undercabinet led lights wiring question

blaster1492May 4, 2014

Hi all,
Trying to figure out my undercabinet lighting and having a technical issue...hoping someone might be able to help!

My wife and I want led rope lights (http://www.amazon.com/LEDwholesalers-Flexible-300xSMD2835-Adhesive-2026WW-31K/dp/B002QQ48TK/ref=cm_cd_ql_qh_dp_t) to be run under the cabinets and wired directly to a dimmer switch. However, this is DC power, so usually it is run through an AC-DC transformer and then PLUGGED into a normal wall switch. We don't want a wire and a plug to be there all the time. To be honest I didn't even think this would be an issue since I just assumed most people ran the electrical that way.

Does anyone have any solutions so I can direct-wire these types of lights to a wall dimmer switch? Is there some other type of transformer that converts DC to AC without necessitating a plug?

Thanks so much for your help!

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Wish I could help, I am hopeless in these areas but I can tell you it can be done. Our electrician is presently installing the undercabinet LED's and it seems there are several different types of these lighting systems. There was a lot of back and forth with the electrical supply store until we had all the correct switches and connecting wires. We eventually bought the kind with no plug, it is wired to to a dimmer switch on the wall through the transformers which are in the attic. The brand is DIODE LED if that helps; they have a great catalog that explains all the necessary parts for the different systems.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 8:07AM
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A good electrician will hook these right up, just need the transformer between the lights and the dimmer

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 8:31AM
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We ran into this as well. We ended up with plugs on top of the cabinets behind the crown molding (cabinets don't go to the top) and those plugs are controlled by wall switches with dimmers. In cabinet lights and under cabinet lights on separate switches. They gave me extra plugs up there in case I want to add up lights on top of the cabinets or lighted swags at Christmas.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 8:34AM
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robo (z6a)

I am not an electrician, so please consult one before you believe what I say. My understanding is that you can get a dimmable transformer (either plug in or direct wire) to step down the voltage. It has to be put somewhere between the switch (full voltage) and the lights (low voltage). Actually you can put it in before the switch (between your panel and the switch) and get a low voltage switch too if you want.

Mine's in my sink cabinet. You can put one in your basement or if code allows in your area, it can be in a wall cabinet. HOWEVER, to run wires in the wall you need special low voltage wire that is rated to run in the wall.

I got help from inspiredled for my project and they walked me through it. Another brand people like is environmentallights. I also had an electrician, but he wasn't super savvy on the low voltage thing so I had to research myself after he wired my kitchen with romex (full voltage wire). Which you can get adapters to use romex with low voltage lights but it's just a bit bulkier and uglier. So I got him to pull the romex and replace with specially rated in-wall low voltage wire.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 10:27AM
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If they are UL listed for plug in installation, they cannot be direct wired. You can plug the transformer into a switched outlet, and then use the lighting company's dimmer control into the transformer. The switch will control on and off, and the dimmer will control the light levels.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 10:33AM
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Not sure if my situation is different/similar from yours. I know almost next to nothing regarding electric. Plan was to hardwire lighting so pot lites could be turned on, off, and dimmed by way of a wall light switch. Ditto on ucl (but not dimmable). Electrician setup outlets tied to wall switches. When light installer was having some problems getting it to function properly off of wall light switch, I wound up calling lighting place to find out that we needed a different driver. Hth.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 2:46PM
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I don't have an answer, but I had a great experience with Environmentallights.com. Their system was a little more than some, less than others, but I LOVE the lighting!

The best part is their service. You can send them a diagram of your project and what you want to do, and they will build the system and load all the parts in a shopping cart for you. No forgotten parts! PLUS when I called with technical questions, they transferred me to one of their engineers for an answer.

If you decide to use them, definitely check to see if they are still offering 10% off if you sign up for the newsletter. You just sign up, and the coupon is sent to your email.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 10:16PM
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I'm installing Hitlights tomorrow DIY. There are lots of options, but you need to be familiar with the specs of the brand you pick, whether you want plug and play, or can do any wiring and soldering yourself. Hitlights has dimmamble direct wire, which I believe is what you are looking for, and plug-in with dimmers available. I was able to read the info on their website, watch the videos, and order what was needed. Your brand likely has similar options.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 11:00PM
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