How to Install Electrics into a Log Cabin 5

I was recently asked how to install Electrics into a Log Cabin as part of a project and thought I would share the knowledge and experiences with you in case you are thinking of doing the same.

Picture showing height and width of Cabin

Log Cabin Layout

The log cabin in question was a Forest Alderley Log Cabin 34Mm 4 X 3M purchased from Amazon and it arrived untreated with no electrics or any provisions for them.

When I was asked to “electrify” the Log Cabin, I really want my design to have a clean and simple setup, not ugly conduit or trunking on show, or worse still wiring going up and down the walls, as this beautiful log cabin’s look would surely be spoiled by such “abuse”, so I had to come up with another way.

I love silly acronyms and our world is full of them, so here’s another one, when designing the Log Cabin Electrics, I used the KISS (Keep it simple Stupid) method, no complicated tubing, wiring systems or trunking, a simple yet effective design had to be the way forward.

I decided on the following:

Picture showing Log Cabin floor plan

Log Cabin Floor Plan

  • The use of floor standing up-lights, simply plugged into sockets (close to them)
  • There would be three double sockets
  • I would incorporate USB charging sockets in each outlet to maximise usage
  • I would also incorporate an RJ45 socket for Internet Access within the design
  • It would all be based on a single line of sockets, hidden behind the sofa
  • Use Galvanised 20mm Steel conduit, its simple to install, will wear well, and last for many years
  • The inside fixtures would be fed from a MK IP65 Distribution Board directly behind it (outside)
  • I would complement the installation with an outdoor waterproof socket at the back of the cabin

 

 

 

My Challenges

 1. There is a poor earth reading in the garden, I had to make improvements if I wanted a safe earth conductivity while also being able to pass the earth-fault loop impedance test

2. Any distribution boards/switching and their feeds has to be outside for cosmetic reasons

3. Log Cabins move!, the logs actually move around all of the time, expanding and contracting, so anything you screw into the logs gets moved about!

4. I had to have provision for solar panels on the roof of the Log Cabin (to be installed another time)

5. The Manufacturer of the log cabin said it’s best practice to only to drill one hole through the logs for cables, anymore and it may affect the Cabin’s warranty if moisture caused damage in the future

 

How to Install Electrics into a Log Cabin

So I set about ordering the parts and piecing the thing together, sending some items back and trying others, but this is how I got on:

  • Corrected the earth problems by installing an earth rod to the back of the Cabin, which once installed gave the reading of 0.37 ohms
  • I  wanted to install the conduit but with the absence of any Stocks & Dies, I managed to get hold of pre-cut pre threaded lengths of 2 x 200mm and 3 x  900mm thanks to Factory Lux

    Both items here are screwed onto a single Log

  • I drilled through the logs around 300mm off the floor, making a 25mm hole in the centre of a log then mounted the first socket over it, concealing the cables while also filling the hole with waterproof sealant to stop both airflow from the Distribution board and any moisture from getting in (on the outside of this I had mounted the Distribution board so both items were effectively back to back)
  • I installed the Cat 6 cable in the same conduit, some people might question this due to interference, but needs must, and being Cat 6 shielded cable, and after testing, I found it to work with minimal TX/RX errors
  • Outside I terminated the 4mm armoured cable onto a metal box before then bringing it into the Distribution Board
  • The Distribution Board – I arranged in such a way that the bus-bar feeding the breakers goes through the meters first

 

Here are some more Pictures

The things I Learnt

  • The Logs – After much research, I found the best way to avoid damage to the logs/fittings was to only mount your fittings to a single log, don’t screw anything between the logs as they will surely get destroyed!, there is a good article from Tuin here on that
  • My initial design of using a Power-Line Adaptor such as the TP-Link AV1200 Gigabit Powerline AC Wi-Fi Kit to bring Internet into the Log Cabin was flawed, due to the need to have an electricity meter on the incoming supply, it scuppered the use of power-line adaptors, so I went for the installation of a cat 6 cable instead
  • The meters I used don’t mind which way they are connected in order to measure power flows, so when I used any import electricity, say by plugging in a heater, it registered on both the import and the export meters!, which is not good…so I had to separate out the wiring in order for the solar to be fed separately

 

How to Install Electrics into a Log Cabin – Parts Listing

I have listed all of the parts below to save you time and money as after much research and trying different components, I settled on the below:

  • 1 x MK Super Garage Kit6 Way Consumer Unit – Weathertight -With 63A DP 30mA RCD. 6x Type B MCBs (3x 6A, 1x 16A and 2x 20A). 4x M20 knockouts IP65 weatherproof enclosure –  an excellent small and compact fuse board for mounting outdoors (outdoor rated) with the correct cable entries in the right places and at the right price.
  • 2 x Single Phase DIN-Rail Kilowatt Hour KWH Energy Meter 230V 30A – Not essential, but I wanted to be able to monitor the Cabins consumption over it’s lifetime, so for a small cost they were a great addition (the export one is for the solar panels which are being added at a later date)
  • 1 x Metal Box – Needed to terminate armoured cable into
  • 4 x lengths of Conduit – Pre-cut, Pre-Threaded
  • 1 x Earth Rod – To improve the earth reading
  • 1 x Outdoor Socket
  • 3 x 13 A 2G Metal Clad Socket With 5 V DC 2.1 A Dual USB Charger Ports – Silver
  • 1 x RJ45 Outlet Metal Clad
  • 10 x 20mm conduit saddles
  • 5x female conduit couplers

Below is the full list from Amazon so you can buy directly:

 

 

 

2017 Update: About 6 months after this, I had to return to this project and install Solar Panels on the roof of this Log Cabin, read my article “How to install DIY Solar Panels”

As always, feel free to leave me any comments that you have as below.

  • Rod emmit

    Good article Matt, but you have not included a link to the mini meters you have where did you buy them please???

    Rod.

  • Sorry Rod, I did leave those out!, I have added them to the blog now which you can purchase on Amazon, rated at 30A, just check they are powerful enough for your application. Please remember, you only need one meter if you really want to record the amount of energy your Log Cabin is using, for fun really, no other purpose. I have two as at the time I was making provision for solar panels that were yet to be installed, however those are now installed and working correctly (see my other blog on that https://www.mattwilson.uk/2015/07/28/solar-panels/ ) but the second meter simply recorded the amount of energy generated by the panels only.

  • Rod emmit

    hello matt could i ask some more questions 1. what incoming supply have you got and how is it rated i.e armoured cable size 2. why did you have earth problems what causes it. 3. how do you mount sockets and conduit and DB’s only on one log, i need to mount them across both!

  • Hi Rod,

    Sure, here goes:

    1. it’s 2 core 4mm armoured cable, I never chose it as it was already there. 2. I was not happy with using the earth from the cable (i.e the SWA) as it was giving a poor reading, mainly because of the sheer length of cable from the house.. so the earth rod was just to shore it up a https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4533df37cb0ec29a34d7806ba180475264d211e75a2f025b64b8e8a4486b500d.jpg bit and get a far better earth reading on the meter. 3. I know!, many fuseboards have four holes in each corner which if you used these, it would sit across 2 logs…don’t do this!…instead, drill your own holes in the center, perhaps three screws then screw into a single log otherwise when the logs move, your fuseboard will get pulled from each corner and snap! a good example is attached..Log cabin has contracted and no allowance has been made for the trunking. This is a potentially dangerous situation as all the wire and terminations will be under strain.

  • Benjamin Hall

    Hi, it looks good of what you’ve done there. I am in the process of constructing the garage and it is similar to what you are doing in terms of wiring and trunking. I was wondering whether it is safe or not to put Ethernet cables parallel with electric cable that you’ve done (as demonstrated in picture 2 of above). Thanks.