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I am replacing halogen under cabinet puck lighting to LED. The old system was hardwired right into a switch with a power source that was starting to make noise so I thought I would replace the whole system with LED lights. The switch is at the counter level (on its own breaker) and the wire runs up the back to the top of the cabinets (there is about 1 foot of space between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling).

What I have done so far is disconnect the old power driver and put an outlet there sitting on top of the cabinets in a metal box because the new LED system is plug in. However, only 3 of the new LED lights will reach that outlet, I need to get an outlet on the other side of my U shaped kitchen.

Is it as simple as daisy-chaining another outlet? I can run 12/2 from the first outlet on top of the cabinets to the other side of the kitchen.

This way I can plug in the other 3 LED's to the new outlet and the switch will control both outlets.

Would this work and are there any potential code violations?

  • Is this literally just sitting on top of the cabinets? Why not run an extension cord over to the new location? As long as you're not building this in (eg, routing through the cabinets, or behind walls), from what you described it would be okay to do this way. Similarly, you could extend the low-voltage wire that goes to the LED lights -- either with a purpose-built DC extension cord (if it'll work), or by splicing in your own extension (you can ask another question for details on how to do that safely). – gregmac Nov 24 '14 at 19:44
  • Don't feel as safe with the extension cord as it was my understanding they should only be for temporary use. I guess the dc extension could work, I'll have to look into that. – Drew Nov 24 '14 at 20:04
  • Extension cords are for temporary use, and cannot be used in place of fixed wiring. – Tester101 Nov 24 '14 at 20:45
  • @tester if run along the top of cabinets and used to plug in a standard plug, wouldn't this be considered "temporary"? I have a lamp in my living room plugged in via extension cord that had been that way since I moved in, but it is still "temporary". Not clear to me that this situation is any different.. – gregmac Nov 25 '14 at 0:10
  • @gregmac Your lamp is not a fixed part of the electrical system, it's a cord and plug attached device. While the under cabinet lighting may also be cord and plug attached, it is a fixed part of the electrical system. – Tester101 Nov 25 '14 at 10:47
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There should be no problems with extending the circuit as you suggest. Install another box where you need it, run the cable between the boxes, and hook everything up. I'd contact the local building department, and ask them if they would consider cable run on top of cabinets to be "subject to physical damage". I wouldn't think so, but not all jurisdictions are the same. If they say it is, then you'll simply have to use conduit to run the wiring between the boxes.

You'll also want to ask if they consider the cable "supported", by running it along the top of the cabinets. They may tell you that you'll still have to secure the cable/conduit with staples/clamps.

Aside from those minor possible issues mentioned, I don't see any problems with extending the circuit.

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Update - I called Home Depot and a DC extension cord will not work with this system. He said there is no way to extend this product. This leaves me with installing a second outlet which I think is still my cheapest option since I already own extra 12/2 wire.

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    Did they actually say a "DC extension cord"? if so, they have no idea what they're talking about. – Steven Nov 24 '14 at 21:39
  • @Steven: There actually is such a thing as a DC extension cord, though I doubt you'd find one at a store like Home Depot. – gregmac Nov 25 '14 at 0:19
  • Fair enough. I guess what I was getting at is that "there's no extension cord, you can't extend this" is poor advice. As your comment suggests, you can just splice on in. – Steven Nov 25 '14 at 3:06

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