How to do low voltage in walls with XLR-6 jacks?


Old 12-29-13, 04:15 PM
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How to do low voltage in walls with XLR-6 jacks?

I have some low-voltage runs to make in the walls of my house for LED strip lights (12VDC and 24VDC). Of course, I'm having an electrician do this, but I'm designing it.

I'd like to future-proof and run Red+Green+Blue+White (data) + power + ground. I've thought about using these XLR-6 jacks in order to accomplish this.

My questions are:
  1. Do I need to worry about any code violations in doing this?
  2. What is the most inexpensive way of wiring it up (i.e., can I use Romex or is there something cheaper)?
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Old 12-29-13, 04:25 PM
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You would need to know ahead of time the load you wanted to carry thru the wire. At the very least you'd want to use #18 wiring as shown in the following link.
18-6 Stranded Shielded 18 Gauge 6 Conductor Cable 1000ft

If the load was heavy you could use 4 conductor for the data and a heavier 2 conductor for power.

I'm not sure what type of data you'd be planning on running. Many data streams require a more specialized cable.
Old 12-30-13, 12:10 AM
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Note that the following is just one example of usage. For one thing, LED strip lighting is a very new technology and there aren't any standards yet, AFAIK. For all intents and purposes, this is the design I'm running with, but if there are any other suggestions for further future-proofing, I'm all ears.

Each of my low-V runs should be 50 ft. from transformer to receptacle at most.

White strips (what I'm currently connecting to 10 runs) will be 2-channel (dimmable power and ground) @ 12VDC.

Eventually, those 10 runs may be converted to this model @ 12VDC. The controller specs state 240W @ 12VDC input and 5 channels of 12VDC @ 4A / channel output.

I'm guessing the "data" lines just vary DC voltage (or perhaps current) to convey information.

I'm thinking that accounting for 41.667W on 2 conductors for power and ground would be the way to go. The other 4 lines (RGBW) could be considered to be 48W each.

The reason I'm using 41.667W DC lines rather than 50W (which conforms to what is supplied by the UL class 2 transformer I've picked out) is because my wife told me it was recommended to account for 20% power overhead. I'm guessing that this overhead would only be necessary for AC lines, not for DC. Can anyone confirm this? (I am not an electrician but I've studied undergraduate-level Calculus-based electromagnetism in a college Physics class.)

If the 20% overhead weren't necessary on these low-V DC lines, I could just say 50W on all 6 conductors and be good to go.

And if I can count on 50W per line, I might be able to get rid of as many as 2 extra runs, which would save me some $$$.

Color strips (what I'm currently connecting to 3 runs) will be this model @ 24VDC. It's hard to say for sure but from what I can get out of the controller specs, the controller will produce 4 channels of 24VDC @ 5A / channel output.

These 24VDC lines will obviously need a different transformer. The strips are 72W / 16.4 ft. I have purchased 3 of these strips, which will need to be cut to fit the shape of the room.

My plan is to buying some XLR plugs which will connect to the receptacles. The 6-conductor cables coming out of them will be severed and the wires soldered to the light strips as necessary. If there is a better way of doing this, I'm all ears.

Again, is there anything about electrical code or XLR standards that I should be concerned about?

Last edited by acctlc; 12-30-13 at 01:20 AM.
Old 12-30-13, 12:38 AM
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I changed low v to low voltage in the title to alleviate confusion.

You haven't given us a lot of detail in the system like where and how do you plan to mount these strips.

Those look like RGB/W LED strips. That would mean you'd need a R wire, a G wire, B wire and a W wire and a common. That would be 5 wires between the light strip and the controller. I'm trying to figure out where the 6 pin connectors would come into play.

Do you plan to use one controller with each RGB/W LED strip ?

The strips have an operating current and the power supply needs to be at least that operating current and I'm assuming that you are asking if the supply should be larger then the anticipated load. Yes.... a slightly larger power supply will run cooler and run longer before failure.

Have I helped you here ? If not ..... ask away.
Old 12-31-13, 07:23 AM
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I'm not sure that I can help with a lot of your questions... but one thing stuck out to me

Each of my low-V runs should be 50 ft. from transformer to receptacle at most.
50' is a long run at 12v. Voltage drop increases significantly as the voltage decreases. Using 18ga wire for 50w @ 12v (4A) will provide only 9v at the LED strips.

So I would recommend figuring out how to put the transformers much closer to the strips or use much heavier wire.

As for the XLR connectors, I'd personally stay away from them. They will add an additional potential failure point in your system. I would rather solder, wire nut, or crimp the connectors at each strip. At some point in the future that they need to be replaced or swapped out, just disconnect and reconnect. But that's just my opinion on the subject.

Good luck, I'm interested to see how this all turns out!

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