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When I moved into my home, there was an ancient under-cabinet fluorescent light fixture over the kitchen sink, which I promptly removed. The fixture was just mounted to the cabinet, no electrical box, as you can see in the photo. (Based on what I've seen elsewhere in the house, I assume there is armored cable on the other side of that hole.)

I'd like to install new LED under-cabinet lights using this circuit. Given proximity to the sink, do I need to install a GFCI outlet here, and plug in to that, or is there safe, code-friendly way to hard-wire the new fixture using only an under-cabinet junction box and raceway conduit?

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  • Since it is the kitchen, Is it on a circuit that may already have/be a GFCI? – Alaska Man Dec 29 '20 at 21:59
  • All the GFCI is at the outlet level, I'm afraid. I suppose I could upgrade the breaker, though. – Chris S. Dec 29 '20 at 22:08
  • Will you be putting a fixture at the location these wires emerge from the wall at? – ThreePhaseEel Dec 29 '20 at 22:35
  • I haven't purchased a specfiic fixture or system, yet, but that will be one of the locations. I basically want to illuminate an L-shape of counter space that originates at the sink, maybe 8 feet in total. – Chris S. Dec 29 '20 at 23:07
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    Why would you put a GFCI on a lighting circuit? GFCI’s not required there or in bathrooms. The wiring is likely nmb and no box is required on most fluorescent fixtures. the wiring can come into the fixture via a clamp and wire nuts for the power to ballast and be code compliant. Since no ground the install was probably pre 70’s . Code currently requires the sheath to enter the fixture / clamp 1/4” there may be more wire in the hole but a box is not needed when there is an enclosed wire space in the fixture. Led retro fit lamps are how I upgrade fixtures ballast bypass is my recommendation. – Ed Beal Dec 31 '20 at 4:25
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Led lighting typically requires a transformer or power supply. The power supply is plugged in or hardwired somewhere that is hidden like under the sink or on top of the cabinets. Low voltage wire 18/2 is then typically run from this location to each location that requires led lighting.

You could use your armored cable to carry low voltage if you know where the cable ends and can disconnect it from the actual junction box. At that junction box you could then hookup the power supply and splice the low voltage output onto the armored cable to supply the led fixture under the cabinet.

I don't think there are any gfci requirements for low voltage lighting in proximity of a sink.

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  • Seems like it might be less invasive to just wire these conductors to a new junction box and place the power supply in or under the cabinet. I guess in part it will depend on what fixture type I go for. The low voltage angle is a plus though, I was not aware of that. – Chris S. Dec 29 '20 at 23:09

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