Lighting Tips for the Home Handyman

The modern ceiling rose has three terminal banks arranged in-line plus an earth terminal.

One outer bank has three terminal screws, two for the neutral feed wires, the other for the blue flex wire. The other outer bank has two terminal screws, one for the circuit switch wire, the other for the brown flex wire. The centre bank has three terminal screws all of which are for live feed wires where the circuit is wired on the loop-in system. The sleeved earth conductors of the circuit are connected to the earth terminal.

A circular sheathed flex is connected to the ceiling rose. A plastic pendant lamp-holder is connected to the other end.

Fixing a ceiling rose

The ceiling rose has an integral backplate for fixing direct to a ceiling, either to a joist or to a piece of 100 x 25mm timber having a hole drilled into it for the circuit cables and fixed between two joists, using gauge 8 woodscrews.

Fixing other pendants

Pendants other than those with conventional ceiling roses, have open-back ceiling plates. The pendant flex has a multi-way cable connector for joining the flex wires to the circuit wires. These wires and the connectors have to be housed in an enclosure of non-combustible material comprising a circular box and the ceiling plate.

Wiring ceiling-mounted light fittings

The box is of PVC, having a cable outlet and two screwed (M4 metric) lugs.

The box is sunk flush with the ceiling and fixed to timber fixed between two joists. The fitting ceiling plate is fixed to the box lugs using M4 metric screws.

Fixing close-mounted ceiling lights

This type of fitting, including fluorescent lighting fittings, usually contains a back-plate for fixing direct to the ceiling either at one or more joists or to timber fixed between the joists.

The circuit cables are passed through a grommeted cable entry hole and connected to the wiring terminals. The live feed conductors of a loop-in system are connected to a cable connector housed in the fitting.

Fittings having no integral backplate and/ or no live loop-in facilities require a BESA box fitted flush into the ceiling.

A batten lampholder is a close-mounted light fitting fixed to the ceiling or wall either on a pattress or over a BESA box. Loop-in types have an enclosed backplate.

Fixing wall lights

Wall lights, including single spotlights, have to be mounted on or over a metal or plastic box sunk flush into the wall. Wall lights having BESA backplates are fixed to BESA boxes. Those with other backplates

are fitted over narrow boxes, termed architrave switch boxes.

Single spotlights can be fixed to surface mounted BESA boxes. Two or more spotlights are mounted on a lighting track. This track has a live end to which the circuit cable is fixed direct, no box being required. Lighting tracks also have the advantage that you can move the spots.

Batten lampholders in various versions may also be used as wall fittings.

Adding a light

Material required: A quantity of 1.0mm2 twin and earth PVC sheathed cable, a short piece of green/yellow PVC sleeving; one ceiling rose, flex and lampholder if a simple pendant. Otherwise, choose a suitable lighting fitting, e.g. pendant, close mounted ceiling fitting, wall light or spot light. Also required are: one rocker operated 1-gang 1-way plate switch and mounting box or alternatively a one-way 5A cord operated ceiling switch; cable clips, wood screws, wall plugs and where necessary a piece of fixing timber for the ceiling light and for a ceiling switch. A 15A four-terminal joint box will be required if the new light is wired using the joint box method, which it will be if it is a wall light.

Wiring the circuit

Locate the nearest loop-in ceiling rose containing live feed wires. Pierce a hole in the ceiling at the new light position or above the light if it is to be a wall light. From the loop-in ceiling rose run a length of the new cable to the new ceiling light. Pierce a hole in the ceiling above the switch position. From the new ceiling lighting point run a length of cable to the switch which means passing the cable through the hole in the ceiling and running it down the wall to the switch position. At the ceiling point knock out the thin section of plastic in the ceiling rose, thread in the cable and fix the rose. Connect the cables to the rose.

At the switch position mark the fixing holes on the wall for a surface box or cut a chase for a flush box. Drill and plug the holes and fix the box. Thread in the cable and connect and fix the switch.

Turn off the main switch. Release the original ceiling rose from its fixings. Enlarge the knockout hole, thread in the new cable and refix the ceiling rose.

Prepare the end of the cable. Connect the red wire to the centre terminal bank. Connect the black wire to the terminal containing the black wires. Connect the sleeved earth wire to the earth terminal. Replace the ceiling rose cover and switch on the power. Where the new switch is a cord-operated ceiling switch fix this to a joist or a piece of timber fixed between the joists. Prepare the end of the cable and connect the wires to the respective terminals.

Where the new light is a wall light, run the new cable to a new joint box fixed between the joists. From the joint box run the cable down to the switch, and run a cable down to the wall light. Fix the wall light as described earlier.

Prepare the ends of the three cables at the joint box. Enclose the black wire of the cable running from the switch in red PVC sleeving and connect the wires to the joint box.