Can I run 12v over 14awg romex?


Old 08-14-14, 07:33 AM
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Can I run 12v over 14awg romex?

The simple question is, can I run 12v power over 14 awg romex to power some dimmable LED lights?

Here are the details of why I want to. I'm installing led under and over-cabinet lights in my kitchen. I want to run them all off of one dimmable transformer plugged into a receptacle controlled by a Lutron dimmer switch.

My transformer is plugged into a receptacle above the main stretch of cabinets, and from the transformer I'm running several 18 awg speaker wires in parallel to power the various LED light tapes. But I've got one section of cabinets on a different wall, and no clean&easy way to run a new wire over there. It would require cutting up the walls/ceiling and I'm not going to do that.

Very fortunately, the kitchen was previosuly wired for over-cabinet lights - crappy 120v CFL fixtures tied directly to romex. So, I was able to use that 14 awg romex to tie in a new receptacle above the smaller section of cabinets. I daisy-chained the new receptacle to the primary receptacle above the main cabinets.

But this results in a new 120v power source, meaning I'd need to plug in a separate 12v dimmable transformer - all for a wopping 8-10 watts of additional lights.

Then it dawned on me this morning - instead of using that pre-existing romex to daisy chain a new receptacle, why not just use that romex to run 12v power directly from the primary transformer to the new section of lights?

I also thought about using that romex to pull a new 18 awg speaker wire through the ceiling, but I just know something would go terrible wrong. The wires would snag, separate, and I'd be left with no run at all. I'm not gonna risk it.
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Old 08-14-14, 07:56 AM
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Actually most speaker wire is not rated for in wall use so your idea of using the Romex is the code compliant way of doing it and larger gauge will reduce voltage drop. Good plan, go for it.
Old 08-15-14, 04:13 AM
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There is a catch: The romex that you use for 12v cannot stay inside the live 120v receptacle box. You can't have 12v and 120v connections in the same box.
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