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#725616 - 08/25/12 03:01 PM Code for basement lighting.
ront02769 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/03/04
Posts: 10197
Loc: New England
Son is in MA, basement floor to bottom of floor joists is 9' 10", wants to put in inexpensive fluorescent lights at ceiling level. First attempt with a single light, four foot plug-in type, he attaches to gf breaker which promptly pops. He doesk some research and finds that cheap lights of this type don't play well with gfci. SO, am wondering if this can be considered a lighting circuit not needing gfci given that all outlets will be well out of reach to plug a tool in unless someone has a ladder. Thanks!!

Oh, and also, any special requirements on how hew runs the wires ACROSS the joist bays. Everything is pretty much open at this point. Thanks again. Ront

#725624 - 08/25/12 05:02 PM Re: Code for basement lighting. [Re: ront02769]
SpeedyPetey Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/20/03
Posts: 5489
Loc: NY State
IMO nope, it is a receptacle in an unfinished basement.
WHY bother with the cheap lights? Just get decent ones and hard wire them.

#725636 - 08/25/12 08:58 PM Re: Code for basement lighting. [Re: ront02769]
code_ceis Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/29/09
Posts: 11643
Loc: muttonville,ny
I MA not only does it need to GFCI it also needs to be tamper resistant style. UNLESS it is classified as a finished basement then it needs AFCI protection and a tamper resistant receptacle installed per the 6 /12 rule.

I agree buy a better light your local HD has an all weather stainless looking pull chain for about $20. If you put the sun-bright T-8s in it is a very bright light.

Finished and unfinished is classified by use not drywall or carpet.

Edited by code_ceis (08/25/12 08:59 PM)
"I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior." - Hippolyte Taine

" Life is like a piano....
What you get out of it depends on how you play."

#725643 - 08/25/12 10:32 PM Re: Code for basement lighting. [Re: ront02769]
dora Offline
Search and Rescue
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 22464
Loc: Somewhere under the sun
Oh, and also, any special requirements on how hew runs the wires ACROSS the joist bays. Everything is pretty much open at this point.

If 14 or 12 gauge then he needs to run the wires thru the joist using bored holes or if wanting to mount underneathe the joist then place on a running board with 2x's installed on each side along the entire run for protection.
Life is about using the whole box of crayons!

#726173 - 08/31/12 11:33 AM Re: Code for basement lighting. [Re: code_ceis]
ront02769 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/03/04
Posts: 10197
Loc: New England
Ok. Not to be a monster pain in the butt but son went into hd and asked and just got the "we just have orange aprons, we don't know anything" look.

Project is hopefully on for tomorrow, he is within a few miles of both hd a d lowes, but not electrical specialty store. Anyone with experience with particular
Ar model that plays well with gfci?? That failing, possibility of just keeping the ones that he has and pulling out the cord and just direct wiring them???

Thanks to all. I don't ask for much help on the board but a still amazed how fast and accurate it is. Ront

#726174 - 08/31/12 12:40 PM Re: Code for basement lighting. [Re: ront02769]
MCA Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/09/06
Posts: 4943
Loc: Illinois
I remember reading in some sales literature from Sylvania saying that some of their electronic ballasts are GFCI compatible. The issue is the filters that remove some of the electric "noise" generated by the electronic ballast directs some of this to ground, causing GFCI's to trip. I had magnetic ballasts on a GFCI that never tripped, but I had one that sometimes tripped, usually when the light was turned off ironically.
It technically will be a code violation to but the cord off of a fixture listed as cord and plug connected only. If it is listed for direct wiring then it would be ok, maybe contact the manufacturer to see if it is approved for direct wiring. Obviously it will work if direct wired regardless of if listed for it or not, as long as there are regular knock-outs for the cable clamp and you use wire rated of the appropriate temperature, but it will be technically a violation to install a fixture contrary to its listing. I recommend getting a fixture that has no cord, and just direct wire it. The plug-in fixtures are probably of lower quality.
A single receptacle for a perminately located load used to be allowed, but not any more, under the current NEC all receptacles in unfinished basements and garages must be GFCI protected.

On a (very technical) side note...there are fixtures with residential ballasts and commercial ballasts. Residential ballasts draw more amps (due to lower power factor) and cause harmonics on the neutrals, making them unsuitable for 3 phase systems. But residential ballast have better noise filtering, making them less likely to cause interferance with household electronics such as radios.

Look at the amp draw for circuit loading. A residential ballast for two 32 watt tubes draws around 0.90 amps (more than the wattage sum/120) and a commercial ballast for two 32 watt tubes draws around 0.45 amps.


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