Question about Low Voltage lights vs Regular for UCL

Tricia21January 29, 2013

So I'm still researching UCL's and i don't understand if something is low voltage or not. My contractor said NO low voltage so as I'm looking, I ignore those but some don't say either way. What is the difference b/w low voltage and regular? What is direct wire? I'm getting my terms all confused. I looked at the environmental light bars and it says 24V so does that mean they are "low voltage"? Can anyone recommend Light bars that are not low voltage?

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Abythint less thqan 120 V is 'low voltage.'

Low voltage filaments can be much more tightly wound to give them greater strength and vibration resistance.

Vehicles started at 6 V, then went to 12 V.
The filaments are 'wrapped' twice to give them enough strength when hot to resist vibration.

Just the vibration of using the bottom shelf in the cabinet above puck lights will make the 120 V bulbs fail very quickly.

24 V is till low voltage.

I would tell your contractor that YOU are the customer.
he appears to have forgotten who is paying him.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 5:03PM
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I'm fine with not doing low voltage as long as they are LED. So far, it looks like WAC LedMe lights would work as well as the Philips eW. Has anyone used the WAC LedMe? Also, it says these need a "low voltage dimmer" that the same as putting in low voltage lights anyway?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 6:43PM
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The following thread should answer your questions.

Here is a link that might be useful: LED UCL thread

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 9:34PM
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Just remember the color of the leading edge of technology.

It is green, the color of money.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 11:47AM
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David - I did read your write up on UCL's and it helped a lot. Here's my question - in your opinion, is it better to have low voltage or direct wire? I get the feeling you prefer direct wire and I'm wondering what the advantages are. I've been to two lighting stores and they both push the tape/low voltage style lighting but they are trying to sell me something. My contractor, whom i actually trust, prefers direct wire. Now, could it be that this is what he has the most experience with? Of course. But like i said, I do trust him and he is a very talented contractor. He has a thick accent so sometimes we don't get into the nitty gritty which is why i haven't pressed him on it. He's also in the throws of another job (at a church :() so I don't feel the need to bother him to much about it yet as he's starting my demo in March. But, the more i have finalized, the better. So, in your opinion, why is direct wire or low voltage better aside from the costs?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 1:25PM
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It really depends on the owners.

Direct wire advantages (owner's perspective)
1. More flexibility and choices. For example, you can put in fluorescent or halogen and swap it out later for LED with minimal hassle. There is no need to think whether the original setup was 12V or 24V DC and whether the wiring would still be usable for higher output lights which may have a different voltage.
2. For large setups, it is potentially cheaper and there is no need to figure out the wire gauge, # transformers (power supplies).
3. Mechanically secured, does not rely on adhesive (typical for tape).
4. Everything is located under the cabinets. No remote power supply in an accessible location.
5. Better understood by electricians.
6. Higher output than tape lighting and potentially rigid low voltage LED bars.

Low voltage bar advantages
1. Significantly smaller profile than direct wire. Ultra low profile direct wire lights are very expensive and still not as low profile. For example the Unilume.
2. Mechanically fastened vs adhesive for tape lighting.
3. Higher output than tape lighting. In some cases, it can match the output of some direct wire lights.
4. More rugged than tape lighting.

tape lighting advantages
1. Smallest profile of all.
2. Can be water proof (not counting cut ends or connectors).
3. Easily put up, but the adhesive backing may not last.

If you can use fixtures with a 0.75" profile, direct wiring is the cheaper option.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 5:49PM
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Ok - so it sounds like if you don't need an extremely low profile, direct wire is fine and maybe easier to deal with as of now by my contractor. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 6:06PM
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