Appon's Thai Life

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Light em up!

finished-lights.jpg

I moved house. One of the first things that happened as I was moving was a break-in. I arrived one morning to find a patio door unlocked, but the fly screen and the door were carefully closed as if I'd forgotten to lock it. I double check every door before I leave, so I know I didn't forget, so how could it be unlocked?

Close inspection of the lock outside, revealed metal shards where the key goes and scratches. It had been levered open, probably a big screwdriver.

An inspection inside the house, was fine, nothing had been taken. I was lucky, no cash or easy to steal items were inside, I was part way through moving and the small stuff was in the old house.

Time for some new locks, some alarms, cameras and better security lighting. I won't be covering the alarms or cameras, but let me show you my new combination garden lighting/security lighting.

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I have a tech to do the wiring, but I'm doing this one the cheap, so laborer Appon will be doing the digging and pipes. The plan is to use a 12v LED lights, while around the outside of the house, passive infrared sensors will detect motion. These are 220v type, and so they'll need PVC pipe to protect the cables. That means digging in a trench, as I dig, I find lots of PVC pipe for the water pump, and blue pipe for the water and drains. I can see this is going to be more complicated than I thought. My garden isn't so much soil, as pipe with a little grass on top!

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I found an excellent little builders merchant, "Keehin", they're on the Phuket bypass and they have all those little things a new house needs. Including these spotlights for 200 Baht each. They're designed to be used with 220v halogen bulbs, but Keehin thankfully have low-power, low-voltageLED bulb that's the same size (an extra 200 baht/bulb).
One slight modification though, the bulb comes loose, so I add a stick on clear plastic bubble to the center of the bulb that pushes it against the glass and keeps it in place.
The Keehin technical staff, suggests various ways to waterproof the connection and my tech settles on rubber splicing tape for these 12v spots as good enough.

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Keehin also provided the PIR sensors. These are IP44, outdoor motion sensors, they cannot be submerged in water, but they can take heavy rain. The saleswoman isn't keen on them, she says some fail after 3 months, but they're only a few hundred baht each, I can replace any that break. These are 220v sensors, my tech says these need PVC pipes and splicing above ground. So I need to dig and assemble the pipes ready.

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The pipes are incredibly easy to lay, at first they're just cut and push-fitted, these joints need to be opened to get cable through some difficult parts. Once glued with pipe glue they become like solid PVC. The difficult and time consuming part is wiring the whole thing. Thankfully I won't be doing that. 18 lights, 5 PIRs and a 50watt transformer is a lot of wiring.

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The first attempt was not quite right, some parts of the garden need much more light. This means doubling the spotlights in some places. Make that 23 lights, 5 PIRs and 2x50 watt transformers and I'm happy.

I have the luxury lighting you see on the villas here in Phuket for a tiny fraction of the price, and best of all, I know I dug those trenches and cut those pipes. It's *my* lighting.


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