I think I might have overcome my wiring block. I kind of understand it, at least enough to be confident I’ve got 14-2 and 14-3 pulled in the right places, and everything roughed in properly, if not professionally, and that’s a big breakthrough.
A couple weeks ago: I ask my electrician friend to come and wire the barn for me. I tell him that wiring is the one thing I just can’t get my head around. As soon as I get past series and single switch circuits I’m lost; when well-meaning guys try to explain a 3-way (branch circuit, that is) my vision starts to flicker, and all the words just sound like wanh wanh wanh. I’d like to understand it, really, but if the comprehension hasn’t set up shop in my head by this time, I’m never gonna get it.
My buddy takes me to his place in his truck, and starts gathering up boxes and octagons and staples and switches and plate covers, and piling them on me. The truth starts dawning on me and I say Hey! Aren’t you gonna do this for me? No, he says, slapping the red basic electrical code book in my lap. You are. I start whining, immediately. Weren’t you listening to me, about this blind spot I have… He was having nothing of it. Trust me, he says, you can do this. And he launches into a tutorial of basic wire pulling how-to. Where to staple. Turning corners, feeding, boring, stripping, box mounting, load limit. I can take in all that. He put the fear of god in me for all the things I could do wrong and mustn’t. On to circuits, and I start to twitch, at which point he refers me to page 72 of the code book, which very clearly draws out all the possible light, plug and switch branch circuits. Whatever you’re trying to do, he says, find which scenario it is here, and do what it says. At least, get the right boxes linked with the right wire, and then I’ll come and make your connections for you. Ha. Liar. Im sure he has no intention of that, he was just trying to soothe me; I was probably looking green.
Whaddya know, he was right. I could do it. For a few days I decided he wasn’t a real friend and he just didn’t understand, but then as I studied those few illustrations of branch circuits, the light started to come on (ha), and yes, all I needed to do was figure out which diagram I wanted to create, and then pull wires accordingly. Maybe I’ll even give all the connections a shot.
So I stripped all the old wires out of the place, which was uber satisfying; I even took the panel apart and cleaned it all out but one plug box, to have some working power. I put in four new circuits, all just plugs and lights. This barn will never have electric heat, nor stove, washer, a/c, so the wiring is really, very basic, all off a pony panel to the main house. If we ever get a meter put on this barn and it “becomes” a “dwelling”, maybe even insurable, then it’s going to have to pass an inspection, so I’m following all the rules for stairs and exits and adequate outlets, etc, plus all the tricky little stapling, etc, rules that I’d no idea were so important.