We have the kitchen walls open for a remodel. I'd like to get some
undercabinet lighting installed. Have read online about xenon strip
lights and that sounds good. Have seen some references to running
romex in the wall and having it poke out just where the bottom of the
cabinets will be. Not sure on details of this type of install. Can
anyone elaborate? A transformer is needed--where does this go? Can it
sit inside the wall (NEC-wise)? I have read that you have to consider
the length of the runs of lights etc etc. Any help/pointers to good
Don't bury the transformer in the wall. Either put it in a cabinet or in
the basement. I would go the basement route and then just run your low
voltage from there. If no basement then put it somewhere out of sight
(And sound, they can make noise). They can go bad and may someday need
to be replaced.
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If a garage wall backs up at or near the kitchen, you can put a
transformer in a regular receptacle box. Transformer on the outside
of a cover plate. It's not in the wall. Wires run back into the wall
just above...small patched hole. Enough wire is exposed to allow
replacement of the transformer. Run the wires back into the kitchen
before you close it up. I would bring the wire in as mentioned...in a
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Every major lighting manufacturer makes self contained under cabinet halogen
and xenon fixtures. Except for various puck and track types, the fixtures
are fed with a 120 volt cable and either operate on 120 volt or have a built
in transformer. You can wire all the feeds to the under cabinet fixtures
through a wall switch or just run individual feeds and use fixture mounted
If I use these self contained units, and let's say I skip the wall
switch, do I just run regular 12/2 romex down the wall and leave it
dangling there for the rough-in inspection? And then you pull the
romex thru the sheetrock and connect the light?
The transformer solutions all sound very involved to me. I was
envisioning a single dimmer switch controlling all the undercabinet
lighting, but I still don't have a good grasp on how to make it work.
Re the proposals above, the kitchen is not adjacent to a garage, and
there is no basement. So I don't get where the transformer would go.
RBM (remove this) wrote:
You would run a 14/2 romex to each location. I would run it to a wall
location at the center of where each fixture will be. If your cabinets have
a lip around the bottom, a hole will have to be drilled through the lip and
the cable pulled through as the cabinets are going up. You could certainly
run a feed to a wall switch/dimmer and cables from that switchbox to each
fixture to control them together
Essentially yes. Particularly convenient if you're installing
fluorescent tube fixtures.
Recently however, we've been using QH LV puck lighting which have
an integral transformer, switch and plug. So, instead of direct wiring,
I put a receptacle in the wall immediately below the cabinetry - mounted
horizontally. Then using various types of stick on cable clips and
tie-wraps, the wiring, transformer and switch will all be tied up to
the bottom of the cabinetry.
The receptacle is controlled by a switch.
We'll install a valence to hide the wiring and outlet.
Transformers capable of being dimmed are pretty big beasties. A 300W track
lighting version we just used is a big toroidal transformer about 4" in diameter
and 3" high. Those sorts of things need to be put in boxes somewhere else.
Take into account the ampacity you're going to need to deliver to the lights.
A 300W 12V circuit is about 25 amps. Which imply the use of #10 wire.
[In a case like that, I'd use 10-2 romex, and try to get a sheath color
other than the existing stuff. Eg: blue or red. Just to make it stand out
as _not_ being 120/220V. Should also do a voltage drop calculation
based on wire length and resistance.]
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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