Wire LED rope lights directly to power?


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Old 01-05-17, 09:04 AM
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Wire LED rope lights directly to power?

So I'm finishing my basement right now and am going to do an LED rope light around the ceiling of our theater room. They are installing a crown molding near the ceiling where I can run the rope lights. I had asked the electrician to wire two outlets near the ceiling to a switch so I could control the lights. However he said that unless the crown molding was really deep it wouldn't be enough room to plug anything in, and when he installs these in the past, he typically just leaves bare wire there and told me to just wire the rope lighting directly to the wire and tuck it into the wall, so there would be no actual outlet.

Is this normal? Most of the lights that I look at purchasing look like they need to be plugged into an outlet, so I'm not even sure which lights I would buy in this case. I'm thinking of just throwing a single gang box on the ceiling near the crown molding and running his cables through it so I can just use a regular outlet. But he made it seem like this is how he always does it.

Any ideas? Is he crazy?
 
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Old 01-05-17, 10:37 AM
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when he installs these in the past, he typically just leaves bare wire there and told me to just wire the rope lighting directly to the wire and tuck it into the wall
Multiple code violations. You can't cut the plug off if it comes with a plug and all connections must be made in a junction box that remains permanently accessible. Have you asked to see his license?
 
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Old 01-05-17, 10:45 AM
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Ha yeah he's licensed. And the wire would still be accessible. I don't think he was talking about cutting a plug off, it seems he was talking about one that was meant to be hard wired. Thats kind of what I was wondering about. But you sound like I think, that this is abnormal, and I should just use a standard outlet.

Edit: Sorry, I probably made what he told me sound less legit than it was. I think I probably misunderstood what it was he actually was planning. I don't think he plans on stuffing the bare wires back in the hole, just that he usually just direct wires the lights to the electrical circuit. I guess I was just wondering if there is some special type of rope lighting that is made for this type of configuration, or if I should insist to him that I just use an outlet. He said he would do whatever I wanted, but made it sound like it was unconventional.
 

Last edited by paqman; 01-05-17 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 01-07-17, 02:29 AM
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My brother in law did something similar in his media room. This is very similar to what he used but his was hard wired. But if he does put outlet in you could use something like that. I like the remote and color changes
https://www.wayfair.ca/ADX-16.4Ft-SM...-NWHO1003.html
 
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Old 01-07-17, 06:34 AM
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Thanks, yeah I see those all over Amazon and even at my local hardware store. I may just have to put the outlets in cause I don't think I want to bother trying to find one that can be hard wired safely.
 
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Old 01-07-17, 07:30 AM
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I would recommend LED strip lighting also rather then rope lighting. Install the driver in another accessible location and then feed the strip in the crown. The load side of the driver is low voltage so splices can be made free air with no box.
 
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Old 01-07-17, 07:43 AM
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Wow I didn't realize I was using the wrong terminology. Yes I plan on using led light strips. Lighter and better for interior use. So can you recommend a specific light strip to do what you're saying? Currently he has romex sticking out near the ceiling, hooked to a switch.
 
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Old 01-07-17, 07:47 AM
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Maybe he misunderstands what you are doing. All you need is #18 thermostat wiring going to a 12 volt driver. Romex wire can be used but not hooked to 120 volts. It would be connected to the low voltage driver's 12v (or 24v) output.
 
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Old 01-07-17, 07:56 AM
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Wow I always thought I had an ok understanding of electrical wiring (I built two bedrooms and did all the wiring to code), but you've lost me now.
 
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Old 01-07-17, 08:03 AM
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Tell us how we lost you and we will be glad to help you understand. My answer was based on typical led strip lights as linked to above. Is that what you are using?
 
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Old 01-07-17, 09:38 AM
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I have been using some LED strips from a place called InspiredLED which I like because of their fittings and brightness. Other good places are SuperbrightLED, LEDwholesalers, and of course Amazon. just make sure you select ones that are bright enough, and the right color. (3500K or less IMO)

Currently he has romex sticking out near the ceiling, hooked to a switch.
Ray already touched on this but I'll try too.

Romex is fine, just overkill. The main issue is the strip can't be connected 120 volts. You need a driver that changes 120 volts AC, to 12 volts DC. The issue that your electrician mentioned you do not have much space for the driver, or a receptacle and driver in the crown. Maybe you can find another location to install the driver and then switch it remotely? In a cabinet or where your TV equipment will be and then fish up the wall? They make lots of remote attachments that only switch/dim the DC side of the driver. The driver is fed/plugged into a constant hot.
 
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Old 01-08-17, 06:32 AM
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Ok thanks I get what you're saying.
Tell us how we lost you and we will be glad to help you understand. My answer was based on typical led strip lights as linked to above. Is that what you are using?
After some googling I think I understand. The driver is just the peice that comes with most of the strips that plugs into the outlet that converts the 120v to 12v right? I'm thinking at this stage I'm going to just have to put the outlet on the ceiling a bit set out from the crown molding and figure out a way to set the driver up in there somehow. But I will look into trying to power the driver elsewhere and running the thermostat wire up to the ceiling. Thanks!
 
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Old 01-08-17, 07:47 AM
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The driver is just the peice that comes with most of the strips that plugs into the outlet that converts the 120v to 12v right?
Yes, that is correct. Sometimes it must be bought separate.
 
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Old 01-08-17, 08:46 AM
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Ok, so I think I understand now what you all are saying, and I drew up some VERY crude MS paint diagrams to layout a couple of options to see what the possibilities are. The first pic is just a basic layout of the basement, and the red lines are where I plan on putting the light strips, along the ceiling in some crown molding. It will basically be in a U shape, and I'm not sure if I can connect one string long enough to go all the way around, so it only has to be powered in one spot, or if I need to power it at two points and meet two strips in the middle. Overall it would be about 90 feet of lights. Here is the basic layout: (i just realized the text in my diagrams is REALLY small, sorry about that.)
[ATTACH=CONFIG]75472[/ATTACH]

Now, I'm curious about the wiring possibilities. Let's say for example I use Tolyn Ironhand's recommendation of using InspireLED's, like these ones. The sell interconnect wires that allow you to extend the starting point of light strips away from the driver, but can I splice them and use thermostat wire like ray2047 was saying?

Here is what I imagine doing if I were to splice in the thermostat wire. This diagram shows the two ends spliced off one driver, but I'm still curious if I could just power the one end of the light strip:
[ATTACH=CONFIG]75474[/ATTACH]

This diagram shows using their supplied interconnect wires. Same question remains, if I can just power the whole thing from one end or if I need to split it:
[ATTACH=CONFIG]75475[/ATTACH]

Currently, he has romex run to both spots in the layout, where I have marked "start strip here", and both ends are wired to the same switch labeled "switch here". I could easily place an outlet on the back wall where I have labeled "outlet", that would be controlled by the switch, and could plug the drivers in there, and run either interconnect wires, or thermostat wire to the start of the light strips. Thanks so much for your help, I appreciate all your input.
 
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Old 01-09-17, 09:59 AM
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Ok so here's what I'm going to do, tell me if you think this works ok. Reroute the electrical lines that currently go from the switch to the ceiling, and route them down to an outlet on the back of the wall where I can plug in the drivers/transformers, what have you. Then from that same position, run some #18 wire or something similar back up to where the light strips are going to start, making sure that I have enough drivers and wire for however many light strips I'm going to run. I may have to run three separate lines, one for each of the ends of my U, and another long run of wire to the back screen wall for a small strip where I might be short.

But in short, as long as I have some wire running to where the strips will start, from a switched outlet, I should be able to wire my lights to there right? I think I have a better understand of how this is going to work. And this way I also have room to install an in line dimmer if needed, because I know I won't be able to dim them from the switch.
 
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Old 01-09-17, 11:35 AM
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run some #18 wire or something similar
If run in the wall it must be class 2 so you can't use just any wire. That is why thermostat wire was recommended. Lamp cord and speaker cable usually aren't class 2. In general your plan sounds fine.
 
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Old 01-09-17, 11:45 AM
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Thanks yes I will use thermostat wire. Thanks again for the help.
 
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Old 01-09-17, 01:35 PM
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Ok one more question. In my calculations, it seems that I am going to need about 29 meters of led strip powered to go around my room. So that would be about 5 or 6 of the typical 16.4 foot strips, wired in parallel. It looks like most of those strips need 48 watts per strip, so my math tells me I'm going to need about a 300 watt driver if I wanted to power them all off one driver. 300 watts divided by 12 volts would mean a 25 amp load correct?

OK, so if that is correct, I can decide if I want to use a few smaller wattage drivers or one big one, but the question I have is, how is this supposed to work when my switch and outlet are on a 15 amp circuit? Or even a 20 amp circuit? I always thought that LED's were supposed to be low powered, so why does it seem to me that this lighting strip is going to overburden a typical 15 amp circuit? Am I doing some math wrong?

Edit: OK maybe I am doing my math wrong. I'm using a 12v driver/adapter, but in reality my circuit puts out 120 volts. Cause I started thinking, my microwaves uses 1000 watts, so this can't be right.

So maybe my math should be 300 watts / 120 volts = 2.5 amps total load on my home circuit? May I wish I paid more attention in college.
 
 

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