Low voltage indoor lighting

timtexMarch 5, 2010

Here's my question. Can I buy a transformer and then run 12 volt cable from the transformer to a table lamp? If I cut off the existing plug on the table lamp and use a quick connector to tie the 18 guage wire to the 12 volt cable, and then use a 40 watt medium base bulb, will it work? The reason for all this is my couch is in the middle of the living room, so before we install new carpet I have cut a trench in the concrete slab for small plastic conduit. It's only about a 6 foot run. I had an electrician out here yesterday and he said low voltage would be safer since it produces less heat. We do not have the money or the desire to put in a electric code approved conduit and floor box. Thanks.

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12 volts is not inherently safe. The cable and connections can be shorted out and get hot enough to melt things and start fires. Many electricians and homeowners use 12v as if nothing can go wrong. Not all low voltage power is the same. It must be fused to protect the parts from overload yet general purpose transformers may have no fusing and can't be used for landscape lighting or any interior home wiring. For your situation you should use a class 2 low voltage transformer which is power limited. This is similar to wiring a door bell system and has much less strict rules. Cabling run through a structure must be in wall rated so keep that in mind when designing. (lamp cord cannot pass through pieces of a building)

    Bookmark   March 5, 2010 at 5:25PM
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Thanks for your expertise on this, and I will use the type of transformer you mentioned. Once I get the wire over to the table lamp, I'm at a loss as to what kind of receptacle I could use. Do you have any ideas? Rewiring the lamp is no problem, but I'd like the output to be around 40 watts, if that's even possible. Thanks

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 1:44AM
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To anyone wondering about a resolution to this, I decided to go with an LED bulb which gives out around 45 watts of incandescent equivalent light. The bulb is kind of expensive ($23), but it only uses 2.5 watts and runs on a plug-in transformer with a 6 foot cord. Thanks

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 10:22AM
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A 2.5w LED should give a max of 13w of equiv. light.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 6:31PM
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I don't think you can use a 12V DC transformer to power a lamp with a light bulb that requires 120V AC. Seems like it would either give off less light than a candle or just not work at all. (AM I wrong?)

Using an LED light bulb is a great idea, since it has a transformer inside the bulb and screws into a household lamp.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 7:50PM
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