My kitchen has a light switch by the sink which operates a pendant light above the sink. I am making a DIY replacement light using a 12 V LED strip and a 4 ft. wooden dowel to be suspended horizontally above the sink.

Something like this:

DIY Light

The length of LED strip I will be using should draw ~11 watts. The hanging light is too narrow to contain the LED driver (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MSBK9GV/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_rvVQEbWE4CNW6) itself, and I understand it's a bad idea to cram the LED driver in the ceiling junction box for heat concerns and accessibility.

I am wondering if I can simply extend the existing wiring from the switch to reach the cabinet below the sink, where I can splice in and mount the LED driver on the back wall of the cabinet with more breathing room and accessibility. Can I leave the rest of the wiring untouched? Is it a concern to have 12 V running the rest of the way (probably about 10 feet) to the ceiling box on the existing wiring?

I don't particularly care if it's precisely up to code as long as it is safe, and I know those aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. But I also know I probably don't know enough about this stuff to recognize everything that may be unsafe about it. I suppose a 2 or 3 amp fuse between the driver and light would be a good idea? Should the LED driver be in a junction box since its 120 V coming in? Would that defeat the purpose of having it in a more ventilated area?

Is this a bad idea, or can I make it work safely with enough precautions?

  • For a one-off, DIY design, I'd feel much more comfortable using a 12V driver pack that has a standard plug on the end to plug into a regular 120V receptacle. That avoids a whole host of problems - safety, code, ease of repair/replacement, etc. Apr 30 '20 at 16:40
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    You don’t care if it is up to code as long as it is safe. Safety is what the code is all about, the practical safeguarding of people and property (the first sentence from the introduction to the code NEC reference 90.1.
    – Ed Beal
    Apr 30 '20 at 16:49
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    The "code=Safety" thing is so reliable that my general rule is that I will advise you to follow Code unless I think Code is stupid, and then I'll say why. Apr 30 '20 at 17:38
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    I guess that’s the thing there really is not a standard way for many things, my apprentices find different ways to do things all the time that do not violate code. I tell them they can do it however, I suggest a method that is the easiest to me, if they meet code I don’t care for the most part unless there is a reason. For example heavy industrial we use stranded wire and ridged metal conduit. Solid wire and EMT are legal but won’t last, EMT falls apart because of vibrations solid wire breaks at the strip point , so although some are used to solid wire we do not use it or EMT in most areas.
    – Ed Beal
    Apr 30 '20 at 17:43
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    Where is the supply source for the switch? I.E. what is the box before the switch, and does anything else happen in the switch? I ask because it may be better to place the switch itself on the low-voltage side. Apr 30 '20 at 18:52

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