3 posts in this topic

The LV lighting is something I have been wanting to do, I'd install it myself, generally do everything except gas. I do NOT mess with gas....

I haven't had the time to research any styles, kits, etc for the LV. Was thinking about buying the 12v converter and mounting it in the basement rafters and running the line directly above to the kitchen.

Can you point me toward some decent kits?

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Sure, It all depends on what you want to light. Once you determine what you want to light...

Then you do a wattage calculation on the fixtures.

Next you choose a transformer to do the job.


Undercabinet lighting....

5 watt bulbs spaced every 2 inches, over 5 feet.

5' = 60"...60"/2" = 30 fixtures

30 fixtures x 5 watts each = 150 total watts.

This means you need, at least, a 150 watt transformer. You would be wise to buy a 300 watt transformer to do the job. Probably spend $40 more for it, but the peace of mind, and the ability to change them to 10 watt bulbs makes it worth it. If you choose to place a dimmer on the Secondary or LV side of your transformer, it'll need to a dimmer designed to do so. They cost about 100 smackers....so watch out for that.

This is just an example to show the math. Most kitchens are wired with 600w transformers, with 300w on each leg. gives you a little wiggle room, and keeps the Secondary runs as short as possible.

The main thing is to keep the run of wire from the transformer to the lights as short as possible, to prevent voltage drop. If you have a drop in voltage towards the end of your run, the lights there will be noticeably more dim than the ones before it.

Using 12 or 10 gauge wire from the transformer to the fixtures is required to help carry your 12v further.

Other LV fixtures have small electronic or iron core transformers in the fixtures themselves. These are the easiest to deal with, and are more common to LV Pendants, and LV Recessed cans. These types you just wire as per usual light fixtures, with a few extra things to consider, but pretty easy overall. If your out shopping for these at a supply house, you want a "low voltage fixture, that takes LINE VOLTAGE (120v)". They can be dimmed with a standard incandescent dimmer.

For undercabinet lighting, I like Seagull. Easy to install, and easy to get.

Transformers, i don't have a specific brand, most supply houses sell a "stock transformer" which will do just fine. They eventually need to be replaced. So you'll want them to be reasonably accessible, when you install them.

For Recessed fixtures, i like the 4" MR16 size fixture from CONTRAST lighting. They have a swivel eye that is flush to the ceiling, so it doesn't stick way down from the ceiling plane. They are a little more hard to find, but do your diligence, and you'll find a place that offers them at a good price.

The best advice is to research, and plan. if your looking to do a recessed lighting layout, be mindful of the spread at different elevations. For example, one light may have a 30" spread at 6' away from the fixture....which would be countertop height, if you have 9' ceilings......if you have 12' ceilings, it's much larger, and not as bright......

Lastly, i always Run anything over 300w to the panel. I also always have an electrician friend of mine connect it to the panel, and check over my work, before i call it for an inspection.

Hope this helps, I'm a Carpenter by trade though, and not an electrician. So please check into this stuff thoroughly before you start!

Wow, i really need fall to get here. in a baaaad way.:clock:

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Thanks for the info Chris!

I'll also be doing a layout in my basement work area, straight 12v photovoltaic for that one.

I don't have the cab space for recessed, just the little lip at the bottom exterior. I had also thought about halo but don't like the heat, even from a 20w. I can actually get away with a 50w photo setup in the kitchen, as long as no one leaves it on all day! DOHHH!

But it's a great way to teach a family about conservation.

You used up all the lights? Oh well, guess you have to use less tomorrow, OR...

Hmmm, maybe next time you'll remember to turn off the lights huh?

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