I finally finished redoing the lights in the dining room. These were nifty compact fluorescent wall sconces I
had installed when I overhauled the house. I had ordered four of 'em from the local electrical supply house,
and only 2 had showed up by the time electrical inspection was due, so they gave me a couple of cheapie
fixtures to stand in while I waited for the others. After several months, I gave up waiting and bought two
more at Denney Electric, up in Penndel, PA. I also relamped them at that point, from 2700K to 4100K.
Later I relamped them again to 5700K full spectrum. But these were first generation CF, and each fixture
contained two 13W lamps and magnetic ballasts. Those eight ballasts buzzed and hummed when they
were new, and slowly got more annoying over the years. So I started looking for nice electronic ones like
the one I put in the kitchen fixture. However, 2x13W CF ballasts are oddball parts, and it was a long time
before I found any. I finally settled on Fulham Electric's Workhorse 22, in the compact format with end
wires. When they showed up, I realized I couldn't use them with the existing lamps and lampholders, as
they only worked with 4-pin lamps and the fixtures had 2-pin ones. I finally found some nice full
spectrum 4-pin 13W quad tube units sold as Coleman lantern replacements. Nobody had very many in
stock, so I had to mail order several to get eight of 'em. Then I realized the wiring would require some
extra wire in order to hit all the pins in the lampholders correctly. The lampholders only would accept
18 gauge solid wire, like the kind the ballasts came with. None of the local electrical supply houses
had any 18 gauge solid wire in less than 500 foot spools. I finally ended up ordering some from Digikey
(fancy 105°C 600V PVC in cool colours) and shipping it Priority Mail. I converted one fixture and
hooked it up and it worked! But with the other fixtures buzzing away, it was hard to tell the difference.
The next day, I had converted and replaced all of 'em. Wow. Instant on, zero flicker, zero noise. Very
I also replaced our thermostat, as the cheap old one was slowly losing its mind, and would sometimes
leave the heat on continuously. Got an ordinary looking round one that's actually digital, with a really
simple and obvious UI. You just grab the housing and turn it to set the temperature. It also has a
backlight for use in the dark, and it's powered by the 24V heater control circuit, so it doesn't need
battery replacement like the old one did. I can't quite figure out how it gets power when it has the
heater switched on, as the circuit should be shorted at that point, but hey, it works and it's nifty.
Another cleaning binge today. 5 crates of books (50kg apiece), and 12 cubic feet of clothing
(compressed to about 4 with Space Bags and a Miele Solaris vacuum cleaner capable of producing
suction on the order of 100 inches of water). That room is nearing actual usability now.
New pet around here. I found a mantis at the storage facility and abducted it. fizzygeek
got it a nice critter enclosure. We've been feeding it crickets and any bugs that we find around the
house. We've been feeding the crickets cat food and leftover bits of apple core.
fizzygeek's grandmother passed way, so we'll be going up to PA this week
for the funeral.