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Sasha

When do you give in? (or don't)

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I'm a bit frustrated and hoping for some input and thoughts. I got a great deal on an RGD Victoria's Farmhouse. I've been working on it for about three months now. I didn't have a specific purpose for it in mind at the end, I honestly just like the detail involved. Between a busy job, puppy rescue and having epilepsy, it is one of the few things that really relaxes me and takes me out of the current moment and into the concentration involved in building a dollhouse.

The last month, though, has been a nightmare. I haven't had much free time. The area I work in is also my home office so space is getting tight, just everything at once including several last minute rescues that took a lot out of me and my husband. What is really the kicker for me...I electrified the entire dollhouse. I did great, kept putting in a fixture and checking as I went along and all was great. When I went to customize (wallpaper and flooring) is when things got sticky. I think I may have accidentally cut a piece of the tape wire going from the first to second floor (most of my lights are wired on the floor above where the light is) and I think that is where the short is. I broke my test probe and haven't gotten a new one, so I'm not sure. I hammered a few spots, and things seemed to work again so I continued on.

Well, last night the lights wouldn't come on no matter what I did. All my floors are down as is my wallpaper. I know that in order to truly finish, I'll have to find the issue and I think that  is when I thought that maybe I needed to finally throw in the towel. I learned a lot doing this kit, so I know a lot of things not to do the next go around. Do I just chalk it up to a learning curve (although I dread the cost of this learning curve hehe) Has anyone encountered or felt this way, and if so, what did you do?

Thanks for the input. I'm usually pretty optimistic person but this has really got me down. Oh, and pictures of what I've done so far are attached.

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First of all, your house looks great. Very nice work!

Secondly, welcome to the "My electricity stopped working and I hate everything" club. I am a frequent member. :) Electrifying a dollhouse is finicky and expensive and something almost always goes wrong. If you're "lucky" something will go wrong more than once. :p

Did you try jiggling the junction splice (the piece that connects the transformer to the tape wire?) When none of the lights turn on, that's often the culprit.

Ultimately, if you can't or don't want to figure out how to fix it, there's nothing wrong with an un-electrified dollhouse. Just disconnect the transformer and think of the lights as non-working.

 

 

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I'm not wowed enough by lights in a dollhouse to inve$t in electrifying any of my builds.

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I’m going through this right now myself. Without a test prob you really are stuck. Did you use brads or eyelets? Chances are too much of the top layer of tapewire cellophane got jammed into one or more of your connections. There are a few options:

1: if using eyelets,  poke the pin tool through the wallpaper into the eyelet and wiggle it. If that doesn’t work go to step 2.

2: You have beautiful paper but it can be strategically matched if you can carefully cut a small square of paper to gain access to the connection. Use a new blade. Hopefully, you used wallpaper paste and not glue. Careful not to cut the tapewire. Then use the square as a template to cut out a new matching piece. Remove the eyelets. Take your Xacto knife and remove any cellophane in and around the eyelet hole. Install a new eyelet and apply clear tape over the connection.  Test. Hopefully, this will fix it. 

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2 hours ago, fov said:

First of all, your house looks great. Very nice work!

Secondly, welcome to the "My electricity stopped working and I hate everything" club. I am a frequent member. :) Electrifying a dollhouse is finicky and expensive and something almost always goes wrong. If you're "lucky" something will go wrong more than once. :p

Did you try jiggling the junction splice (the piece that connects the transformer to the tape wire?) When none of the lights turn on, that's often the culprit.

Ultimately, if you can't or don't want to figure out how to fix it, there's nothing wrong with an un-electrified dollhouse. Just disconnect the transformer and think of the lights as non-working.

 

 

Thank you for the compliment :D I've been deliberately going slow to try and do nice work, more to challenge myself (and being a perfectionist). It's my first big build, so as I said before, I did learn a lot (although I did read all the things "not to do" ahead of time hehe). You may be right about the junction splice. With the RGD being MDF my first install of the splice didn't work, so I had to pull it out and re-do it. Since none of the lights are coming on, you might be right. When I had issues previously, the downstairs lights would work but not the second floor, etc. so you may have hit on the issue!

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44 minutes ago, Sable said:

I’m going through this right now myself. Without a test prob you really are stuck. Did you use brads or eyelets? Chances are too much of the top layer of tapewire cellophane got jammed into one or more of your connections. There are a few options:

1: if using eyelets,  poke the pin tool through the wallpaper into the eyelet and wiggle it. If that doesn’t work go to step 2.

2: You have beautiful paper but it can be strategically matched if you can carefully cut a small square of paper to gain access to the connection. Use a new blade. Hopefully, you used wallpaper paste and not glue. Careful not to cut the tapewire. Then use the square as a template to cut out a new matching piece. Remove the eyelets. Take your Xacto knife and remove any cellophane in and around the eyelet hole. Install a new eyelet and apply clear tape over the connection.  Test. Hopefully, this will fix it. 

I used eyelets. The brads that came with the kit were just too hard for me to use (eyesight). I did use paste for the paper, so thank you for the tips! I will definitely try those as well!! Thanks again. I think with this month being so crazy, and then last night I pulled a muscle in my back I just felt defeated looking at the house today. So, I appreciate the great insight and tips. It has re-energized me!

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Ah, the lights quit working....I'm a proud member of this frustrating club. The junction splice has caused me many a heart ache. Reattach It in a different location, only if you move it a half an inch, sometimes that will do the trick.It sounds like something is loose, since they worked again after you hammered.

Hobby Lobby has probe tester sold separately.

P.S. The house is beautiful. Don't give up on the lights, they really do make a house special. Remember, there are battery operated lights too.

You can do this!!!!!

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You have done a remarkable job well done. I have the same house stripped and waiting to be redone myself, the poor thing is sitting in my bedroom but it is not a priority for me.

I find if I get so I can throw the towel in with any of my crafts, I simply put them on a to do lest, apologize to the project and promise I will be back. Believe me after  the required time has passed and that varies with me ,but is usually months rather than days. I go back with renewed interest and work some more.

My house was a rescue and so far all I have done is removed all the broken parts and made a list of to do',

I certainly wouldn't throw the towel in, I would probably drape it over the house.

Good luck to you and your super house.

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I electrified one house that remains unfinished. It was a lot of work and I'm not sure I would do it again because I worry about the lights working over time. I guess I don't have an "inner electrician". I do like the battery powered lights. I know they have a different color sometimes and there are not as many choices but the upside is you don't need to pre-plan where a fixture is going. 

Your house is beautiful. It will tell you if it needs the lights to work or will be happy with plan B.

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I am having my own  Love It or Lose It moment with the electricity for the Beacon Hill. For the first time I am using the CR2 power connector instead of a junction splice. Have watched the video several times. Have memorized the scant-but-illustrated instructions for connecting to tape wire. Have fought with the screws that are hardly bigger than an eyelash. Have installed and removed it 8 or 9 times but absolutely cannot get the test probe to light up. Have ordered a new test probe in the hope that mine is faulty or burned out. Have way too many dollars invested in lighting for this house to just give up, but am feeling tee totally frustrated at this point. 

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1 hour ago, KathieB said:

Have fought with the screws that are hardly bigger than an eyelash.

Kathie, I also use CR2 electrical supplies and I used the large eyelets to connect the red and black wires to the tape wire.  Haven't had any problems using those.

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First, the house looks lovely, and it looks like you are doing great work. :D 

I’ve started electrifying my houses but I use 3v battery packs and wired pico LEDs so it’s different from tape wire, but with similar problems. I recently had a light short out and had to remove exterior “stucco” to get to the wire to repair it. And yes, I tested all the lights every step of the way, but glue for the siding had wicked into the shrink tube where I’d spliced the wire and when it dried it created insulation around the teensy wire, eliminating the contact...thus the one light would not work. I managed to fix it, but not before saying lots of magic words and throwing up my hands for awhile while I set the house aside and puzzled about the problem. When I’d calmed down and was ready to talk to the house again, I figured out the problem.

But it isn’t just electrical work...snafus happen. I hate to say there is a challenge with every house (at least for me). Especially if you are trying new things. That’s what makes it fun. I look at it as leaning experiences. I’ve also learned to not be afraid of setting the house aside to work on something else for awhile. I’m also no longer afraid to quit a project. Sometimes I’ve gotten what I needed from the project even if it’s not “finished.” In those instances I’ve gifted the house to someone who wants to work on it, added some finishing touches and sold the house, or wrapped it in plastic and put it on a shelf to revisit later. And I move on to the next build, happy to start the next process.

KathieB has an expression: “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” I took that to heart, and have been happily building and trying new things. 

So don’t worry, let yourself enjoy the process. As others said, if you can’t figure out the lighting issue, consider it a non-working electrical build and move ahead. If that bugs you too much, sell it and start the next house. If you love the building process, there's always another house! :D 

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Thanks for all the great suggestions, and the compliments. Being that this is my first build, I'm trying not to be hard on myself. As I said, my breakdown was most likely due to just a rough month. We wound up fostering two different moms and their puppies, which in and of itself is tiring. Plus, having a small area to work in isn't the most ideal. I've already got my new office/craft room planned out, which will give me more space so that will make a big difference.

For now I'm planning to get a test probe at Hobby Lobby and continue with things like trim, etc. until I can figure out where the issue might be. Thanks again for all the support! You all are a great group!!

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19 hours ago, Sasha said:

Thank you for the compliment :D I've been deliberately going slow to try and do nice work, more to challenge myself (and being a perfectionist). It's my first big build, so as I said before, I did learn a lot (although I did read all the things "not to do" ahead of time hehe). You may be right about the junction splice. With the RGD being MDF my first install of the splice didn't work, so I had to pull it out and re-do it. Since none of the lights are coming on, you might be right. When I had issues previously, the downstairs lights would work but not the second floor, etc. so you may have hit on the issue!

Sasha - does sound like the splice is the culprit. I have had those go wonky on me as well, and have now gone to CRS2 adaptors instead. So you have clapboard siding - is the junction splice on it? That too can be challenging. 

Am anxious to hear if the new test probe tells you where the connection is missing. I too would give a few things a try at this point, to see if you can salvage it. I made lots of mistakes (and still do) with my first electrified house - in fact, it was an RGT Newport- MDF also. One thing I took away from that is that i try to leave my flooring where I can remove it if I need to, to access tapewire as needed. This just happened to me in my current French Country manor, and it was the fireplace electrical...had to remove that wall of wallpaper, and the chimney breast, slide out the flooring and redo the electrical and repaper the wall and chimney breast. 

@KathieB @1martinimomma was saying is use those eyelets in the tape, and run your red and black wire to it like this:

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4 hours ago, 1martinimomma said:

Kathie, I also use CR2 electrical supplies and I used the large eyelets to connect the red and black wires to the tape wire.  Haven't had any problems using those.

My connector did not come with the black and red wires. When I contacted the seller, he allowed as how it would be one more step for him to include them. But if he doesn't indicate what size/type of wire to use, what's an electrical novice to do? (Yes, I have electrified several houses, but I still consider myself a novice.) Since I don't have the black and red wires, I'm following his instructions to use the microscopic #0 brass screws directly to the tape wire. New tester should be here Monday or Tuesday. Will try again when it arrives.

4 hours ago, Dalesq said:

KathieB has an expression: “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” I took that to heart, and have been happily building and trying new things. 

Some journeys can be a bit rocky. :D 

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You've done a beautiful job on this!!  Good for you - especially as it sounds like you have such a busy life!!  I understand completely how you're feeling.  I'm also the eternal optimist but my Pierce has me pretty bottomed out.  Hence it's sitting unfinished while I work on other projects.  The family would love to move in - and mostly the interior is complete.  However because it was my first house, I followed the instructions to a tee and glued on all the window framework before I added the outside cladding.  Most of the Pierce windows are curved and I realised that I would never be able to scribe and cut the cladding to fit snugly around the curved windows - to MY expectations.  So I decided to use spackle to create a stucco type effect.  I told myself (and anyone else who would listen) over and over how I hadn't done this before and I didn't think I could do it.  So I got into it, it looks like absolute crap and I felt completely defeated.  So now I'm ignoring it despite feeling bad about it.  I loved my Pierce so much being the first house I've done - but as you say, I learned so much during the process that if I could re-do the kit I would do things completely differently.  One day I will sand the outside back as much as possible and re-do the exterior.  By then who knows if my wiring will still be working!  So I'll give you the same advice others gave me on this forum.  This is supposed to be a 'fun' hobby!  You are doing it because you enjoy doing it.  There will always be tedious processes (ie all the panelling I've been doing for my apothercary) but as a whole you should be enjoying the project enough that you'll be able to get through those things that drag!  Therefore you have two choices; through a sheet over it and put it to one side for now and start a new project OR; take a big breath, buy a new tester and do what you have to do in order to get that wiring going.  Or of course you could pretend that none of the lights were ever meant to work - but I have a feeling that it wouldn't work too well for you!  Especially if you're anything like me! :D  Good luck - you've certainly done a really amazing job of it so far!!  LOVE the cladding!  :D 

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The Pierce is the only house I gave in on.  I was rehabbing one that had originally been built with hot glue and doing all sorts of neat bashing when we bought our house in Alabama and moved.  The first floor was not quite done and I had the second floor dry fitted in place and we put it in the RV we had at the time to move it.  I begged the hubs not to stack anything on it, and of course he did, and of course we rode over a couple of rough railroad crossings, and of course the stuff he'd stacked shirted and of course it demolished the Pierce into matchsticks and kindling.

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4 hours ago, miniaddicted said:

Sasha - does sound like the splice is the culprit. I have had those go wonky on me as well, and have now gone to CRS2 adaptors instead. So you have clapboard siding - is the junction splice on it? That too can be challenging. 

Am anxious to hear if the new test probe tells you where the connection is missing. I too would give a few things a try at this point, to see if you can salvage it. I made lots of mistakes (and still do) with my first electrified house - in fact, it was an RGT Newport- MDF also. One thing I took away from that is that i try to leave my flooring where I can remove it if I need to, to access tapewire as needed. This just happened to me in my current French Country manor, and it was the fireplace electrical...had to remove that wall of wallpaper, and the chimney breast, slide out the flooring and redo the electrical and repaper the wall and chimney breast. 

 

It's interesting that you mentioned the CRS2 adaptors. I'd been reading about them here and other places, and really liked how it sounded (stability-wise). I did want to go with that kit, but I'll confess that finances got the better of me. It was (if memory serves me) around $90 for the kit whereas with a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby I was able to get the older set. So, being cheap ultimately cost me :-)

The junction splice is at the base of the house/porch. I did notice today, though, that when I pulled it out to try and move it that the pins are a bit bent. I may go ahead and splurge on the CRS2 kit just to see if the adaptor makes a difference and if it doesn't no biggie, I've got it for another build. But getting a new test probe will also go a long way to try and narrow down what went wrong.

As I was laying the floors, I would test the lights as I went along. So, I'm still leaning towards it being the junction since after laying the last of the floor the lights did work. But the test probe will tell hehe Thanks again!

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3 hours ago, Shareb said:

You've done a beautiful job on this!!  Good for you - especially as it sounds like you have such a busy life!!  I understand completely how you're feeling.  I'm also the eternal optimist but my Pierce has me pretty bottomed out.  Hence it's sitting unfinished while I work on other projects.  The family would love to move in - and mostly the interior is complete.  However because it was my first house, I followed the instructions to a tee and glued on all the window framework before I added the outside cladding.  Most of the Pierce windows are curved and I realised that I would never be able to scribe and cut the cladding to fit snugly around the curved windows - to MY expectations.  So I decided to use spackle to create a stucco type effect.  I told myself (and anyone else who would listen) over and over how I hadn't done this before and I didn't think I could do it.  So I got into it, it looks like absolute crap and I felt completely defeated.  So now I'm ignoring it despite feeling bad about it.  I loved my Pierce so much being the first house I've done - but as you say, I learned so much during the process that if I could re-do the kit I would do things completely differently.  One day I will sand the outside back as much as possible and re-do the exterior.  By then who knows if my wiring will still be working!  So I'll give you the same advice others gave me on this forum.  This is supposed to be a 'fun' hobby!  You are doing it because you enjoy doing it.  There will always be tedious processes (ie all the panelling I've been doing for my apothercary) but as a whole you should be enjoying the project enough that you'll be able to get through those things that drag!  Therefore you have two choices; through a sheet over it and put it to one side for now and start a new project OR; take a big breath, buy a new tester and do what you have to do in order to get that wiring going.  Or of course you could pretend that none of the lights were ever meant to work - but I have a feeling that it wouldn't work too well for you!  Especially if you're anything like me! :D  Good luck - you've certainly done a really amazing job of it so far!!  LOVE the cladding!  :D 

Thank you for your kind words! You all are really a great bunch here! Despite the setbacks, I adore doing the work. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I have epilepsy. The biggest downside is that my medications cause me really bad memory issues. The running joke in my family is I don't remember what I had for breakfast. Because of that, my day to day work and tasks are always loaded with remembering things, writing down things, not getting upset at myself for forgetting. So, doing this house has been so great for me. Getting in the "zone", just working on the details, being a perfectionist. For me, it's heaven even when things go wrong. So, in the long run it was, and is, worth it and learning the things I have, I can't wait to start on my next one!

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10 hours ago, Sasha said:

splurge on the CRS2 kit just to see if the adaptor

You don't need to buy the whole kit.  You can just buy the power supply, the adapter, a spool of red and black wire.  You don't need the other items in the kit since you already have the wiring pretty much finished.  

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4 hours ago, 1martinimomma said:

... a spool of red and black wire.    

So if the red and black wires function alike and are only different in the color of their coating, why would one need both red and black? I've ordered one spool of red and intend to cut two hookup wires from it. 

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Good point, you wouldn't if you were only hooking up the adapter.  I have several different runs in the Granville, including LED's so I needed to have both colored wires.  I really like his wire because it's solid wire, not a twisted strand like other wire.  So, much easier to twist together and solder connections.

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52 minutes ago, KathieB said:

why would one need both red and black?

LED's have a positive and negative terminal, but regular circut lights do not. The red goes to the pink tape, the black goes to the blue tape on circut. If you don't have any Leds, then it doesn't matter. The colored wire just ensures you are keeping things positive or negative for that run. The wire is the same copper on the inside. I have the booklet from the class Collen and I took. Would you like me to scan some of the pages and send it to you?

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3 hours ago, Mid-life madness said:

LED's have a positive and negative terminal, but regular circut lights do not. The red goes to the pink tape, the black goes to the blue tape on circut. If you don't have any Leds, then it doesn't matter. The colored wire just ensures you are keeping things positive or negative for that run. The wire is the same copper on the inside. I have the booklet from the class Collen and I took. Would you like me to scan some of the pages and send it to you?

This all makes good sense, but it's easy enough to keep in mind that the pink strip is positive and the blue negative without having different colored hookup wires . Somewhere (maybe in the video?) I saw a hint that says if an LED light is not working, just reverse the wires. 

Thanks for the offer, Carrie, but the booklet you have is probably copyrighted. And I have a feeling it would be more than I need to know. If I can imagine the electricity flowing along the pink and blue channels as positive and negative, that should be enough for my simple application. :) 

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I have to start on my Apothecary lighting soon.....I've been putting it off.  I'm going to use tape wire for the first time.  Luckily daughter has finished her first year of an electrical engineering apprentice and hubby is used to wiring etc so no doubt both will help if I ask!  Still feels very challenging though!

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