Undercabinet Lights Hardwired?

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Old 03-09-06, 10:46 PM
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Undercabinet Lights Hardwired?

Went to my local HD and purchased some halogen undercabinet lights. The lights come with plugs and are two-wire. It's a bit unrealistic to plug in 8 of these things in the existing outlets as the wires would be unsightly.

I want to hardware these in the wall using a completely new circuit direct from the panel. Each is 120 watts and there are 8 of them. I plan to use 14-2 wires to connect everything. I would break up them into small groups and make the connections between the lights and the 14-2 that will run in the walls inside junction boxes inside the cabinets. Basically 3 lights per junction box and then 14-2 connecting them to the switch.

Are there any issues to be aware of? And what do I do with the left over ground wire to eahc junction box besides connecting it to the switch?
 
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Old 03-09-06, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by str8dwn
Are there any issues to be aware of?
You will be violating the UL Listing of the fixtures. To do this properly, you needed to buy fixtures designed for hardwiring. It can be done, but it will not be a Code-compliant installation and it will be easier to do it unsafely.
 
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Old 03-09-06, 10:53 PM
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MAC702,
I guess I am at a loss as to what to do since this is all they offered at HD for us DIY'ers. Everything had plugs.

What issues should I be concerned with when you talk about safety? Wires overheating? I am not running any of the UL wiring in the wall, just underneath the cabinets.
 
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Old 03-09-06, 11:19 PM
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I know that at Lowe's, the hardwired undercabinet lights are in a completely different section. Ask somebody at HD, I'm sure they have them. Try to get the ones that accept Romex directly into the fixture. Hopefully you didn't destroy the packaging so you can return the ones you bought.
 
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Old 03-10-06, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by str8dwn
what do I do with the left over ground wire to each junction box besides connecting it to the switch?
If you use metal boxes, the EGC always has someplace to land.
In a plastic box you fold it out of the way. (Do not snip it off. I hate it when people ruin a perfectly good wire just because they didn't know what to do with it.)
 
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Old 03-10-06, 04:25 AM
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I just recently installed the undercabinet lights I mentioned from Lowe's. You could either mount it to a box and just run the individual wires in there, or you could run Romex NM 12-2 straight into the fixture, and it had quick connects for the hot, neutral, and ground. Space was really tight inside the fixture I used. Getting it back together was a pain after I got my wires in there. Ask the people in lighting for some lights that you can wire together in series.
 
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Old 03-10-06, 05:55 AM
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I don't recommend that you attempt to modify hardwired lights that are not meant to be modified. Instead, I suggest that you purchase lights that are designed to be hardwired. You might also find some that are designed to be interconnected.

You may have to visit a lighting store or an electrical supply store, but such lights do exist.
 
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Old 03-11-06, 09:04 PM
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Thanks all for your help!

I spoke with an engineer at UL on Friday and he kindly explained their position on the code for 'portable' lights like the ones I bought. He explained that to be considered a permanent light fixture like the ones you guys suggested, the wire would need to be larger (or accept larger) and any plastic of higher quality. What I neglected to mention to you guys was the lights have already been installed and wires cut to length to fit my install (work great by the way). However, I plan to replace the covers of the boxes with 4-gang outlets and place plugs on the ends of the wires to meet code and pass any future home inspections.

What just makes me so mad is why they even offer these. No one I know considers these 'portable' and would want a bunch of wires hanging down from the cabinets. They get 5 screws into the underside of the cabinet. That doesn't seem so portable to me. I mean these things come in boxes of 3 or 5. Can you imagine what putting 5 of these lights in your kitchen would look like plugged into all the outlets?

I went back again to HD today for other things and still did not see any other lights besides a few plug together kind like Timinindy suggested and some florescent (yuck) ones. It's too late to return the ones I bought, but am trying to see what HD will do for me as the guy I spoke with said these would be fine for what I planned to do.
 
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Old 03-12-06, 06:47 AM
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Good luck at Home Depot. I don't think you will get very far. The employees give out wrong advice all the time and even continue to do so when it is pointed out why the advice is wrong. Home depot runs on sales and profit.
 
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Old 03-12-06, 07:45 AM
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Wink

HOW can that be? their trained in all departments.
 
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Old 03-12-06, 09:31 AM
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Don't paint all Home Depot associates with the same brush. Some are quite knowledgeable and some are quite ill-informed. You should treat advice from the associates with the same filter you treat advice from your brother-in-law.
 
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Old 03-12-06, 11:38 AM
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AGREED, And NO OFFENCE was intended, Self research and inqueries are the best route!
As we Know many roads can lead to the same destination, As long as we get there safely and
properly, it was a good journey!
 
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Old 03-12-06, 04:21 PM
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Well the project is done along with a new sink and new butcher block countertops from Ikea. Tiled backsplash is next. The lights like I said work fine, but will brin gthe connections up to code for sure. Next time I know to come here and ask first.

Image of finished lights and world's largest sink faucet
 
 

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