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Old 06-05-2010, 10:58 AM   #1
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Under cabinet Lights?


I'm installing some Kichler Xenon Linear Lighting. All totaled the lights will be about 120 watts. My plan is to change one of my kitchen outlets to a switch and pull the power for the 12V transformer from there.

The kitchen outlets are on a GFCI with 12/2 wiring. Is it okay for me to tie-in a 5' run of 14/2 wiring to the transformer or should I use 12/2? I asked the electrical guy at Home Depot and he said that would be fine, but I wanted to check here as well.

Thanks,
Kelly

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Old 06-05-2010, 12:51 PM   #2
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Under cabinet Lights?


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Originally Posted by kcrossley2 View Post
I'm installing some Kichler Xenon Linear Lighting. All totaled the lights will be about 120 watts. My plan is to change one of my kitchen outlets to a switch and pull the power for the 12V transformer from there.

The kitchen outlets are on a GFCI with 12/2 wiring. Is it okay for me to tie-in a 5' run of 14/2 wiring to the transformer or should I use 12/2? I asked the electrical guy at Home Depot and he said that would be fine, but I wanted to check here as well.

Thanks,
Kelly
You can't add the switch into the ground fault circuit and also it is probably not permissible to remove the outlet because of code requirements along the counter tops.
Is the transformer plugged into an outlet or will it be mounted in or on a box?
There are a lot of things that can be done to home wiring and it will work but is it "legal" is another thing. The size of a circuit breaker is chosen to protect the house wiring and number 14 is rated for 15 amps. Your kitchen is on a 20 amp breaker. It may seem nit-picky but those are the rules....

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Old 06-05-2010, 01:11 PM   #3
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Under cabinet Lights?


Basically, here's how I have it:

GFCI outlets --> switch --> 12 V hardwired transformer --> Linear Lighting

Using 12/2 wiring is no problem, but not being able to add a switch for the under cabinet lights is a problem. Are you sure that's not permitted?

Last edited by kcrossley2; 06-05-2010 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 06-05-2010, 01:15 PM   #4
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Under cabinet Lights?


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not being able to add a switch for the under cabinet lights is a problem. Are you sure that's not permitted?
Upstream or downstream of the 'former?
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Old 06-05-2010, 01:17 PM   #5
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Under cabinet Lights?


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Upstream or downstream of the 'former?
The switch and transformer will be installed downstream of the GFCI.
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Old 06-05-2010, 01:32 PM   #6
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Under cabinet Lights?


You can have a switch on a GFCI circuit. There is no electrical code or manufacturers specs stating switches and GFIs don't mix that I've ever seen.

You do have a problem with code compliance concerning the kitchen circuits. Those countertop outlets are for small appliances and "shall serve no other outlets". 210.52B2 Also by removing the outlet that is there you could fall afoul of 210.52C1 regarding outlet spacing along a countertop.

What you do in your own house is up to you though.

Also for your own safety, only use 14 gauge wire for 15 amp circuits.
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Old 06-05-2010, 01:40 PM   #7
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Under cabinet Lights?


No worries here. The outlet I'm using was installed by accident by the builder and is not required to meet code. Lucky break for me.

Last edited by kcrossley2; 06-05-2010 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 06-05-2010, 01:57 PM   #8
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Under cabinet Lights?


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No worries here. The outlet I'm using was installed by accident by the builder and is not required to meet code. Lucky break for me.
The switch can be installed in the GFCI arrangement but you could have problems with the GFCI tripping. Give it a try and see how it behaves.
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Old 06-05-2010, 02:01 PM   #9
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Under cabinet Lights?


Are GFCI circuits that sensitive? I believe our refrigerator is on the same circuit and when that thing switches on and off it pulls a lot more amps than a low voltage under cabinet lighting system.
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Old 06-05-2010, 08:41 PM   #10
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Under cabinet Lights?


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I certainly don't want to break any electrical codes. The switch will be a dedicated control for the under cabinet lights. The 12/2 wire from the switch will be hardwired to the transformer, so nothing else can be placed on that circuit. Does that make a difference?

If not, how do people typically add under cabinet lights?
Doesn't really make a difference, the kitchen appliance circuits can't be used for lighting as well.

For adding undercabinet lighting, it totally depends on where the next local circuit is. If the living room is on that same wall and a receptacle is in that same wall space, I'd tap off that to feed the switch. If your attic access has a light in a box you could add a junction to it and feed the switch. You may be able to come off the power fed for the kitchen lighting depending on layout.
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Old 06-05-2010, 08:55 PM   #11
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Under cabinet Lights?


If the undercabinet lights plug into an outlet that is allowed as I understand
Hard wiring lighting from the small appliance branch circuits is not allowed
I'm not sure on code regarding a switch on the SABC that controls another outlet
--then on that outlet a transformer plugs in

I have quite a few light switches on GFCI protected circuits & I have never had a GFCI trip due to a switch

For 20a circuit you must use 12g wire
For a 15a circuit you can use either, usually I will always use 14g
For kitchen outlets you must have an outlet every 4' + other requirements:

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Old 06-05-2010, 09:55 PM   #12
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I have quite a few light switches on GFCI protected circuits & I have never had a GFCI trip due to a switch
But isn't that against code also? I know the electrical code is there to protect homeowners, but what is the worst that could happen connecting a lowly 120 watt light to a GFCI? I mean, the GFCI should be the first line of defense for any issues, and the breaker the second.
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Old 06-05-2010, 10:03 PM   #13
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Having a switch on a GFCI protected circuit ?
No, not against code at all
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Old 06-05-2010, 10:05 PM   #14
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Under cabinet Lights?


So, what does the switch control?
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Old 06-05-2010, 10:10 PM   #15
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Under cabinet Lights?


Okay, I think I have this figured out.

Existing GFCI Circuit --> Switch --> 5' 12/2 wire run --> Outlet --> Transformer

However, instead of hardwiring the transformer, I'll wire in a standard plug to the transformer that can be plugged into the switched outlet. Does that meet code?

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No worries here. The outlet I'm using was installed by accident by the builder and is not required to meet code. Lucky break for me.
I just discovered that, based on the diagram that Scuba_Dave posted, my builder did in fact make a mistake, which is why that electrical outlet is there and only 12" away from the one installed to the right of it. Man I hate this builder.

Anyway, all of this is getting too confusing, and possibly dangerous, so I'm going to pull the power from my switched overhead sink light instead. How can I tell if that'll work?

AND THIS IS WHY IT'S BEST TO HIRE A PROFESSIONAL.

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