Lone 14/2 into...

ImNoBobVilaMay 29, 2013

Hello, I scored a clearance deal on four, plug-in, LED under cabinet lights at Lowes and would like to have an outlet for them wired to a switch.

I came across this lone, live wire above the built in microwave. This is an older home (late 70's/early 80's) and some of the tacked on wiring looks half-assed. The bright yellow wire is into the duplex receptacle box for the microwave.

Anyways, I would like to have a duplex outlet in the cupboard that I can plug two of the LED under cabinet lights into (they're linkable so I only need to plug in one on each side of the oven). A switch added to the current location would be nice, but if it would be much easier to place a occupancy type automatic switch near the oven, I'm fine with that too.

I'm completely new to this so any ideas and suggestions (instructions) are welcome, I'm all ears!

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Sorry for the hard to read writing on the 1st pic, I guess I shrunk it a little too much. The wire is above the microwave, where the red writing is...

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 5:12AM
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Ron Natalie

Get an electrician. That gob of electrical tape is illegal and unsafe. Connections need to be made in boxes.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 5:53AM
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I don't need an electrician.

I realize the capped and electrical taped wire (not my work) may not be up to code AND that the yellow wire would be better off in a metal conduit BUT realize that there is a piece of wood I removed exposing the vent hood and open wire area...so consider the area not much different than an attic/basement type area in dealing with code.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 6:35AM
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So it is established that it will be done however the person wishes, regardless of code conventions. So, don't ask questions, just do your thing.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 7:08AM
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Basement or attic, splices still need to be made in junction boxes. That yellow cable seems to be doing something behind the splice. The blue arrow at the bottom of your picture. Maybe you could post a couple of more pictures from different angles.

Off topic but despite its name, duct tape, isn't used for ducts.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 7:13AM
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It isn't clear to me what is connected to what. Is the yellow romex connected to the beige romex? Where do those wires by the blue arrow come from?

I guess the question is: Can you tap into the microwave circuit to power your under the cabinet lights? (possibly switched)

Is that the question?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 7:33PM
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".so consider the area not much different than an attic/basement type area in dealing with code. "

There are no permissions in the NEC for antic or basement wring not to have junctions not in proper junction boxes.

No one here is going to provides advice to violate the NEC.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 8:01PM
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I would guess those wires by the blue arrow are from the yellow romex and feed the receptacle. If that's the case, the sheathing has been stripped waaay too far and it should be re-done.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 8:22PM
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Gentlemen, thanks for the very warm welcome :-)


I just got into this (my first) house last fall. I'll bring it to code as I'm wiring the LED under cabs. Would placing the yellow romex in a conduit with the proper clamp going into the duplex box be to code? Would placing the taped wire in a junction box on the other side of the cabinet (left of the duct) be proper? How do I fix the duct work properly?

Any suggestions on how-to-wire the plug-in LED under cabs? I have full attic access and would really like to have a switch with the other at their current location to the right of the refrigerator- how would I do this?

Thanks again for any helpful advice.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 8:52PM
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Nobody said you did the work but understand the folks here are pretty serious about electrical safety. We don't want anyone's house to burn down or for anyone to get hurt. Plenty of professionals who will help you, but you need to be willing to listen. There's a book called Wiring Simplified that's a great resource and available at Home Depot for about $7. Buy a copy and read it.

You need to post more pictures, as I said, from different angles and/or move some of the cables.

I'd suspect the white cable served a range hood. From there, who knows what happened. I'm wondering if that splice isn't three cables. The white one supplying the power, the yellow going up through the top of the cabinet (to who knows where), and one going back to the receptacle box.

Replace the duct tape with foil tape. I also wonder about using that flexible duct for a cooking vent. Maybe it's ok, I'm just not sure.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 9:47PM
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Thanks for the reply Mike.

I crawled all around in the attic about a month ago (I plan on doing recessed and tearing out the soffit while doing the cabinet doors), and the yellow wire is ran straight from the breaker in the garage (in the wall the box is on, following other wires, all the way across the attic down into the soffit, into that cabinet). I'll map out the white wire and get some pics tomorrow.

I actually have the "Black & Decker Complete Guide to Wiring" ebook that I've skimmed through...and I'm heading to the library to grab some others.

I've already fixed a shorted hallway dimmer that took out the lights and some plugs in two bedrooms and replaced nearly all the receptacles in those rooms...should have checked the dimmer first lol. Oh well, the wiring in the receptacles looked original/shoddy with loose stab-in connector and loose wire nuts (wires were not even twisted together!).

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 10:10PM
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Is there enough slack in the yellow wire so that you can get the sheathing into the junction box (and under a proper clamp if there isn't already one)? If not, you could move the junction box up so that there is enough slack.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 8:59AM
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"loose wire nuts (wires were not even twisted together!)."

Twisting has not been required for many wire nuts for years.

the 'twist' vs. 'no twist' battle still goes on though.
'No twist' would be the absolute minimum to meet the code if the wire nuts are listed that way.

I am old school enough to twist the darn things though.
If you twist the nut until the wires going in have at least one or two twists on the insulated portion you can be pretty sure you have made a solid gas tight connection that will last through everything but heavy vibration.

This post was edited by brickeyee on Thu, May 30, 13 at 16:41

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 10:19AM
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@ Greg- yes, plenty of slack to do it properly...dang, I just forget all the clamps in my order!

@ brickeyee, yeah I've been DVR'ing all the reruns of "Home Again w/Bob Villa" and PBS's "This Old House" and "Ask This Old House" for the last few months...picked up quite a bit vs. the cookie cutter show on DIY and HGTV. The "Pros" in these shows like to twist a good 1/2-to-5/8, cut off the very tip of the twist, then cap it.

Okay guys...project just got real...lol. I had to use the 10% off at HD last night and ordered a bunch of stuff for redoing all the lights in the kitchen/family room. And what a crap job the HD pickers did at rounding the order up...clearly opened/returned items, the wrong dimmers, wire at the other HD across town...and this place is better than the Lowes nearby!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:13PM
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So this picture is the current switch layout.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 12:13AM
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All I really want to add is that if you have Romex all around your house, then conduit is not necessary. The romex is clamped to the box.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 2:19AM
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Okay, so here's the new rough layout.

As you can see, I'm reusing the original kitchen wire and switch position for the recessed LED cans and Lutron dimmer.

The 3-way will be turned back into singles, with a Leviton Decora (single pole, dual switch) for the over table fixture and matching pendant over the sink.

I would also like to use another dual switch for the undercab LED's, using the lower switch for those and having the top switch ready for above cabinet LED tape(?) light after I tear out the soffit when re-dooring/refinishing the cabinets.

The right side switch (near the garage) of the previous 3-way will again be a Lutron dimmer and recessed LEDs in the living room area.

Looking at it now, I don't know if it's worth re-ganging the right side switches just for the gimball/eyeball recessed pointing at some wall art...maybe I'll skip that for now.

Does this layout look okay?

This post was edited by ImNoBobVila on Fri, May 31, 13 at 3:25

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 3:08AM
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So here is the Leviton Decora dual switch. My concern is how to wire two fully switched duplex outlets in the cabinet for the above and under cabinet lighting?

I just wire each outlet as if it were a light fixture, correct?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 3:34AM
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