Installing track lighting

MATERIALS: Track system with lights, wire nuts, screws, plastic anchors

TOOLS: Combination tool, lineman's pliers, drill with screwdriver bit, tape measure, hacksaw or saber saw

A track system is the most versatile of all ceiling fixtures. You can configure it in many ways, choose from several lamp styles, and position the lamps to suit your needs. To begin installation, remove the existing ceiling fixture to locate the track. If you don’t have an existing ceiling fixture that is switched,. Be sure to get a fixture with a floating canopy— this lets you move the track back and forth a few inches in case you need to make adjustments.

PURCHASING A TRACK SYSTEM. Work with a salesperson; explain the size and configuration you want. Buy a kit that includes track, floating canopy mounting plate, end cap, and canopy. You also may have to buy additional track and end caps, as well as L- or T-fittings for the corners. Choose the lights and bulbs when you buy the tracks. You can put different types of lamps on the same track, but be sure to purchase lamps made by the same manufacturer as the track—otherwise they may be incompatible.

1 INSTALL THE MOUNTING PLATE. Shut off power at the service panel. Use wire nuts to splice the house wires to the plate leads. Connect the ground wire to the plate and to the box if it is metal. Push the wires into the box, and screw the plate to the box so it is snug against the ceiling.

2 MEASURE AND MARK FOR THE TRACK. At the mounting plate, measure to see how far the side of the track will be from the nearest wall. Mark the ceiling so the track will be parallel to the wall. Use a framing square to draw lines if the track turns a corner.

3 ATTACH THE TRACK TO THE MOUNTING PLATE. Have a helper hold the track in place against the ceiling with it centered on the mounting plate. Drive the setscrews to anchor the track to the plate.

4 TO LOCATE JOISTS IF THE TRACK IS MORE THAN U FEET LONG, HAVE A HELPER HOLD ONE END WHILE YOU USE ASTUD FINDER. Snap the track onto the plate and drive a screw into every available joist. If there are no joists, drill holes every foot or so, insert plastic anchors, and drive screws into the anchors.

5 TWIST ON THE LIVE-END CONNECTOR. Insert the live-end connector and turn it 90 degrees until it snaps into place. Align the connector's two copper tabs with the two copper bars inside the track. Snap the plastic canopy over the track and mounting plate.

6 ATTACH A CORNER. You can buy connectors to make 90-degree turns, T-shapes, or odd-angled turns. Slide the connector into the track that is already installed, slide the next track onto the connector, and attach that track to the ceiling. Cover all open track ends with end caps.

7 TWIST ON A LIGHT. This type of light twists into place in the same way as the live-end connector (see Step 5], Another type has a metal arm that is twisted to tighten. Restore power, turn on the switch, and swivel the lights to position them to meet your needs.

CUTTING TRACK - Tracks are available in standard lengths of 2, A, 6, and 8 feet. If these sizes do not fit your needs, you can cut a track with a hacksaw or a saber saw equipped with a fine-toothed metal-cutting blade. Put electrician's tape around the track first to protect it, then clamp the track in a vise. Cut slowly and take care not to bend the track while cutting. Attach the plastic end piece as necessary.

Installing motion-sensor lights

MATERIALS: Motion sensor light, wire nuts, perhaps a mounting strap, electrician’s tape

TOOLS: Combination tool, screwdriver

Motion-sensor lights greet you when you come home at night, and they discourage potential burglars. If you have an existing floodlight, they are easy to install. Choose a fixture that lets you control the time and the sensitivity to motion. If the light is connected to a switch inside the house, you can override the motion sensor so the light stays on or off.

LOCATIONS FOR MOTIONSENSOR LIGHTS - Motion sensors should be installed in areas around your home where intruders are most likely to enter, such as near the front and back doors, above garage doors, and at the gate of a backyard fence.

BE KIND TO YOUR NEIGHBORS - There's a place down the street where the family installed floodlights to ward off intruders, ton They adjusted the sensitivity so much that people walking on the sidewalk at night set off the floods. It felt like a prison break! After a few complaints they made adjustments. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing!

If you are using motion-sensor lights primarily to discourage intruders, position them at heights that will make it difficult to disable or knock them out. A safe height is usually above arm’s reach, approximately 9 feet above the highest standing point.

1 CONNECT THE LIGHT. Shut off power at the service panel. Remove the old light. If necessary, install a swivel strap (also called an offset crossbar) so you can level the fixture after installation. Run the wires through the rubber gasket and splice them with wire nuts. While mounting the light to the box, position the gasket so it will keep the box dry.

2 POSITION THE LIGHT. RESTORE POWER. Loosen the locknuts and twist the light until it is directed where you want it. Tighten the locknuts. At night switch the light on by flipping the wall switch off, then on again.

3 MAKE ADJUSTMENTS. To activate the motion sensor, manufacturer's instructions will probably tell you to turn off the wall switch, wait a few seconds, then turn it back on. Choose how long you want the light to stay on (set ON TIME). There may be a control that keeps the light less bright for the amount of time you choose (set DUAL BRIGHT). Set the RANGE to the middle position and test how sensitive the motion sensor is by walking around near it. Adjust as necessary.

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