Wiring is a bit of a dodgy area so don’t take any of this as legal advice. Under new building regs in Engand & Wales outdoor electrical work is supposed to be done by a qualified electrician, or inspected by Building Control who will charge for it. I’ve put that off for now by connecting the office to an outdoor power point that was in place before the new regulations. Once various other outdoor jobs are done, walls built etc we’ll rewire the whole outdoor power, lighting, water feature stuff properly.
Meanwhile the office is wired properly with a ‘garage unit’, a simple consumer unit with two circuit breakers, a 6 Amp for lighting and 20 Amp for power sockets. I put plenty of lights and sockets in at the outset, they are relatively cheap and easy to fit while you’re building, but a real nuisance to add later. In my little 4 x 3 Metre office I’ve got five double sockets and despite that I needed a 4 way extension lead for the networking gubbins! I’ve also got three 3′ strip lights to ensure a shadow free working environment. There’s a light outside over the door and a weatherproof socket round the side for the strimmer, shredder and lawnmower
TELECOMS AND NETWORKING
I need a reliable Internet connection and phone to earn a living, my wife uses a PC for family stuff and we share an old Pentium3 that runs ‘headless’ as a file server
All the PCs were on a wired ethernet, but there was also a WiFi access point for my netbook and visitors with laptops. I don’t print or scan very often so they were both connected to the XP box, with the printer ‘shared’ by Windows so I could print to it via CUPS.
I have a Re-Tell device on my landline phone which fits between the handset and the base unit of the phone and feeds into the soundcard on my PC so I can record telephone interviews. That had to go in the office.
Like many houses our telephone master socket was in the front room, miles away from the old computer room and even further from the office, a DIY extension lead wouldn’t have given me a decent connection so I had a local telecoms engineer fit a new cable from the external box on the house to the office, giving me the most direct link possible. The socket in the office is wired as the master, and the existing socket in the house downgraded as an extension. The beauty of this is that all the work was done outside – no disruption in the house at all.
The new system uses all the old kit, plus a Devolo powerline networking kit (£60, Maplin). Linda’s kit has stayed in the house along with the file server, connected using the ethernet ports on the WiFi box. My kit is all in the new office, connected via the eight port switch. The router is also in the office, plugged into the new master socket. Home and office are connected by the powerline networking adapters which bridge from the office switch to the home WiFi box.