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Power to the Potting Shed

Lights in Shed

Lighting working in the potting shed

Having got the main power cable through to my Swallow potting shed on Sunday, on Tuesday I decided to get things wired up. I went through my bits but as is always the way, I’ve loads of things I don’t need now but was short of what I needed for this job.

Drive over into Caernarfon and sort those out at Stermat. I think it would be easier to list what they don’t sell rather than what they do. It’s a brilliant proper hardware shop and very keen prices too.

I needed a few other things while I was in the metropolis like some tongue & groove to build a door for the old pigsty shed. First rule of living in the sticks is to combine journeys or pay a fortune in fuel. By the time I’d finished it was already going dark so that was the day done for outside work.

Connecting the cables

Connecting Electric Supply

The junction box finally wired up with power and lighting cables for the shed.

Wednesday it was back to the shed after an early lunch. Ran the Arctic grade extension cable from the shed across and into the greenhouse, then fixed a rubber plug socket to the end.

Back in the potting shed where I connected a 1.5 flex for a socket and a 0.75 flex into the junction box along with the 2 main cables. This was not an easy task. Get the earth wires in and then the live but the earth’s pulled free. Finally got everything secure and safe after some serious talking in Anglo-Saxon to it!

Made a start clipping the cables but the light was going fast. So far this job is not going to the envisaged time scale as proper builders say when things take longer than planned.

Double Power Socket

Double power socket connected and running the radio.

Thursday started well, finished clipping the cable around to the double socket and quickly connected that up with no problems. Back inside for an early lunch and then the fatal mistake of answering a few emails. Eventually escape back out at 2.30.

By now I’m back in a race against sunset. Clip the lighting cable round to the door and up the frame to where I fixed an inline switch. Thence up to the apex of the roof and the first light fitting which daisy chained off to the second fitting.

I nearly got it done but with heavy cloud rolling over outside, it was that dark I just couldn’t see to fix the last bit. So far a job I thought would take about 4 hours to do is moving into its fourth, admittedly short, day.

Inline Light Switch

Inline Light Switch by the Door

Friday morning was another visit to the dentist as my temporary cap turned out to be more temporary than hoped. After lunch it was back out and a five minute job to fix the last batten lamp holder up.

I was only slightly nervous when I switched the power on. Nothing went bang! So, I now have power and light in the potting shed.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
4 comments on “Power to the Potting Shed
  1. Louise says:

    I love Stermat. If I’m near one I often pop in, even if I dont need anythinvg because it is such a treasure trove!

  2. Kristen says:

    I’m no electrician, and definitely no fan of OTT Health and Safety, but your bit-of-flex solution leaves me worried for your safety. Some flex in a hose under the path and regular indoor power sockets, lights and an inline switch in an area which, if not “wet” is certainly likely to have heavy condensation, strikes me as having a serious risk of electrocution. I also think there is risk of damage to the cable where it is just cable-tied to the structure inside (tools falling over etc.) and out (stick a spade through it, or it chafes on something) and looks like you will have seeds / plants inside which will need watering in the proximity of that unprotected 13 AMP dual-socket.

    I think someone public-facing, such as your good self, ought to be touting something more robust. My Sparky did mine with an armoured cable to the greenhouse, an earth stake and a mini board with extra RCD protection etc. in a waterproof enclosure; the 13AMP sockets are outdoor type, and the lights are IR-whatever-it-is (i.e. waterproof or splash-proof, whatever Sparky said would be safe)

    One suggestion I have: the cable to my greenhouse is armoured, but I bought the cheapest I could (based on what my Sparky told me was the minimum cable-diameter for acceptable voltage drop for the distance the cable had to travel). That has, since, limited me on what I can plug in – a couple of 300W grow lights and a 3KW fan heater is definitely out :(. The cost of the next size up cable was pretty insignificant, and would have meant I could plug in anything I wanted to. The other thing I wished I had considered, also not very much more cost, would have been to have an extra core in the cable. That would allow one “open” circuit for anything plugged in inside the greenhouse / shed, and the other [spare wire] for a switched (at the house end) circuit. Perhaps for an outside light, or irrigation pump, whatever – i.e. some not-yet-thought-of future proofing.

    • John Harrison says:

      Hi Kristen

      OK, to answer some of your points, which are very valid.

      First of all, I’m not ‘touting’ it – I’m just saying what I’ve done. Running an armoured cable to the shed would involve trenching through a concrete path and the blackcurrants. Expensive and messy.

      If I made a permanent connection to the mains like that, it would need to be either installed by or tested by a ‘competent person’ i.e. a qualified electrician. Running it as effectively an extension cable keeps me in the law.

      The IP66 external socket is on an RCD and fuse protected circuit. Thence via a 13A fused rubber plug to the shed through Arctic rated, 2.5mm flex sold for caravan hook-ups. For additional protection and to reduce trip-hazard it goes through a hosepipe where it crosses the path. It’s not a busy path and the cable is more obvious in the pipe so stepped over rather than trod on.

      Inside the shed, the cable is now securely clipped with cable clips and would be hard to damage accidentally. The inline switch is placed to be out of the way of rain if the door is open – it would be more convenient on the other side.

      Yes the double socket is vulnerable if water is poured over it. I’ll just have to be careful 🙂

      Total draw – overhead lights: 20w, radio 12w, Vitopod 100w, Geopod 37w, quadruple propagator 100w, grow lights 48w, fan heater 2000w = 2,317w The fan heater (thermostatically controlled) is usually on the 1000w setting. Potentially I may add a further 36w draw with my fixed temp propagators if needed in the greenhouse off the same circuit.

      • Kristen says:

        Don’t know if relevant (depends on distance and anything else in the way) but at a previous house the former owners had stretched a cable from house-to-garage supported from a catenary wire – some plastic coated wire plant support rings and a strong wire might do! (although: a quick Google suggests that if a lash-up isn’t good enough there are kits available from the likes of Maplin and Screwfix which include wall-plates and tensioners et al – 25 quid for 10M).

        Personally I would want to put some trunking (the stuff with a U-shape profile which can be nailed/stuck over a cable) to prevent falling tools or an exiting wheelbarrow from clonking any exposed cable.

        Sorry did mean that you were “touting” this solution; I was just mindful that many folk follow your blog and I’d like everyone to stay safe – i.e. to be sure to use a properly robust solution where necessary.

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