I realize this post is out of sequence, but I hadn’t planned on talking about the electrical wiring. It seemed so routine to me that I thought no one would be interested, but I did have a reader ask about it the other day so here it is.
It was a fairly simple wiring project with about 250 feet of 14-2 Romex wire, 22 electrical boxes, 16 outlets, 5 switches, and other miscellaneous items. Some might question the exclusive use of 14 gauge wire, especially with outlets, but this is just a cabin with a small solar power system and a 300 watt inverter. 14 gauge is much easier to work with, and the wires are protected with a 15 amp breaker for the few times I might be running my Honda eu2000i generator. I had thought about using conduit in case I ever wanted to change or upgrade the wiring, but I just couldn’t justify the extra time and expense for a cabin. If this were my home with spray foam insulation in the walls, I would definitely want to have the electrical wiring in conduit.
The interior electrical boxes needed to be thin enough to fit in the 1 5/8″ steel stud walls, and also not conduct electricity through the steel framing and container walls in case of any wiring mishaps. The best one I found was the Carlon A52151D 2 gang box. The only problem with these boxes is that they are not designed for steel studs. To attach them to the steel studs, I had to use wooden backers in the studs to screw the boxes into. At first I used some 2×2’s, but I had to bend the back side flanges of the steel stud to make them fit. After wasting my time with a few of those, I switched to 1×2’s which press fit perfectly into the steel stud channels.
You can see in the pictures below that I used nail plates on some of the steel and wood studs. The ones available at my local stores didn’t work too well on the steel studs, so I looked online and found the ERICO CADDY Press-On Protection Plate, which worked great for both wood and steel. I didn’t need to use these on the exterior wall steel studs since I just cable tied the Romex to the backside of the studs. The last picture in the gallery shows a custom nailing plate I made to protect the Romex that went around some remnants of the interior steel walls. I originally tried to drill through those steel sections to run the wire through, but it was too thick for my drill even with Cobalt bits. The custom plates work just fine and will eventually be hidden by the trim.
All of this electrical in the cabin will be a real luxury for me. For the first 15 years or so my old hunting shack had no electricity, and I relied on kerosene lanterns and flashlights for all of my lighting needs. I’ll still keep the lanterns around for those nights when I don’t have enough solar power saved up, and also for a little nostalgia now and then too. Another benefit of kerosene lanterns is that they’re nice to bring to the outhouse at night. They not only light your way there, but they provide some welcome heat during the winter months.