How to make junction for under-cabinet dedicated lighting circuit?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Artie, Oct 3, 2010.

  1. Artie

    Artie New Member

    Nov 6, 2009
    Jacksonville, Fl
    Hi all. I've run a dedicated 15A line for our under-cabinet kitchen lighting. Now it occurs to me that I'm not sure how to bring the wire out. A standard junction box won't hider under the cabinet. I'm fairly sure I need some sort of junction box, right? How do you all handle this?

    This will come out to central location, then go sideways to all the under-cab lighting.
  2. chefwong

    chefwong Member

    Jun 14, 2006
    District of Columbia
    Do homerums back.
    Locate the J box in your lazy susan ?
    Or behind the fridge .

    What type of undercab are you running.
    Hi or Low Voltage.
    If running LV, I would run 10 AWG just to minimize voltage drop off....
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  4. Artie

    Artie New Member

    Nov 6, 2009
    Jacksonville, Fl
    Hey Chef; I'm not sure what you mean by "homeruns", but I plan on doing a 2-stage lighting scheme. Stage 1 will be an LED array for the purpose of accent/night lighting, which can be left on for long periods. (Perhaps, overnight.) Stage 2 will be halogens, with a separate switch, for actual food prep and similar. I want the halogens to be intermittent duty due to the heat they produce. (Not good in Florida.)
    The LED array will be custom built by me. The halogens will be purchased puck-type.

    That plan isn't written in stone, but its the idea now.

    Unfortunately, the 'fridge is on a far wall, and there's no lazy susan either. :(
  5. drick

    drick In the Trades

    May 16, 2008
    You are putting the cart before the horse. Not all halogen under cabs install the same way. MOST of the 120V halogens can be directly wired and you can use the fixture as your jbox. The drawback being some of these units can't be linked and to hide the wire coming out of the wall you are sort of forced to mount the lights back toward the wall instead of out at the front edge of the cabinet. (It actually looks ok this way, but some folks have a problem with it.) If the fixtures can't be linked you now have to run romex between the fixtures. If your cabinets are continuous you can run the romex up inside the wall, then out and across the top of them and back down again. (You need to have a top molding on the cabinets so that no one will see the wire.) If they are not continuous you will have to run the romex down into the basement or up into the attic and then back down to the next set of cabinets. If you have low voltage non linkable halogens you will have a similar problem, except you will also need to hide the transformer someplace. Some 120 halogen under cabs come with a thin jbox that can be mounted under the cabinet. The lights aren't direct wire, but instead you use the manufacturers short pigtails to link the fixtures together and to the jbox. The advantage of these units is you can keep the fixtures out at the front edge without a problem. Personally I don't like the pigtails between linked fixtures because if you are sitting anywhere lower than the lights you can look up and see them. You can probably figure out a way to hide these, but I'd think that through before buying this type of fixture.

    As for assembling your own led light sets, thats an ambitious project. I'm afraid I can't help you there. Good luck.

    EDIT: Ok, I reread your second post about using puck lights. The type of light they provide is more like 'pools' of light then task lighting unless you mount them close together. I'd recommend larger fixtures if your goal is countertop task lighting. Also the wiring they are included with is not in-wall rated so you are going to have to figure out how to hide the wire. Also puck lights are not direct wire. They are ment to be plugged in someplace.

    Last edited: Oct 3, 2010
  6. Artie

    Artie New Member

    Nov 6, 2009
    Jacksonville, Fl
    Thanks Rick. Good info. I'll be sure to research the exact style of the lights I use. I may use those little fluorescents instead. As for the LED's, I'm an electronic tech by trade, so no problem there. I'd just use those overall, but I've read that they don't light food naturally. That is, food doesn't look "right" under them.
  7. fullysprinklered

    fullysprinklered In the Trades

    Jun 15, 2014
    self-employed plumber-electrician doing residentia
    I'm tapping in to a really old one here, but good information is timeless (if it really is good information)
    I've been using the 3/4in thick wiremold box as a junction box for ucl. Only children and dogs will ever see it. When necessary, I attach the transformer under the cabinet nearby. I use a stapler with the hump in the staples to gather up and attach the wires.
    One thing to consider is the reflectivity of the countertop material. The shiny, jet black granite is so reflective that when you turn on the ucl, you can see every bit of your work reflected in the countertop, wires and everything. Use a dark color blank for your coverplate on the j-box.
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