12V LED In Cabinet Wiring

dellerAugust 12, 2011

I'm renovating my kitchen and am putting all LED fixtures into my kitchen.

I have two questions:

1. What wall Decora rocker switches can I use for switching 12V DC?

2. Can I use 18g lamp wire for in-cabinent LED wiring that never goes behind walls (but does go thru a floor into the bottom of the cabinets).

Any thoughts are welcome. I want to stay "in code" *and* I don't want to over spec things. Using 18g for the in-cabinet LED lights will make the runs much easier and the holes thru the floor and cabinets much smaller.

Here are the details.

Two 12V LED pendants on one 12V circuit and LED strip undercabinet lights will be three 12V circuits. All four circuits will run from a single 150W 12V transformer mounted between basement joists (in an box).

Each of these four runs will use 14-2 Romex to a standard box in the will with either a switch or a dimmer (Reign 12V to 12V PWM dimmer).

For the undercabinet lights, 14-2 will go from the switches up and out the wall thru the cabinet bottom trim. Under the cabinent I will connect the 14-2 to 18g lamp wire under cabinet that goes to the LEDs (using a 14g to 18g crimp, shrink, solder connector). The load will be at most 2amps on each of these separate runs.

For the pendants 14-2 will run up to two standard circular J-boxes to which Freejack LED canopys and connectors will connect in.

The 12V DC dimmers are set. However, I am having some problem finding wall switches for 12V DC switching. We are doing everything in the kitchen with Decora plates, so I'd like to use simple Decora rocker switches. However, all that I have found say 120VAC on them. Does anyone see a problem using those for 12V DC switching? (Logically I can't think of any good reason. I can imagine some weird reason such as maybe the switches need 120VAC micro-sparks as they close to keep the switch clean.) Does anyone have a better solution or know of 12VDC spec'ed switches that will still have the Decora rocker look?

Separately, I intend to run in-cabinet LED strips using magnetic switches in the cabinets. Since the wiring is exposed in the basement and then goes straight up into the cabinets thru the floor without ever being behind a wall, my intention was to use 18g lamp cord for those runs. As far as I have been able to figure, that still meets code, but wanted to be sure. Is it ok to run 18g 12VDC wire thru a floor into a cabinet? Again, the max load will be 2amps for those LED strips.

Eight ceiling lights will be CREE CR6's in RC6 boxes with GU-24 connectors. These are all 120VAC LED fixtures. I intend to wire them daisy chained from the wire coming from existing 3-way switches at either end of the kitchen that went to a single overhead fluorescent with 14-2. No problems there that I can tell -- simple 120VAC wiring with a total load less than was there originally.

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You may find that none of the regular AC switches are rated for DC.

DC is actually harder on switches and requires a wider and faster snap action to make sure any arc extinguishes.

In an AC switch the current goes through zero 120 times a second.

You may have to switch the AC supply going to the transformer/power supply that produces the low voltage.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 4:50PM
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