Welcome to my life . . . .

This is a blog about my passion: dollhouses and miniatures. This particular blog was started to follow my miniature dream: to create a Victorian Mansion. But work on my Mansion is slow. Very slow. Sloth slow. Ice Age glacier movement slow. Why? Because I am easily distracted by other personal miniature projects (I have 50+ roomboxes and 15 dollhouses in various stages of incompletion) and because I work for a miniature shop and am often up to my elbows in miniature projects that aren't mine! So, I thought, some artists work in a particular medium (woods, watercolors, clay, oils, etc.), I work in progress . . . .

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Bits and Pieces from Everywhere (Part 1 of 4: Electrical)

I've been working on several projects this past week, and today's blog will be about the electrical issues of two of the projects.  My frustrations with electrical hit new highs this past week.

Personal Project was going along great: the microjacks were finally working  (Installing Electrical in Library Ceiling) and I was ready to move on to the next room!  Music Room electrical went fine!  I was on a roll!  Guest Room electrical went . . . . well, that's it.  It went.

I tried to install the first set of microjacks and they did not go in correctly thanks to my heavy soldering.  I tried to remove some of the solder but the constant heat and cool from soldering application and removal must have compromised the integrity of the microjack because when I tried to put them in, they snapped in half.  By then the first holes I had drilled were looking fairly sorry; I was thinking they must have been enlarged due to the installation attempts.  So I drilled new holes and tried to install a new set of microjacks (using only a dab of solder this time!).

New holes drilled next to old holes
Success!  They went in beautifully and my tester chandelier lit up great:

New Microjacks are in!

It's Working!!!
Then I removed my chandelier, and the microjacks decided to keep the chandelier's adapter prongs along with the chandelier's wires!
Prongs and the wires from left side are gone - still stuck in Microjacks
So not only did I have to trash my chandelier (thank goodness I used a cheaper fan light to test and not my $150 chandelier!), but I had to rip out that pair of microjacks too since prongs were stuck in them!  So, I didn't want to do it, but I have decided to use tapewire in the Guest Room.  I will try using the microjacks without tails (so no soldering).  Microjacks without tails just push into my predrilled holes in the tapewire, so this should be easy.  I ran the tapewire into the Guest Room and put the microjack on the awl pin (as directed by the manufacturer for installing microjacks).  And pushed it into the 1/16" hole I had drilled.  And removed the awl from the room to discover the awl pin was still stuck into the ceiling with the microjack.  Are you kidding me?!?!  Using pliers I finally pulled the awl pin out of the ceiling, along with half of a microjack.

Yup, that's right: a third pair of microjacks destroyed!  WHAT IS IT WITH THE GUEST ROOM AND MICROJACKS?  The Guest Room must be cursed.  I have walked away from the project for a while so I don't throw it out a window.  My patience was exhausted.  And it was only Monday!

So, since I'm not working on my personal project, I will get lots done on customers projects!
The little blue Willoway needs tapewire put in it.  A simple 2 day project.  Nice and easy, straight tapewire runs across floors and ceilings (everything will get covered with wallpaper and flooring so no restrictions on where I put tapewire!).  Until I looked in the house on Saturday afternoon last week and discovered the customer had crown molding in all the rooms already!  And it was glued on solid; no removing it.  Might even have been part of the construction process.  And Dad primed over it all so it was also painted in place too (even if the glue had been weak, the paint would hold it tight).
Crown molding blends in with walls (Crown is where arrows are), but it is in every room
So I had to get creative with the wiring.  In order to get the electrical power from one room to the next, this dollhouse now has a hybrid of round wire and tape wire.  So first thing Tuesday I decided to tackle the electrical:
Some round wires can still be seen (see arrows) but will be tucked away once decorating starts
Many spots needed to be soldered - but trying to solder the wires behind the trim (where the arrows pointing up are located in the picture) was difficult: First, my head and hands couldn't fit into the space to see what I was doing or where I needed to solder.  The windows were too far back on the side for me to peek in too.  So I needed to use a mirror and solder backwards in the mirror.
Because holding a mirror, solder, and a soldering iron while trying to solder backwards is so easy to do.

Then came the next challenge: the solder kept dripping down the soldering iron.  Yup, that's how gravity works.  Just because I want the solder to melt up into the place where the grommets and wires are, gravity insists it must flow the other way, down the soldering iron tip and towards my hand.  Wonderful. So the house had to be tipped onto it's side so that the melted solder would flow into the hole and not down the iron.
So I ended up having to solder, sideways and backwards in a mirror balanced on a spare piece of trim.  Very nerve wracking and used up a lot of my patience.
But it's done!
But I haven't tested it yet . . . because if there were problems I wouldn't have had the patience to fix it this week!

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