VBAS Lighting Upgrade – Draft Installation


On Sunday my dad and I returned to the planetarium armed with a new emergency exit light to install over the main entrance. During the outage on Friday the old exit sign had displayed approximately 0.42 seconds of battery illumination before going dark. As a bonus this new sign included flood lights, which should help people navigate the bench seating to leave.

With that task taken care of, we began installing the remaining LED strips. Since the two remaining power supplies were located near recessed light boxes in the drop ceiling, I tied them into that circuit.

Unfortunately I failed to put two and two together: the recessed lighting is on the House Lights circuit, which is on a dimmer. The 12V power supplies should not be on a dimmer circuit.

So we backtracked, undid the wiring to the lights, and ran new 14/2-NM wire from the breaker box to the three units. Now they’re on an independent 15-amp circuit.

If at all possible I wanted to avoid drilling new holes in the dome, so we removed the drop ceiling under the two remaining power supplies and drilled up through the wooden base of the lighting recess instead. With that done we finished installing the LED strips for a total of six 5-meter strips. That still leaves a 5-7 foot gap which I plan to address later when we’re installing the aluminum channel.

In the video below you can see how uneven the light cast onto the dome is. I’m hoping that’s because the LED strips aren’t lying straight up in the recess, and will be fixed once they’re mounted to the aluminum.