Led Strip Light

bendaredundatNovember 30, 2010

Is what I did safe and appropriate?

I installed an LED strip light above a counter, below a cabinet. On the wall behind the counter is a two gang switch for an overhead light and for a garbage disposer. About 3 feet horizontal distance from that is a one gang box holding an outlet.

I bored a hole into the tile covered wall behind the counter and snaked a short length of NM cable from beneath the cabinet to the two gang box with the two switches in it. There is a three conductor cable coming from the disposer with a white, black and red wire it. The white is neutral, the black is hot, and the red carries switched power back to the disposer; I could not find a ground in this cable. The cable to the overhead light has a black wire for switched power, a white connected to the white of the disposer cable, and a clipped off bare ground wire. The switch to the light gets its power from the disposer hot wire.

The LED light requires a ground - but there's no ground in the box that I could find. I fished a bare 12 gauge ground wire from the outlet 3 feet away and used that to ground the LED light. The disposer and this outlet are on *different* circuits. Everything works, and I verified that the LED light is grounded by verifying 125 volts from a hot wire to the LED light metal case.

What's bugging me is the bare ground wire I fished through the wall. Is this setup OK???

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Ron Natalie

It should bug you, it's illegal. There's no provision for booting a ground off a different circuit. Further, I'd be very concerned about the ungrounded disposer. I've never seen one that didn't require a ground.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 10:33AM
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The disposer itself plugs into a switched outlet under the sink. The outlet itself is grounded. A ground wire just does not run up to the switch for the disposer outlet.

So you are saying that the only proper way to provide a ground is from the same circuit? Which, I guess, means I'd need to fish a wire from the outlet under the sink. Could I just fish a bare copper wire from there?

As an aside, what is the safety issue with using a ground from another circuit?

Thanks for all ideas and replies.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 10:46AM
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Ron Natalie

I'd run a new piece of 12-2 up from the disposer receptacle to the switch box. Technically unless you're extending the circuit for a receptacle there's no provision for cobbling up an non-existent ground.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 11:18AM
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This answer makes sense; but there's at least one stud in the way that would make this difficult, I think. But I could cut a hole in the back of the wall in the under sink area so that I could drill appropriate holes in studs, so I could make this solution work.

Would this other alternative work? The cable coming from the under sink outlet to the disposer switch is of 12 gauge wires, red, black, white and no ground. Do they make a similar cable with a ground? Could I tie on to the old cable and use it to pull a new cable containing a ground, or is the old cable likely stapled in place?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 11:38AM
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Ron Natalie

They make 12-3 with ground. That's no problem. It's probably not possible to pull the new wire with the old. That usually doesn't work because the wire would be properly fastened (and snaking things through bored holes gets snagged anyway).

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 1:38PM
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Thanks for all the info and help. I'll get my saw and go to work so I can pull a new 12-2. I knew what I first did was funky, so now I'll fix it. But I admit that just the thought of working under the sink makes my back hurt, and I'm beginning to feel a crick in my neck!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 2:41PM
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