Shed :: Light ’em Up!

I had grand plans for a nice easy short term solution to wiring the shed. Spoiler: it didn’t work. Before I share the failed plan, please know I’m not a licensed electrician so please do not ever follow any of my advice or repeat anything I’ve done with electrical on this site because there are no guarantees it’s safe. The good news is that I was no so sold on the idea of running an extension cord out to the shed and using an inlet to power all of the wiring in the shed. The bad news is that the long term solution involved trenching out to the shed, buying 4 x 100′ of THWN 10 gauge wire (which is not super expensive, but just more money I didn’t want to spend right now) along with boxes, breakers, etc.

So original plan: Extension Cord + Inlet = Fail. Before I even had load on the circuits as soon as I plugged in the extension cord the GFCIs popped and it was a no go. I might have been able to make it work, but the thought of doing something possibly stupid and dangerous was enough deterrent to make me switch to plan B.


Plan B did not technically involve completely shorting the conduit, but thankfully with a quick trip to the store for some joints that problem was easily overcome.

If you don’t want boring electrical details, just skip to the pictures of the shed all lit up. I chose to run THWN 10 gauge wire in conduit so that I could possibly use the shed as a shop later on. I don’t need to run super heavy machinery, but I did upsize the PVC to 1″ in case I wanted to run other wire later. There are 2 hot, 1 neutral and 1 ground run from a 30A double pole switch in my main cutoff, about 60′ away. They come into a subpanel in the shed with a 20A and 15A circuit for outlets and lighting respectively. Instead of spending a ton on GFCI circuit breakers, I used some GFCI outlets that I had as the first thing in each run so that all circuits are GFCI protected. I installed a grounding rod at the shed (and I might need another? I still need to consult my electrician buddies on this one) and ran some left over 6 gauge copper to that. So without further ado, (not super) pretty photos (which are really convincing me I need to stop shooting these photos with my 5 year old iphone)

Shed lit up at dusk

I splurged on this bad boy from Northern Tool with some gift cards that my health insurance gives for doing “healthy” things. Thankfully they don’t charge me for the cookies, beer and pizza. I’d be broke.


These smaller lights look MUCH better on the shed than on the front of the house. They are shed sized, not house sized. In this first pic you can see the service entrance where the conduit comes up and in to the shed.

Shed sized lights

Right sized shed lights

And even better when lit up.

Lit up shed lights

Lit up shed lights

I didn’t get a good shot of these copper DIY pendant barn lights all lit up but you can see the chickies through the window all snug under the warm glow of one here.

Chickens under DIY barn copper pendant light

I still need to get photos of my ridiculously high tech switches.

First I have a programmable timer three way switch for the chicken cottage overhead light so that I can give the hens a bit more light through our lovely cold dark upstate NY winters. It has all sorts of crazy options, but I’m glad I can set it to turn on at a certain time for an hour or two and then shut off. I used to have a dusk sensor but didn’t really know how to get that to work with a three way switch in the coop, or have the sensor be separate from the light since it would need to be outdoors. But a $30 timer switch from Home Depot did the trick, and I’m quite happy with it.

Second, the most luxurious thing in the shed is my remote switch. It may not look like much but this little bad boy that I can mount anywhere in the house let’s me switch on the outside shed lights without leaving the house, and more importantly shut them off from inside our cozy home without having to have run a separate wire just for the switch. I originally planned to use this at my parents house since their driveway is lit by the barn lights at night, they constantly have to walk out to turn them on or off for guests at night. It’s not actually as critical in my shed, and normally I shun gadgety things, but I still love it.

Remote switch for exterior lights!

Next up I want to give a full overview of the chicken coop to post up on MyPetChicken, but then I think I’m finally done posting about this shed. Seriously.

But again it does kind of melt my grumpy heart to see some happy chickens (Spoiled chickens of instagram style).

Chickens of Instagram


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