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Old 07-12-2011, 02:07 AM   #1
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Direct Wired Undercabinet LEDs


I have romex coming out of the wall through the cabinet where I want to place undercabinet lights (5 wires connected to a wall switch). This means 120v line voltage only. However, I would like to use LED or an alternate low-voltage light. It is too late to change the rough-in.

I see a few options. What do you guys think?

1. There are very few LED lights designed for direct wire that come in a rectangular bar form factor. They are relatively expensive, given that there is a transformer in each bar.

2. Find a very thin junction box for a thin outlet (does that exist?) that can be installed in the 1" frame of the cabinet. And plug in a plug-in style LED light. This gives me more options for puck, bar, strip, etc. But this method also requires a transformer at every light location, which is expensive and a waste since a single transformer is probably able to light all 5 locations.

2b. If no such jbox/outlets exist, chop off plug and wire nut on to romex. I'm pretty sure that's against code though.

3. Somehow find a way to install a central transformer near the switch, and use the existing romex to run low voltage power to the lights. Is this against code? The switch is located below a cabinet, so I can hide the transformer inside the cabinet above, pull the existing wire up to wire into the transformer's output.


Ikea has several options for LED undercab lights that i like and relatively inexpensive, but they are all designed to be plug in.


Last edited by acerunner; 07-12-2011 at 02:20 AM.
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:52 AM   #2
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Direct Wired Undercabinet LEDs


Use a shallow junction box




Home Depot

http://www.homedepot.com/Electrical-...atalogId=10053


Cut the plug off the cord and splice in the box and use a blank cover. This will violate the UL listing for the light but it very commonly done with under cabinet lighting.

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Old 07-12-2011, 03:01 PM   #3
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Direct Wired Undercabinet LEDs


do you mean install that to the bottom of the cabinet, recessed into the cabinet such that the 4x2 opening is downward?

Also, I contacted manufacturer, and they suggested something like this where the outlets are on the side.



Still would like to find a way to be able to use one central transformer to feed all lights. Is it against code to run low voltage power through romex?
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Old 07-12-2011, 03:28 PM   #4
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Direct Wired Undercabinet LEDs


this place has direct wire outlets like in the photo and had the best prices we could find online. these can be daisy chained with supplied cables. I used the shallow box like rjniles suggested.

http://www.inspiredled.com/under_cabinet.html

http://www.inspiredled.com/pdf-files...9(06-2011).pdf
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Old 07-12-2011, 03:37 PM   #5
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Direct Wired Undercabinet LEDs


Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyT View Post
this place has direct wire outlets like in the photo and had the best prices we could find online. these can be daisy chained with supplied cables. I used the shallow box like rjniles suggested.

http://www.inspiredled.com/under_cabinet.html

http://www.inspiredled.com/pdf-files/bright-9(06-2011).pdf
would you mind posting a photo of how you have it installed?

the light set you posted is similar to what i'm looking for. However, the daisy chaining is only useful if I can have a single main transformer feeding everthing.

Last edited by acerunner; 07-12-2011 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 07-12-2011, 03:42 PM   #6
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Direct Wired Undercabinet LEDs


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Originally Posted by acerunner View Post
do you mean install that to the bottom of the cabinet, recessed into the cabinet such that the 4x2 opening is downward?

Is it against code to run low voltage power through romex?
If the lower edge of the cabinet will hide the box, then surface mount. Or recess into the bottom of the cabinet.

It is not a violation to use NM cable for low voltage.
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:13 PM   #7
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Direct Wired Undercabinet LEDs


you can run 10 off of one, 1 amp transformer and they make 12ft cables for going up and over things. mine are in 3 different locations and i havent gotten to putting them up yet but have all the lights. the only place im running a long cable is to go over the stove to the 1 light on the other side. we went with the 9 led lights cause we didnt want it really bright. i plugged one in and held it under the cabinet and it gets rid of the shadow from the overhead light and gives plenty of light. the second link showed how they run them. they sell 2 amp transformers and also a dimmable one and a distribution block if that works in your layout.i did find that since im putting lightrail along the bottom of the cabinets i need to move the lights back about 2 inches from the front of the cabinet. see if this gives you more info. i think we went with the cool instead of the warm.

http://www.inspiredled.com/select-product.html

here is there installation video

http://www.inspiredled.com/how-to-videos.html#cabinet

Last edited by DannyT; 07-12-2011 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:36 PM   #8
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Direct Wired Undercabinet LEDs


Danny. Thanks for the info. I think I will go with those as well. So sounds like you didn't have any in-wall wiring? Also, curious to know why you chose cool vs warm? I don't want a light that's too white like flourescents. In the 1st link you gave, the cool looks really white, but the warm looks a little too yellow. How did it look in person?

rhniles, if you are right about being able to use NM for low voltage, then I think I will try to do method 3 in first post. That way I don't have to worry about hiding wires. Do you know if its ok to have 110v & low voltage run into the same jbox? Of course it would be wire nutted seperately.
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acerunner View Post
rhniles, if you are right about being able to use NM for low voltage, then I think I will try to do method 3 in first post. That way I don't have to worry about hiding wires. Do you know if its ok to have 110v & low voltage run into the same jbox? Of course it would be wire nutted seperately.
No you can not mix line voltage and low voltage in the same JB. You do not need a JB for low voltage.
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:48 PM   #10
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No you can not mix line voltage and low voltage in the same JB. You do not need a JB for low voltage.
so if I use the NM for low voltage, I can just wire nut it and let it hang in the wall cavity?
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acerunner View Post
so if I use the NM for low voltage, I can just wire nut it and let it hang in the wall cavity?

Yes you can.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:18 PM   #12
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Direct Wired Undercabinet LEDs


the cool are a nice white light but we went with the ones with 9 led's so they arent super bright. we didnt like the yellow look of the others. we only needed 7 lights but for a few dollars more we bought the 10 light kit and an extra transformer since we had 3 locations. i am installing switched outlets in 3 locations under the cabinets and running all the wires under the cabinets. all you need is an outlet for the transformer and all the wiring premade cables of different lengths to connect the lights.

Last edited by DannyT; 07-12-2011 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 07-13-2011, 05:58 AM   #13
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Direct Wired Undercabinet LEDs


Low voltage wire is not allowed in walls, so wire nutting and lettting the splice in the wall is not allowed. Use a thin wire mold box for splices.
Also an outlet is not allowed to be on a dimmer.
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:03 AM   #14
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How can you say LV wiring can not be in walls? How about speaker wiring, door bell wiring, telephone wiring and more?

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