Mounting driver for LED under cabinet lighting

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Hillel, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. Hillel

    Hillel Member

    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    Hello Everyone,

    Electrical safety and code question here.

    I am planning to install LED strip lighting under my kitchen cabinets. Unfortunately, DC transformers for LEDs do not seem to come small enough to fit in a standard gang box. The trick is where to hide it in the cabinets. I have a damp area MEANWELL UL Component Waterproof 60 Watt LED Power Supply

    -60 LED driver with wires for the high and low voltage sides.

    Does anyone know the electrical code (at least NEC) that would limit how such a driver is mounted?
    Does it have to been in a larger enclosure, or is there an allowed way to surface mount the enclosure inside a cabinet and connect the wires with Romex® coming out of the wall?

    Thanks.
    ---Hillel
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2014
  2. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,353
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    That looks like a switching power supply.

    This forum may not be a good place place to ask for your local code requirements.

    Just make sure that you fuse it, looks like it may have one built in.

    It says water proof, that is a bit of BS, Unless it is in a epoxy resin, or similar.

    It is best to check with your local code, and they may not even be able to answer.

    A metal Bud box would be safe, for when it smokes, but may not meet code.


    Good Luck.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  3. Vegas_sparky

    Vegas_sparky Eat kitty

    Messages:
    319
    Location:
    LV,NV/ Nowhere,UT
    I avoid mounting any power supplies inside cabinets. On top of them is my preferred location. That type of PS should be mounted in a small enclosure, as without one, there's no legal way to make the class 1 wiring connections. Here's my own kitchen I finished last fall. Have fun with the lights. :)

    [​IMG]
  4. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    Location:
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    Very nice.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Location:
    New England
    As I understand it, that type of supply is similar to the ballast of a florescent light...it's listed, but it should be in an appropriate enclosure to prevent people from accidently coming into contact with the line side connection. Only if it came with a line cord and plug attached would it be considered safe to leave out in the open.
  6. Hillel

    Hillel Member

    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    Thanks to all those who chimed in so far.

    As far as waterproof goes, it is not waterproof as advertised. However, the unit is marked "For use only in dry and damp areas."

    The unit is marked as UL Recognized, not UL Listed.

    I checked the NEC. Here are a couple relevant pieces. (Sorry, but I don't have my notes on this computer to quote the exact paragraph numbers.)
    - Remotely mounted ballasts, LED drivers, and power supplies do not need to be in a separate enclosure. [Note: Transformers, which are contained inside sealed power supplies, must be enclosed. It appears from the language that the power supply assembly counts as an enclosure around the transformer.]
    - A low voltage system is compliant if the whole system is UL listed, or if the power supply, connectors, and lights are all separately UL listed parts.

    The LED power supply in the original post is UL recognized, not UL listed. It is meant for easy qualification for UL listing in a higher level assembly. That would not meet code. There is one a higher cost with screw down caps on the electrical connections that is UL listed. See here at Home Depot.

    Very nice there, Vegas_sparky. The ceiling in my kitchen is low, and cabinets go all the way to the top. The only place to mount a power supply is in a cabinet or under one.

    Does anyone know of an economical LED power supply that is UL listed and appropriate for kitchen use? For the one run I would need about 60W output at 12VDC.

    Thanks.
    ---Hillel
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2014
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,187
    Location:
    New England
    The alternative to a new supply would be an approved enclosure for the one you have. I do not have enough experience with that to suggest a suitable one.
  8. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Houston, TX
    The same company that makes that one, makes some bigger ones that make more power.

    They have a AC cord, and in are a metal housing. The price is not that much more.

    Do you have to have a 60 watt ? ,or could you use a bigger one ? I think Bigger is better, when it comes to power supplies.

    I would not pay $66 for a 5 amp 12V power supply. But it is your call.


    Good Luck.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  9. Hillel

    Hillel Member

    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    DonL,

    That 100W version looks good, but is also lacking UL listing. Here is a reason why many of these devices are UL recognized instead of listed (aside from money and effort):
    http://www.amperor.com/products/led/ul_recognized_or_ul_listed.html

    You would think that whoever wrote the NEC would have meant that components of a compliant low voltage system must all be UL recognized as components such that the final product would be qualified as UL listed if sold as a product. That is simply not what is written. If a system as a whole is not UL listed, then each component must be separately UL listed as an end product itself. If you don't comply, then your homeowner's insurance can deny any claims for a fire in the kitchen, no matter how good your wiring is. We just rebuilt our house after it burned down in a fire, so I will be a little cautious in that regard.

    Putting a UL recognized power supply into an enclosure still does not approve it according to the NEC unless the assembly is certified as UL listed.

    Thanks.
    ---Hillel
  10. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,353
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I understand your concern.

    If you only need 60 Watts of power, then you may want to look at the Mean Well GS60A12-P1J. It is 12Volt, 5Amps output.

    It claims to be UL Approved.

    http://www.meanwell.com/search/gs60/GS60-spec.pdf

    And if you use Paypal then E-Bay is a good Place to buy it. $13.00, and it includes a 120V AC line Cord.


    GS60A12.JPG


    http://www.****.com/itm/Plug-In-AC-Adapters-60W-12V-5A-MEAN-WELL-GS60A12-P1J-/231063820570 fill in the *

    If you need more than 60 Watts then you could use more than 1.


    Good Luck on your project.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
  11. JerryR

    JerryR Member

    Messages:
    251
    Location:
    Florida
    I recently installed LEDs under and over my cabinets. I used flexible strips from inspiredled.com and was very satisfied. I have tall ceilings so I ran outlet boxes on the top of the cabinets.

    It was pretty much plug n play. I sent them a diagram of my kitchen and they did all the planning. They supplied custom length strips, all connectors and power supplies.

    If you can get a 110 outlet installed in a cabinet you can plug their power supplies directly into the outlet and route the low voltage line to the lights under the cabinet.

    They have a few YouTube videos. Go to YouTube and search inspiredled

    Here is a picture I just took with my iPad. The under counter lights are intentionally brighter than the over counter lights.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  12. Vegas_sparky

    Vegas_sparky Eat kitty

    Messages:
    319
    Location:
    LV,NV/ Nowhere,UT
    The types of power supplies that Don shows work fine, but some have a slight delay when first turned on. That's not a huge problem if you only have one PS, but multiples can have timing issues, which really bugs me. Bigger is better with these power supplies and their rated output. They don't generate as much heat, and will last longer. Even a small 6x6x4 Nema1 enclosure can be mounted on the inside top of a cabinet over your switch leg, and won't really get in anyone's way. Then you just have to decide the best location/route for the class 2 wiring and/or controller.
  13. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    4,353
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Yea, they do have a soft-start to keep things from popping at start-up.

    I never really tried one at full load, 60 watt rating. But I will test one and see how it works at 5 amps. 4 amps continuous may be more like it.

    Most of the bigger ones have fan motors that make added noise. But bigger is better.

    This stuff is cheap, buy a spare, and keep your fingers crossed. Or your wife may be pissed with no lights in the kitchen, Make sure the heater in the doghouse works.


    Have fun
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  14. Hillel

    Hillel Member

    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    Thanks for the links there DonL. One gotcha with those power supplies is that you have to use the correct matching barrel connectors. Cut the wire by the end to use your own connections, and you break the safety certification of the whole package. Not a big deal, but something that people should be aware of.

    One interesting option is to look for CCTV power supplies. They come fully UL listed with caps on multiple branches with screw terminals. They generally come with a fuse or breaker built in as well. Here is an example. The only question is how well do they hold a constant voltage compared to LED drivers.

    60W is already overpowered for my application. All 5m of SMD 5050 lights would draw 60W, but I will probably use only about 45W of that.

    Thanks.
    ---Hillel
  15. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,353
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I would say no go on your example power supply, Unless you want to run separate wires to 4 locations.

    Do you want to have 4 LED strings that use 1.25 amps / 15 watts each. ? If so it will work.

    You do not cut the end off of the type I listed, you use the matching connector. Many SMD LED strings, come with the matting connector.


    Good Luck.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  16. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,353
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
  17. Hillel

    Hillel Member

    Messages:
    33
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    I am planning to run two lines from a single power supply due to a break between the cabinets. Those "channels" in the linked example are just parallel screw terminals. There does not seem to be anything limiting output to 1.25A per terminal. What I don't trust about the CCTV supply is how good it is as a constant voltage source. Cameras might tolerate more fluctuation than lights where the changes are visible as flickers.

    I know that I can put an appropriate connector on the lights. I would like to use a standard strip where I can cut it to fit, and then connect the end pads to a wire. I totally get the regulations and want to work with them. At the same time, I have to admit that a single well insulated wire joint is both more reliable and more safe than joining wires to barrel connectors, particularly in a kitchen environment. I can be patient to find the right solution.

    Thanks.
    ---Hillel
  18. Vegas_sparky

    Vegas_sparky Eat kitty

    Messages:
    319
    Location:
    LV,NV/ Nowhere,UT
    The link doesn't work for me. Can you repost?
  19. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,353
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    You have to edit the **** add the 3bay. Well you get it.

    Terry has that site blocked for some reason, Not sure why ? Terry would you care to explain ?


    Have a great day.
  20. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,553
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    To block out **** Spammers...

    Surely that is the reason.

    I like placing my LED drivers in a 4"x4" box. In the back of a cabinet with easy access.
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