Track light.
Electrical Improvements:

Installing A Track Light 
(With Attic Access)
Part 2

 
In This Article:

The track is mounted to the ceiling and the cable is connected to a new switch, and power is fed from a nearby outlet.

Related Articles:
Skill Level: 2-3 (Basic to Intermediate) Time Taken: 3 Hours

By , Editor

 

This is a continuation of a two-part article. View the first part.

Mounting track light to ceiling with toggle bolts. To mount the track to the ceiling, I installed the toggle bolt...

 

... and carefully tightened it with a drill.

 

Then I drove in a 1-1/2" sheet metal screw in the other mounting hole, which was directly under a ceiling joist.

 

The track installation is complete. Now the wiring connections at the other end must be done.

 

I removed the outlet near the refrigerator (but only after I turned the power off, of course).

 

This outlet is the end of a line, which is good. If there were other wires leading in or out of this box, there might not be enough room for our new wires.

 

I connected the new wires to the extra screws on the outlet. Another way is to use a wire nut to connect the incoming wire, the outgoing wire, and a pigtail that feeds the outlet.

See Connecting To An Outlet for details on this procedure.

 

I fed the cable to the old work box and mounted the box.

One cable is the incoming line from the old outlet, and the other goes to the light fixture.

 

At the switch box, I connected the grounds together and the neutral wires together.

 

I connected the switch and installed it in the box.

See connecting a switch for more details.

 

The light fixtures were installed. The connector has a retractable sleeve which is pulled down, and then the prongs are inserted into the track and rotated 90 degrees. The retractable sleeve prevents the unit from turning once installed.

 

Even with only one 2' long section of track, the light still serves its purpose well. 

The light canisters can be swiveled up and down, and rotated nearly a full circle.

 

I installed plain Type A light bulbs initially.  Later I put in reflector bulbs, which cast more light downward.

Incandescent reflector bulbs are quite expensive (I paid $1.88, versus about 25 cents for a plain bulb).  One advantage of using a dimmer switch seems, from my observations, that bulbs last longer. You've noticed how incandescent bulbs usually blow when the light is turned on?  I understand that the sudden application of voltage, and the subsequent sudden rise in filament temperature, increases the likelihood of the filament breaking. This toggle dimmer can't be switched that rapidly to full "on", because it must first pass through the range of variable intensity. That seems like a plausible explanation for what I have observed.  I will continue to use toggle dimmers (not the push-on rotary dimmers) wherever I use expensive reflector and halogen light bulbs.

Simple details like installing the switch cover wraps up this project.

 

This part of the kitchen is now much brighter with the track lights in place.

I can't imagine going 40-plus years with a kitchen this dark.

 

 

 

Tools Used:

  • Cordless Drill/Driver
  • Spade Drill Bits
  • Wire Cutters
  • Wire Strippers
  • Tape Measure
  • Stud Finder
  • Basic Hand Tools

Materials Used:

  • Track Light Kit
  • Non-Metallic (NM-B) Cable
  • Old Work Box

 

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Copyright 2001, 2005  HammerZone.com

Written January 30, 2001
Revised January 7, 2005