Relevant electrical question

I'm building an entertainment center (cherry, oil/shellac, pocket doors, glass shelves, table saw-cut cove molding, wheeeee) and I've added four halogen puck lights that I need to dim together. The lights I have are 15W and have long cords that get trimmed to length and plugs attached - no transformer.
How do I get them all together to a inconspicuous switch?
I found a lamp dimmer with enough oomph to handle the wattage. It's a touchpad about the size of a silver dollar that I can recess into the top of the unit. The pad is attached to a transformer that, unfortunately, has only one recepticle. So I can dim one light like a champ, but that doesn't help me.
I can probably plug all of the lights into a power strip then plug that into the dimmer transformer, but it just looks clunky and doesn't seem like the right way to do it.
Since I'm assembling the plugs anyway, is there a better way to get all of the lights together to one plug? I can cludge it together with wirenuts and black tape but, again, that doesn't seem like the right way.
Any ideas?
Thanks, billy
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Check with your local electrical supply house. There are a variety of barrier strips that work well for situations like this. Just make sure you mount and isolate them correctly.
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On Wed, 29 Sep 2004 15:49:32 GMT, Billy Schuttler

If this is something you're selling, you might need to explore UL listing your piece.
If not, your primary concerns are:
1. Removing the heat from the dimmer and the lamps.
2. Protecting your wiring from damage.
Make sure your lamps are listed for mounting on wood without venting. Double check to make sure your design isn't trapping heat that the manufacturer expects to be vented.
Add a wiring chase of some kind. You don't really want exposed wires where they can be damaged by folks sliding equipment or DVDs in carelessly.
Even something as simple as a piece of moulding configured so that your wiring runs between the face frame and the moulding will protect it from unintentional damage.
Wiremold makes surface-mount boxes that may be helpful in your application.
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UL listing? This piece is mine (well, the wife's) but I may be doing something similar for profit in the near future. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you're saying that I'll need to UL list the piece as a whole if I wire it up in any configuration that deviates from the manufacturer's intended usage? Good to know.
The pucks are recessed into holes in the tops of the boxes. I'll then add a decorative cap over the whole unit with an air space for ventilation, which will also neatly hide the wires. The boxes with lights are open (no doors) so there shouldn't be any heat buildup. I attached the boxes together with spacers between the sides to create a channel for running wires, but I see your point of keeping things organized to avoid damage.
So I can get a small surface-mount box to wire the four pucks together, then run my plug to the dimmer transformer? Anyone have any experience with this? I'd hate for my latest project to burst into flames.

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DAGS on this group for what UL listing entails. I believe Tom Watson was struggling with this once upon a time....
How'd that turn out Tom?
Joe C.
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On Wed, 29 Sep 2004 17:02:18 GMT, Billy Schuttler

In general, if you sell something that plugs into the wall directly, it needs to be UL listed. That's why so many devices use wall warts and low voltage. If you use a listed Wart, you don't need to get UL listing for the entire device.
If you cut off the plug on a listed lamp, it mungs the UL listing.
IMO, you REALLY don't want the liability of making a "Plug-in entertainment center" that's not listed. IANAL, YMMV, Not Valid in Vermont . . .
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However, as long as you do not violate the UL listing (meaning you have to also follow the instructions) you probably do not need to list the entertainment center as an assembly. UL does not list furniture to my knowledge.
once you modify the device (such as by removing the plug) you have violated the instructions and the listing and you are on your own.
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