Garage Conversion Part 3: Electrics

With the new garage door installed and finally some space, it was time to tackle the electrics. That meant ripping out what was there and installing a new consumer unit, plug sockets, and cabling for new lighting. This was a first fix really, as certain things would have to wait until the stud wall went up (as that would have plug sockets on it) and until the sound-proofed ceiling went up (as that would have lights attached to it).

For this, I enlisted the help of my friend Ed. He’s an electrician (among other things) so for this job I was basically his apprentice. The initial plan we were working to was as follows…

electrics plan

So in the game room (top), there would be: –

  • The new consumer unit on the back wall
  • Plug sockets on the back and side walls (for arcade machines)
  • A light switch on the back wall for 2 x LED ceiling lights
  • An electric oil-filled heater on the right side between the door and the window

And in the workshop (bottom), there would be: –

  • Plug sockets along the stud wall and side walls
  • Light switch for 2 x LED ceiling lights
  • Incoming Cat5 network socket (from the house)

It turned out there was a bit more needed than in the original plan above, such as fancy LED strip lighting in the game room, alarm sensors, etc., but we’ll get to that. 🙂

First off, the old consumer unit came out, and a new one went in, to be connected up to the existing supply cable from the house. We were going to split the wiring up into 4 different circuits using RCDs: gameroom lighting and sockets each on a circuit, and workshop lighting and sockets each on a circuit. I decided on using white PVC 20mm round conduit to run the cables in (although in hindsight I wish I’d used metal, I think it would have looked better), and I used metal-clad sockets and switches. Lots of cable pulling ensued. Silicon spray was invaluable here and made a tough job considerably easier.

new consumer unit

The single old flourescent bulb light fitting came down too. Just look at how the previous workman ran this conduit…

old light fitting
Check out the big crack in the render above the door too… that would need to be fixed up very soon!

Along the wall attached to the house, there was a mess of electric cables and pipework coming through. It was very ugly so I decided to box it in. The big white electrical cables you see here came down from the ceiling, and then went back into the house! Luckily, where it came down was right where the stud wall was planned, so it could be hidden inside it. The thick black cable is the supply cable for the consumer unit. That would run inside the boxed-in area and then clipped along the back wall to the unit…

pipes to hide

And here’s my lovely first ever attempt at boxing stuff in. I used 9mm plasterboard sheets screwed into CLS. It was also probably the first time I’d used an SDS drill and frame fixings. Pretty good job if I do say so myself…

boxing in the pipes
Ooh… sneaky peek of another procured arcade machine on the left there… can you guess what it is?

Here’s another look at where the existing electrical cables came down from the ceiling. They should fit inside the stud wall, then I’ll continue the boxing-in right up to it so none of those cables will be seen. You can also see the new plug sockets having been wired up in the workshop area…

sockets on right wall

On the left side of the garage, a Haverland RC8TT 1000w electric oil-filled heater was installed along with the rest of the plug sockets for the gameroom and workshop. As on the other side, where you see a gap in the conduit, that’s where the cables will be going along the inside of the stud wall for some more sockets for the workshop…

sockets on left wall

Cables were also run through conduit along the ceiling for the lights. There’s cabling for 2 LED battens in the gameroom, and one in the workshop (which you can see here temporarily mounted to the ceiling). We also ran cables along and down the side walls for some smaller LED batten lights to illuminate the worktops in the workshop. Lastly, there was a old light outside above the garage door which had no power to it, so we wired that in with its own switch to the right of the doors…

new light cabling

Here’s the cable we ran to power the small worktop LED batten on the left side of the workshop, along with a redundant black cable that was supposed to be powering some exterior lighting, but wasn’t. That was being pulled out….

worktop led batton cabling

We also found a good few random cables that needed either safely terminating, or removing…

There were some things that didn’t get done (yet). For example, no cat5 cable coming in from the house. WiFi signal is excellent though. 🙂 Fix 2 will also involve putting the LED batten lights up on the ceiling, installing some fancy RGBW LED strip-lighting in the gameroom, sorting out the alarm sensors, and finishing the sockets on the stud wall.

So, with the first electrical bits done… time to move on to one of the most time consuming and frustrating parts of the conversion (but the most rewarding when finished)… soundproofing the ceiling!

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