Thanks everyone. Continued thanks for all the feedback and comments. If the right person is someone who has all the answers then I'm not the right person I guess. But, I'm not an incapable person either.
If there's no safe way to do this, then I'm totally ok skipping the lights. But what would you guys do? Code-compliant or nothing? Or wire to the outlet?
To answer DerbyDad03's concerns:
[DD03] One of my concerns is that if we just tell you to drill a hole in the wall and fish that cord into the receptacle box and use wire nuts to match the
wires colors by color, are you going to be able to do that safely?
[C13] Yes, I can confidently do that. I tested it it "outside" the wall to check functionality and overall lighting effect of the LED panel.
[DD03] Will you know if the box is so over crowded that you are so out of code that it is now unsafe?
[C13] I don't know. I'd have to look it up. Any advice here?
[DD03] Do you know how to safely attach stranded wire to solid wire?
[C13] Yes, I've done that before. Wire nuts, plus add a bit extra length to the stranded wire? Or wrap some stranded wire around the solid wire before the nut?
[DD03] Do you know how to safely secure the wire to the box? (You might recall from my previous posts that I'm not even sure that it is code (or even safe) to
run that cord inside a wall and into a junction box.
[C13] I'd have to look this up too to check. I was going to copy the securing nut/grommet I see on other boxes.
On Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 4:08:16 PM UTC-5, email@example.com wrote:
Please see the other posts related to the fact that you have a 20A circuit.
The cord on the fixture is not 12g, so I don't believe that it can be
brought into the box, which it probably shouldn't be anyway because it is
probably not code to wire the fixture into an counter receptacle circuit.
This is what I was trying to say earlier. You are already going off the
reservation by using the receptacle box. Now you have wire size issues
and a wire type that probably shouldn't be in the wall anyway.
You want it to be safe for you and everyone else in the building, yet it
appears that you will have at least 3 code violations if you continue down
your current path. Forget the receptacle box and do it right.
What if I do this?
1) Connect the supplied cable to a 12-gauge cable (Romex?) outside of the wall and tuck both cables under the cabinet and behind the LED panel. So the entire cable from the LED panel and some length of the 12-gauge cable would be outside the wall.
2) Route the 12-gauge cable in the wall through the junction box.
3) Secure the 12-gauge cable to the junction box.
Alternatively, what would be the right way to do it?
I haven't followed this conversation, but why are you using 12 gauge
wire? Your LED cabinet lights are most likely under 20 watts or so. Even
a 14 gauge wire can handle 1800 watts. That's a lot of LED lights.
It sounds like you're wanting to tap power from an existing outlet.
Correct? How many wires enter that box now? How deep is the box? If the
box is at least 2.5" deep and you only have one cable coming in, you're
probably safe to extend the circuit to your cabinet lights. If you have
multiple cables and/or the box is shallow, you could exceed the capacity
of the box.
What kind of connector/fitting is on the undercabinet light? Is it a
standard 3/4" hole with bare wires for hard wiring inside? Or does it
come with a household cord and plug?
I would use 14 gauge romex cable (rated for, and easier to fish inside
walls). If you have room in the source box, it would be better to join
the cables in the box, with short wires to feed the existing outlet. If
space is limited, you could use the terminals on the outlet to "feed
through" the outlet.
Fish the cable through the wall up to your lights. If the fixture is
designed for hard wiring, use a standard cable clamp to secure the cable
to the fixture. Then use wire nuts to make the connections inside the
If the fixture is designed with a standard cord and plug, you could cut
off the existing plug and splice it to the Romex (OUTSIDE the wall, don't
bury the splice in the wall). I would slip heat shrink tubing over the
cable, then more heat shrink tubing over the loose wires. Use crimp
connectors to join the wires, then slip the tubing over the
connectors/wires and shrink. Then repeat with the outer heat shrink
tubing. Make sure to secure the cables with clamps (NOT STAPLES) so they
won't get pulled.
Obviously, turn off the power before doing any of this!
Done right, this is a simple and secure installation. Done wrong you can
electrocute yourself or someone you love and/or cause a fire that will
burn your house down.
It is not a complicated circuit, but yes there are code issues to consider.
1. It is standard practice in remodel work to extend a circuit for a new
outlet or fixture. The biggest issue I can think of would be box fill
requirements in the source box. I did mention the number of cables and size
of the box as a factor in my initial reply.
2. Wire gauge. I DID ask the OP "why" they were using 12 gauge wire.
Obviously, if the circuit is protected by a 20 amp breaker you would need
to use 12 gauge wire on that circuit (14 gauge wire could overheat before
the 20A breaker would trip). Otherwise, 14 gauge wire would be more than
adequate for an LED fixture.
3. Obviously, you can't use standard lamp cord inside a wall. You would
need to use rated cable such as Romex.
4. Connection at the lamp. Ideally the fixture would be designed for hard
wiring, with a proper cable clamp and space in the fixture to make
connections with wire nuts. Unfortunately, many undercabinet fixtures are
made to plug in. The obvious solution would be to install an outlet near
the fixture where the lamp could be plugged in. Unless the lamp
manufacturer provides a certified junction box of some type, there aren't
many low profile options that can fit under a cabinet.
My use of crimp connectors is certainly "NOT" code compliant, but done
properly it is a safe installation as long as the splice is not buried in a
wall and the cables are properly secured.
On Sat, 27 Feb 2016 05:50:24 -0000 (UTC), HerHusband
Crimp connections are legal splices if used in the proper enclosure.
I see the real issue with this installation is the cord to the lamp.
This is using the provisions of "fixture wires" that allow an 18 gauge
conductor to be hard wired to a branch circuit. Typically that will be
in a box that is part of the listed product or where the fixture
canopy acts as the cover for a regular device box.
If he ran this cord to a surface mounted box and used a suitable entry
connector I doubt any inspector would have a problem with it but if
this cord goes into a wall, it is clearly a violation.
On Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 12:07:15 PM UTC-5, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Thank you! I was hoping you'd respond. :-)
You have essentially confirmed what I considered the main issue with this
installation: That pesky flexible cord.
Could the cord be attached to the bottom of a cabinet, go through a hole
in the cabinet bottom and into a junction box inside the cabinet? From
there a properly sized run of Romex could go into the wall and to the source.
I suggest this as means to avoid having a surface mounted box out in the open.
On Sat, 27 Feb 2016 11:28:15 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03
Absolutely but at that point, why not just put a duplex receptacle in
there and put a plug on the cord. Then you would have another outlet
for something else.
A "wiremold" box is designed for surface mount and really does not
look that bad. They are also pretty shallow.
On Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 6:08:18 PM UTC-5, email@example.com wrote:
I assume you mean a duplex inside the cabinet, right?
Just in case you missed it, the OP has stated he does not want to plug the fixture
into the existing counter receptacle.
Would it need to be GFCI protected? It couldn't be on the counter appliance circuit,
Just curious, if that was mounted outside the cabinet, how would it be distinguished as
not being a counter receptacle?
On Sat, 27 Feb 2016 15:44:41 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03
No it doesn't need to be GFCI, unless it is within 6' of the sink but
it would still be on one of the small appliance circuits.
We have 2 different issues. All 120v receptacles in the kitchen,
dining room, pantry etc need to be 20a with no other outlets (except
for a 15a refrigeration outlet) but only the ones serving the
countertop need GFCI. You will also be picking up wall receptacles in
the dining or similar rooms on the SA circuits but they don't have to
If you do not avail yourself of the reefer exception, you can put the
fridge on a SA circuit, before or after the GFCI.
There is nothing to say you can't have more than 2 SA circuits. It
just says they all have to be 20a and only serve the areas that
require SA circuits. (you can't go through the wall and serve the
After the 2014 is adopted in your area, it would need to be AFCI
(including 30ma GF protection)
210.52(C)(5) specifically says receptacles in appliance garages (a
cabinet) are not accessible as counter top receptacles.
It ia also likely to be greater than 20" above the countertop (another
As long as you have 2 "clean" SA circuits in a kitchen remodel they
will usually give you a break if some of the other circuits are
shared. At my house, the fridge is on with the bathroom vanity light
and the lights in the attic. I didn't see it as an issue and when the
Lee County guy inspected me he never even asked because that wall was
not opened up. I did pull in 2 clean circuits and left the old ones so
I have lots of power in the kitchen.
I recently replaced our old fluorescent undercabinet lamps with new LED
fixtures. Unfortunately, I could not find a junction box thin enough to
mount under my cabinet. The romex cable already came out of the wall, so I
used crimp connectors and heat shrink tubing to connect the transformer
cord to the romex. I'm sure it doesn't meet code, but it's secure and
easily accessable from under the cabinet.
Could he install the outlet above the cabinet, then run the lamp cord
through the cabinet to plug in the outlet above (with some kind of physical
protection for the cord)?
I used that method when we remodeled my in-laws house, but I had built
dedicated chases in the cabinets for the cord to pass through. Once the
cabinets were installed, I simply slipped the lamp cord up through the
chase and plugged them into the outlets above. The outlets aren't visible
from below unless you stand on a ladder.
The upper cabinets at my in-laws kitchen are L-shaped in the corner of the
Because the walls were out of plumb and the cabinets referenced off the
stove area, I planned a one inch gap in the back corner where the cabinets
met. I simply passed the lamp cords up this gap and plugged them into a
switched outlet above.
On the left side of the stove I built a special cabinet with two layers of
plywood on one side. I routed a half inch groove in each layer, giving me a
full one inch slot to pass the cord up from the bottom to the top of the
cabinet. You can just barely see the slot in bottom right side of the
cabinet, in the photos where they are laying on my garage floor (a bit
easier to see in the unfinished cabinets).
In both cases the cord is on the outside of the wall, just passing through
the empty spaces in or around the cabinets. The cord is protected and
completely out of sight, but plugs into a standard outlet. As you can see
in the final photos, the outlets are not visible above the cabinets, even
when standing on the other side of the room. I did mount those outlets
horizontally to minimize how far they stuck up above the cabinets (visible
in the photo with the bare sheetrock).
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