Dimmed Receptacle

Old 03-25-04, 06:58 PM
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Question Dimmed Receptacle

Hi everyone.

I am helping my friend finish his basement and am doing all the electrical work. I have been following this forum for several weeks and would like to say "thanks" for all of my questions that have been answered via other user's posts.

However, I now have one of my own that I haven't seen asked:

We are installing a bar with a drywalled header that we want to have downward facing accent lights. I had planned on using under cabinet "puck" lights plugged in to a receptacle. Now my friend has determined that the available dimmer for these kits is unacceptable in that it only provides 3 levels of dimming (HI-LOW-OFF).

Can I place a dimmer switch on a recepacle so that it will provide full-range dimming?

Any better solutions?

Thanks in advance.
Old 03-25-04, 09:39 PM
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I'm not 100% sure, but I think the NEC prohibits the use of a dimmer on a receptacle outlet. Even if it is not expressly forbidden by the NEC, it is bad practice to install a dimmer on a receptacle outlet. Even though you plan on using it strictly for the undercabinet lights, someone might inadvertently plug something besides lighting into this receptacle. That would quite possibly result in damaging whatever was plugged in.

Furthermore, if the lights you are using have an AC adapter, aka wall-wort, transformer, your plan will not work. The AC adapter needs a steady 120 volt input from the receptacle and it reduces the power to a usable voltage for the lights. A typical dimmer works by rapidly switching the power on and off and would probably ruin the AC adapter. It's the same principle as trying to use a ceiling fan with a dimmer switch.

My suggestion is to install standard incandescent recessed lights into the soffit above the bar. Wire them directly to a dimmer switch and you are good to go.
Old 03-26-04, 05:35 AM
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You cannot install a dimmer for a receptacle, as the light pluged in, is not permanant. NEC 404.14(E)
Old 03-26-04, 06:05 PM
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Thanks...but about those recessed lights

Thanks for the replies...I figured that there was a reason that I've never seen a dimmed receptacle.

Do they make small recessed cans? I wanted to use the under cabinet lights because A) I don't think that I'll have room for standard recessed and B) we need minimal accent lighting

I haven't seen anything smaller than 4"

Thanks again!
Old 03-27-04, 01:41 AM
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I've never seen a dimmed receptacle
In due time, young grasshopper
Old 03-27-04, 06:34 AM
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what if the receptacle is a single outlet for only one purpose, placed in the upper cabinet. The puck light you get from home depot are the line voltage type which are dimmable.
Old 03-27-04, 02:29 PM
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Why don't you install hardwired low voltage pucks? You could put the dimmer on the input side, 120v, and have dimmable pucks.

Any wiring in the wall would need to be a method reconized in Chapter 3 of the NEC. You CANNOT install the LV cables in the wall.
Old 03-27-04, 02:52 PM
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Originally posted by lagunavolts
what if the receptacle is a single outlet for only one purpose, placed in the upper cabinet.
No. Never.

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