Under my kitchen cabinets I currently have 120 volt AC florescent lighting. I want to replace these lights with brighter LED strip lighting, which typically is run using 24v DC current.

The lights currently are turned on using a central single-pole switch. I want to keep the single switch where it is and I don't need a dimmer. My six cabinets sit to the right, left and across the room from the switch.

Under each cabinet there is a place where the electrical wire comes out of the wall and connects to the lighting fixture.

One way to do replace the current lights with LED lights and keep the same On/Off switch, is to put a 24v transformer at the point where the current 120v wire comes out of the wall, for each cabinet, but that is six transformers and moderately expensive.

What is the right way to do this? Do I need to rewire? Or for instance, if I want to use a single 120v to 24v transformer, probably near the current light switch, can I use my current wire to run the 24v DC?


3 Answers 3


These are currently available:- "Gx53 LED Light Bulb 110 Volts 5 Watts Warm White with Lamp Base for Ceiling Downlight Under Counter Lighting (5 Watts)" and will hardwire directly into your existing 120V wiring. It also removes the requirement for AC/DC transformers which are just another link for failure.

  • just about any LEDs are going to require AC -> DC conversion. Devil's advocate: "links for failure" are also "interchangeable parts" and reduce the cost to replace dead LEDs. Jan 14, 2016 at 17:33
  • It has been my experience that it's cheaper to replace a LED puck than to replace a Voltage Transformer. Also you are less likely to lose all your lights at the same time as would be the case if the voltage adapter failed.
    – HenFraCar
    Jan 15, 2016 at 20:17

Consider LED fluorescent tubes. They snap in where the fluorescent tube went. They come in 2 flavors: direct-wire (where you rewire the fixture to bypass the ballast) or plug-n-play (which allows and requires you to retain the ballast).

Many puck lights have a big issue: how to get power to them. Many are bare-corded, have very short cords, or are not grounded, You can't just staple Romex to the underside of the cabinet and have wire-nuts dangling. Are we really going to get into surface mount conduit and all that? Remember you can only splice inside a proper electrical box, and you need 2 cubic inches per splice. Some do have cords but that means you can only have as many pucks as outlets. I see some that allow daisy-chaining from a central power-brick, that's promising, but then, why not just use the strip lights?

Honestly, I say go with the strip lights and multiple power supplies. DC is actually a pretty reasonable way to distribute this kind of (low) power, because it's smaller wire and you have more options to freestyle. The 12V DC "transformers" (actually switching power supplies) aren't that big a deal. You don't need a power supply for every cabinet, just each island. And since cost tends to be proportional to power output, 3 small supplies won't be 3 times the cost of one big one.

Also, a well done LED strip installation looks really pro/custom, which pucks will never do.


Dimmable line-level LEDs are available. I just installed a set myself on a wall dimmer. Making the connections would require you to install dimmable receptacles (a thing I didn't know existed until recently) to meet code. Lutron is the only company I found that makes them. You could place old work (remodeler) boxes as needed where the existing cables exit the wall.

I realize that you asked about LED strips, in particular, but I'm very happy with the pucks. They flood the area well and, while the light was a bit white for my taste, I was able to use some washable markers to tint the lenses, creating a warmer color.

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