Monday, March 21, 2011

Stolen Moments plus a weekend...

Through a combination of fascination, stubbornness, and focus, the dollhouse made a lot of progress since the last post. Up early in the morning, for an hour of prep, then at lunchtime while munching yogurt, and after dinner... then I managed to spend the whole weekend either thinking about it, painting something, measuring something, or actually installing something. Sweet! These stolen moments add up.... half an hour here, twenty minutes there... it comes together bit by bit.
Some of these pictures are dark or off color, because of the hours I am working, late at night or early in the morning, so sorry for that!
Speaking of Flying Spaghetti Monsters! Yikes
The biggest job yet facing the house was the wiring. My Grandfather wired it by running the wires through the hollow walls, which of course means no access now. I wanted to be able to add lights, including wall sconces and floor lamps, and looked into the different systems. The most versatile seemed to be Cir-Kit, with a flat tape wiring system that can be put right on to the walls and then painted or papered over. I used to work for an electrician when just out of high school, and my hubby is an electrician for the power company, but my experiences with wiring are pretty limited. Added to this, dollhouse wiring is direct current, and uses a transformer. I was hung up on the idea that I had to run a parallel system, using the transformer that came with the kit, and somehow get the tape wiring into the house by drilling or cutting a wall. It came to me, after a couple of weeks of thought (she's slow, but she does eventually get there) that **wires are wires, whether flat or round** and flat wires can be junctioned to the existing wiring and use the same transformer! (we bought a nice big one when we first started the project) So, after due deliberation, I began to tape and wire....
Flat wire tape being applied to the walls
The light colored strip is the positive, the dark is the return (ground? neutral?) You peel the back off of the tape, press it to the walls, and then put these TEENY TINY incredibly small brads into the intersections to make the connection between the two tapes. And I do mean tiny!

The wire from the wall, stripped, with the stripped ends used to twist the wire
There was a convenient wire coming out low in the living room, near the fireplace. So I used that one to connect to the flat wiring. I stripped the ends, and by not pulling the rubber off all the way, I could use it to twist the wires easily, then remove it.
Wall wire attached to large brads, connecting to the flat wiring. Note the tiny brads in the wall wiring!
This was the connection that would test the whole idea. (I cleaned it up later and connected more solidly) Using large brass brads, I twisted the wires to them, and then....

Test probe lighting up 
Success! Actually, I tested before running all of this wall wire but I didn't take a picture of it. The little test probe, included in the kit, simply sticks into the wire and lights up if it has current. This is around the doorway. It will allow me to plug wall sconces, floor lamps, Christmas lights, and anything else I want, directly into the wires, right through the wallpaper! Pretty nifty!!

Here's the attic, the place where I jumped off from to wire the top floor and second floor. So everything has wall wiring except the bathroom and kitchen. This took me all day on Saturday, sun up to sun down and a bit more. Those brads were so small, and it took four for each corner and direction change. But it is done, finally!

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