Workshop lighting dry run - one LED batten was hurt in the writing of this blog post.

I’ve been working with a single LED batten in the workshop for over a year, and this is challenging as I have bad eyesight. For about six months of that period a second batten has been attached to the ceiling but has remained unconnected with its flex hanging loose above the workbench.

My original intention was to get rid of the old round ceiling rose and to move all of the wiring up into the attic, complete with a new ceiling rose junction box above one of the holes in the ceiling plaster that would feed the two flexes into the workshop for the two battens.

After I realised that the attic space above the workshop in that area is less than 12” (~30cm) high and looks like Shelob’s lair, the project somehow got pushed out to an unknown future.

Over the weekend I decided to at least wire in the second LED batten in situ, with wiring across the ceiling and I’m rationalising it as a “dry run”.

After disconnecting the power, and triple checking that it was safe with a Fluke detector (so useful!), I removed the direct wiring of the working batten from the ceiling rose and replaced it with a length of 3 core flex to mimic the eventual flex that will feed a junction box to which the batten will be connected. I used a couple of 3 core Wago connectors for the junction.

On connecting the power the LED batten lit up as normal but then there was an ominous “click” and it flickered out but the usual LED batten “hum” (which I believe is caused by lack of proper earthing in old houses like ours) was still audible so I knew I had not tripped the power. This left me significantly worse off than when I started, a mess of cables hanging from the ceiling and no functioning ceiling light in December, when it gets dark at 4pm!

The batten I killed is the near one. I can only conclude that I didn’t get proper contact in one of the Wagos and caused a surge or (more likely) that I damaged the LED batten when I repositioned it to release its flex.

The batten I killed is the near one. I can only conclude that I didn’t get proper contact in one of the Wagos and caused a surge or (more likely) that I damaged the LED batten when I repositioned it to release its flex.

As carefully as I could, I transferred the flex to the other LED batten, that has hung out of use for the last 6 months and it lit up without problems so the situation forced my hand to just wire everything up.

I had a spare outdoor LED batten and I put that up in place of the defunct one. I wired it into a new junction box placed beside the second (originally unconnected) batten.

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This worked nicely, despite the differing tones of the interior and exterior LEDs. Then I pushed ahead and got rid of the long test flex in exchange for a second junction box and pinned all of the flexes to the ceiling.

The end result is anything but pretty, should all be in the attic and shouldn’t be running through a surface mounted ceiling rose for a hanging light but it’s functional, safe and I have double the light output that I started with!

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The last thing I need to add in some conduit to add an extra layer of protection for these flexes - I hope to get to that over the Christmas period.