- Luminaire selection
- Where to install light sources
- Installation of switches
- Circuit assembly and connections
Car maintenance in the garage is impossible without properly organized lighting. We will tell you which lighting devices are preferable to use for these purposes, advise the best way to place them and describe the process of installing a garage lighting network.
Lighting fixtures differ not only in appearance, but also in the type and nature of light. And if the first criterion in the context of garage use is not critical, then the last two are really important. First of all, you should decide on the type of light source. Incandescent lamps are an absolute archaism, we cannot recommend them, if only for the reason that in order to create a sufficient level of illumination, the electrical power of the lighting network must be 0.7-1.2 kW, which is quite a lot, especially considering the many-hour operating mode.
The best choice would be luminaires with fluorescent lamps, including compact ones, and also based on LEDs. Semiconductor devices have an important advantage: low maintenance and long service life. However, you need to understand that cheap products from little-known manufacturers from the PRC do not have sufficient reliability, and high-quality light sources are quite expensive. You should spend money on LED lamps of a well-known manufacturer only if there is no desire to change fluorescent tubes from time to time.
Further about the nature of light. For convenient work in the garage, both diffused and directional light must be present. Also, without fail, there must be at least two portable lamps, which are placed in such a way that the power wires do not interfere with movement and do not get confused under the hands. Diffused light can be provided with linear “beam” or flat surface-mounted luminaires; conventional closed luminaires with a polycarbonate cover are also good. If LEDs are to be used as a light source, the luminaire should have a matte diffuser: due to the small scattering angle, sharp shadows are formed, which greatly tire the eyes. The optimal degree of protection of the luminaires for garage conditions is at least IP43. When choosing a color temperature, it is better to give preference to neutral white in the range of 3500-4000 K.
Directional lights are needed to illuminate parts of the vehicle such as the underbody and engine compartment. They are installed in pairs in a cross direction, which excludes the casting of a shadow on the working area. These luminaires do not operate on a permanent basis, so metal halide and even high pressure sodium lamps, which have a more natural light spectrum, can be used as spotlights. With portable lamps, everything is quite simple: you just need to provide a point (box) for their connection and several hooks on which you can hook the power wire.
Where to install light sources
There are four types of lighting in a well-equipped garage: duty, general, directional, and portable. In the event of a power outage, it also makes sense to install one or two emergency lamps with autonomous power supplies. General and emergency lighting can be represented by one group of lighting devices, switched on separately.
General lighting is diffused, lamps of this type are installed mainly on the ceiling or side walls at a level of 2.3-2.5 meters from the floor. Naturally, if the garage is intended for a truck, the installation height must be higher. You can be guided by such a rule that when the lamps are turned on on one side, the shadow from the car on the opposite wall should be cast to a height of no more than 50-70 cm.
Directional lights for lighting the engine compartment are best placed on the back wall of the garage in the corners under the ceiling. It’s just great if the spotlights are placed on adjustable swivel arms so that the direction of the light can be adjusted depending on the position of the car.
To illuminate the bottom, it is better to place the luminaires at the bottom of the inspection pit on both sides. If the pit does not have concrete walls and floors and is subject to flooding, light fixtures powered by 12 volts should be used, with the transformer located in the overhead part of the room. In the pit, in addition to the directional light, it is also possible to provide illumination of niches for instruments.
Of course, there are no problems in connecting the fixtures, the wires can be laid openly without worrying about the fastening system. However, the garage is a kind of secluded refuge for a man, the interior design fully reflects the character of the owner. Therefore, we will proceed from considerations of order and organization.
For cable routing, it is best to use outdoor systems such as corrugated sleeve or PVC cable ducts. Metal sheaths (pipe, metal hose) in the garage are not always appropriate due to their low resistance to corrosion. Otherwise, both high-quality polyethylene corrugation and vinyl boxes are approximately comparable in cost and ease of installation, so the choice of these two options is practically unlimited. As conductors, it is advisable to choose a VVG cable or a PV-1 wire with a cross section of 1.5 or 1 mm2.
First you need to mark the cable routes. On the side walls or ceiling, we mark the location of the main lamps. There should be at least three of them on each wall when choosing a point form factor and at least two when choosing linear devices for fluorescent tubes or an LED bus. Next, you should decide on the location of the junction boxes, which depends on the place of entry of the electrical cable. Usually, the main panel is located at the garage door, following this logic, one box should be placed directly above the introductory machine, the second above the switch at the entrance, and another one above the main group of switches in the area of the main workbench. Additional boxes can be installed to reduce cable consumption and optimize cable routing.
If a corrugation is selected for laying the wire, it is attached without a cable inside. It is better to broach after completion of the installation: this way you do not have to leave long stock tails, which subsequently turn into illiquid trimmings. Unlike luminaires, junction boxes are attached immediately. Under the corrugation, it is necessary to cut out gland entries according to the diameter of the sheath, but if the laying is carried out in cable channels, only the upper ledges should be cut off. In general, there are several typical laying routes:
- From the lead-in box to the main box.
- From the main box along the side walls to the corners at the back wall.
- From main box to input breaker.
- From the main group of switches to the box above them.
- From the main switch group down to the floor.
- From the box above the main panel to the middle of the ceiling, and then to both sides along the longitudinal axis.
Separately, we will focus on laying the cable into the inspection pit. The best option is to cut a gutter in the floor and brick a steel pipe with a diameter of 20 or 25 mm in it. Inside the pit, the cable is best laid in a corrugated sheath. If illumination will be arranged in the instrument niches, it is better to pull the cable at their level in the plastic channel, while near one of the niches it is implied the installation of a box for decoupling an additional switch.
Installation of switches
In order not to get lost in a dark garage on the way to the switch and to reasonably consume electricity when working, a convenient light control scheme should be provided. One of the more convenient options is:
- Emergency lighting is represented by one or two common lamps, which are located at the greatest distance from the garage door. Their switch is located in the immediate vicinity of the entrance, you can also install a limit switch on the opening gate leaf.
- It is better to control the rest of the general lighting devices from the main workplace. In this case, the left and right sides must be switched on separately..
- Directional light and portable lamps have one switch each.
- Another switch of the main group is designed to supply voltage to all pit luminaires.
- In one of the niches of the pit, a switch should be installed that switches the backlight.
Circuit assembly and connections
In conclusion, we will describe a typical lighting network connection diagram. As a starting point, we will take a 6-10 A circuit breaker installed on the main panel of the garage, as well as a common zero bus.
From the input, a two-wire wire follows to the main box, breaks in it and then is laid to the box above the main group of switches. From the box above the input panel to the most distant luminaires, you need to stretch and connect one pair of cores, in the box itself, the connection is made only to the zero wire. Another pair of wires goes to the switch at the entrance, one of the wires is connected to the phase, the other to the free wires of the emergency lighting. If a limit switch is installed on the gate, its NC contact is connected in series with the input switch, while the circuit on the side of the lighting devices is supplemented by an indication in the form of a small neon lamp brought out above the gate.
Garage lighting scheme: 1 – introductory board; 2 – junction box; 3 – input switch; 4 – wall lamps; 5 – block of sockets; 6 – junction box and lamps in the inspection pit; 7 – the main block of sockets and switches; 8 – step-down transformer 220/12 V; 9 – duty lamp; 10 – ceiling lights
A whole heap of wires descends from the box above the main group of switches: one supplies the phase to the switches, the rest return to the box to power the main light, directional and portable lamps, as well as illuminate the viewing pit. Directly under the box on the wall, a low-voltage power supply transformer is installed, from which a pair of cores descends to the floor and follows into the pit.
Finally, in the pit, the wire is led into a box, from which a pair of wires is laid to the directional lamps at the bottom. To highlight each niche, one more pair of wires follows, one of which is broken by a switch. All connections should preferably be made on mechanical terminal blocks: spring WAGO, bushing or terminal screw.