Getting Ready for your under cabinet LED Kitchen Lights

Written By Harvey


May 18, 2014

If you are building a new home or planning on a renovation the most important thing you need to do is to be sure proper wiring is installed for your new LED low voltage under cabinet lights.  If you just tell your builder or electrician that you plan on under cabinet lighting there is a good chance they will run the wire planning on 120V lights such as Halogen, Xenon or fluorescent lighting.  There types of light are each powered by line voltage (120V in North America) and are usually switched on and off from a single wall switch.  Making the upgrade to low voltage LED lighting will require a different way of pre-wiring for the lights.

All of our low voltage kitchen lighting is usually powered by a single power supply called an LED Driver.  This device is what converts 120V AC line voltage to low voltage 12C DC current to power your lights.  Most standard size kitchens can power all of the  LED lights with a driver of 60 watts or less.  The size requirement is calculated by adding up the number of watts required to power the lights you choose.  We are happy to design your kitchen lighting from a kitchen plan or sketch you send us.  We want to be sure there everything will operate at peak efficiency so you will have the maximum benefit in energy efficiency.. and there is no charge for this service. ( available in Canada only)

Here is a list of a few of the most common questions we receive about pre installation requirements:

  • What size wire do I need?
    • 18 gauge thermostat wire will work with all of our lights.  It is readily available (most electricians already carry a roll on their truck)
  • How many wires do the lights need? The answer to this depends on the type light you choose.
    • Single colour lights (warm white or cool white) need a 2 wire cable
    • CCT Colour Changing Temperature (warm white to cool white in one chip) require a 3 wire cable
    • RGB (Red, Green, Blue) lights require a 4 wire cable
    • RGBW (Red, Green, Blue and either warm white or cool white) require a 5 led cable.   More about this new option will be covered in a future post.
  • Where do the wires go?
    • Each section of cabinet that will have under cabinet lighting require a 2,3,4,or 5 wire feed that is run back to the location of the LED Driver. The feed should be 54 inches off your finished floor.
  • Where do I put the driver?
    • A good location for the driver is often under the sink cabinet, inside a pantry, in the ceiling under the kitchen floor.  This can be best determined on site when planning your wiring.
  • How do I control the lights?
    • There are many options for this.  A simple wall switch that provides  the 120V power to the driver will allow for a simple on or off.  Your new lights can also be controlled with 12V dimmers, key fob remotes, Wi-Fi off your smartphone or tablet of with a Bluetooth controller. We also carry several controllers that will allow you to create different zones for your lights so you can choose whatever lighting effect meets the occasion. Want your lights to “dance” with the music?  We can do that to.

This may all seem like a lot to consider for your lighting but is really is easy and will allow you to get the most enjoyment out of LED lights that will be with you for a very long time.  We are glad to assist and invite you to contact us with any questions and assistance you require.  LED Lights…it is all we do.


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