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I’m surprised this wasn’t easier to find by 2023, so I’ll ask here to hopefully put a good answer on record.

I’m remodeling a small, two parallel wall, galley style kitchen. With respect to under cabinet (wall cabinets only) what electrical should I rough in?

We do not have the lights yet, but assuming a dimmable hard wired LED of some type under each of the four wall cabinets (two on each wall).

Considering advice to only run one cable per fixture location, I was going to place a box w/cover behind the refrigerator for those two cabinets, then, a box w/cover under the sink cabinet to catch those two wall cabinets.

Should I run 14-2 for 120v to each light location or plan to only run low voltage (12v or 24v) to each location?

If all four locations are being controlled by one in wall dimmer, I’m assuming I would only have one transformer. The standard 14-2 120v to each light location doesn’t seem correct to me?

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  • I imagine you meant behind the fridge and not behind the wall. Junction boxes must be accessible without tools/damage to walls. The wiring will depend on how it is connected together. If one transformer for all four locations, then only need 14/2 to the transformer. Transformer wiring to the lights will probably be smaller.
    – crip659
    May 27, 2023 at 20:34
  • Yes, correct, a junction box easily accessible located behind the refrigerator. I made the edit in my post, thanks for pointing that out, I don’t want to cause confusion.
    – Richard
    May 27, 2023 at 22:42

3 Answers 3

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"The standard 14-2 120v to each light location" is for 15A 120V lighting circuits and devices. For which it is, of course, correct.

If arranged correctly, you could run the 15A 120V circuit first to the intended control location, and run the 14-2 from there to the light locations, and then the same cables could be connected as 120V or as LV from that control/switch/dimmer location to the end light locations, depending on the lighting actually installed, without limiting the wiring to ONLY being suitable for low-voltage.

No need to rip the walls open if you decided to change to line voltage fixtures in the future.

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  • that’s a really great point. The only issue I “could” run into would be some sort of low voltage connector at each light that I would have to get to work with the 14-2, but that should be minor at worst case.
    – Richard
    May 27, 2023 at 22:52
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    Just use a wire-nut or other wire connector (Wago, etc) to get to a size your LV connectors like. You'll still need to keep LV & HV separated properly (with a listed barrier) at the control box when wiring as LV.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 27, 2023 at 22:54
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For my under cabinet lighting I simply installed outlets horizontally just below where the cabinets would be, they are barely noticeable. Then connected them all to a switch. This offers a lot of flexibility going forward. My under cabinet lights are 120v, but in the future if I wanted to go 24volts, all I'd have to do is unplug the 120v fixtures and plug in the transformer. The transformer could be mounted in some way (say zip strips) to the underside of the cabinet and simply plugged into the existing outlets. This approach offers, IMHO, a lot of future proofing.

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  • For LV LED I'm considering a variant - putting outlets just ABOVE the cabinets (even less visible), then running LV wire down between/behind cabs.
    – jbbenni
    Sep 12, 2023 at 22:59
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BTDT. It really depends what kind of LED lighting you're gonna use. In my situation, I used 12V light strips. I ran 120V through a (smart) switch on the wall to a low profile junction box on the top of the nearest cabinet, and connected my high-wattage 12V LED driver to the 120V in the JB. Then I ran the 12V wires up in the ceiling as needed to reach the other cabinets, coming out of the wall and down behind the cabinet runs.

YMMV if you want to use 120V lighting.

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    What does YMMV and BTDT mean?
    – Richard
    May 28, 2023 at 16:17
  • @Richard Your Mileage May Vary and Been There, Done That.
    – Huesmann
    May 29, 2023 at 12:51

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