surprise me in the least given the crap-tastic hack electrical advice you give

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 7:47PM
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pharkus

You need to re-read whatever posts you refer to, hexus, as I tend to avoid "crap-tastic hack" advice. I do, unlike others here, acknowledge and relay things I've seen done, usually for humorous or anecdotal value only. To confuse this with 'advice' (especially when I deliberately state that I AM NOT RECOMMENDING ) only demonstrates a failure to properly parse the English language. Sadly, this is the case with 90% of the current generation.

I bet you'll read something into that last sentence which I neither intended nor stated. This will be on the test.

My assertion in this thread has nothing to do with the quality of anyone's work - which I fully acknowledge is at question - I claim ONLY that one is allowed to manufacture his/her own devices and plug them in, and that doing so is not a code violation.

brickeyee repeated my assertion.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 1:00PM
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DavidR

> brickeyee repeated my assertion.

And although I'm not a pro I'll echo it too. It's your right as a homeowner to do this.

I'm not so sure it's your electrician's right as a tradesman, however. He or she should be installing approved devices, in compliance with NEC and the device manufacturer's instructions. If he or she doesn't have the exact device you want in the truck right now - tough, and not an excuse for hacking something up.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 4:50PM
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