LV wiring - connection to bare wire

dc_pilgrimMarch 29, 2011

I'll put the question to the vendor also, but I'd like a couple opinions. I am not that bright when it comes to this topic, so no answer is too simple.

I am in the process of buying some under cabinet lights. My builder had previously run wires from my basement to the base of my cabinets. No switch, so I'll control them at the fixture.

The wires from the basement are basically a brown wire with two wires inside (lamp cord?). The sales person said I could hook those up to a 24v DC power supply placed in the basement (this one: http://www.environmentallights.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=12715 ) and then use this cable http://www.environmentallights.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=12155 (basically a red and a white wire on one end, a connector on the other) on the other end to connect the pre-wire to the fixture.

My question is when I join the two wires should I just twist the two wires (pos-to-pos, neg-to-neg) and cover them with electical tape? Use wire caps? Do I need a junction box (hope not)? The wires would be carrying 24V DC at that point (I think).

Thanks for any insights. We have a test kit on the way. My intention is to install and connect the wires myself, and have an electrician hard wire the power supply when they are in for other work (and probably check my efforts).

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Ron Natalie

Your builder and the sales person appear to be completely ignorant of the electrical code. Any electrician who fears for his license and liability would not hook up that mess.

You should have talked to that electrician first before investing in stuff that you can't use and allowing your builder to take advantage of you.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 5:00PM
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dc_pilgrim

I have only purchased a sample light and a cord that plugs in the wall. I'll return them if they won't work.

The house I can't return. What is the problem with the wire in the wall that goes to the basement?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 5:32PM
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Ron Natalie

You can not put cordage through walls and other structure.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 6:28PM
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dc_pilgrim

I'll check tonight when I am home, but I may have misspoke when I said cord. My guess is that the wire is rated for inwall use, but I believe the name of the wire is typically written on the wire I'll check and post back.

I kind of suspected it was odd that a junction box wasn't spec'd by the sales person. There are fixtures that you can terminate inside the fixture, but either the price point or the features weren't exactly what I was looking for. Would something like this low profile box (the seagull splicer ) that I found in reading on the web be potentially appropriate? Its low profile and could be surface mounted under my cabinet without looking bad or making me locate a larger box inside the cabinet.

http://www.lightingdirect.com/sea-gull-lighting-9459-ambiance-lx-miniature-compartment-splicer/p283429

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 10:23AM
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brickeyee

The problem with remote power for LV lighting is the requirement to use "approved methods" for concealed wiring (like anything in the structure).

This leads to the use of relatively large cables, since the most common methods use nothing smaller than #14 wire.

There are some allowances for LV wiring, but it is VERY power limited (like thermostats and doorbells).
High power LV lighting (like that needed for LV lighting) is NOT low power.

It is actually easier in many cases to use multiple small power supplies to drive LV lights.
This allows the concealed wiring to be 120 VAC wiring (and there are multiple type allowed) while the LV wiring is NOT concealed in the structure (it is often on the bottom of the cabinets).
This also greatly reduces the voltage drop in the LV wiring.
It is a real issue when even a 10 W lights is puling 0.83 amps @ 12 V, and a 20 W is 1.7 amps.
The low voltage also makes even minor drops have a large affect on brightness and color.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 1:40PM
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dc_pilgrim

Thank you for the more expansive comment. The LED's are relatively low wattage, but the point remains the same. I pulled the wire in the basement and read the side of it. It was the "Coleman" brand, and it said #12. There were a few other characters that I couldn't read so well (tiny letters embossed on a black or brown wire), but my guess is it further designated the wire (presumably for in wall use, but when the junk is out of the way it would be better to know before install).

I know there are some products where a small power supply is an option, but it may move to a price point I don't want or loss of features.

I appreciate the input.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 8:24PM
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dc_pilgrim

Err, when the junk is out of the way I'll be able to reach it better and read it more closely.

I sent this link to the vendor to see what their thoughts are.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 8:37PM
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brickeyee

"(tiny letters embossed on a black or brown wire)"

Sounds very much like cordage, and it is NOT allowed concealed in a structure as permanent wiring.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 9:50AM
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saltcedar

Quick Google search reveals it's direct burial landscape LV wire.

Here is a link that might be useful: Coleman Cable 55269 Low Voltage Underground Lighting Cable

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 10:20AM
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saltcedar

Corrected link.

Says nothing about in-wall use but implies it's for all types of
low voltage installations.

Here is a link that might be useful: Click for larger image and other views Share your own related images Coleman Cable 55269 Low Voltage Underground Lighting Cable

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 10:34AM
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dc_pilgrim

Looks like I need to move some junk and get the ladder out to figure out precisely what it is, although the link looks about right.

Rembering the call with the sales person she was interested in the length of the run (its directly below the kitchen). Not sure if the concern was voltage loss or related to in wall use.

Its looking less straight forward. I appreciate the feedback.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 11:24AM
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brickeyee

If it IS LV landscape wiring it is NOT an approved method for concealed LV wiring in structures.

You could use it on the bottom of the cabinets, but NOT in the walls.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 2:55PM
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