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Thread: Question for the "Sparkies"

  1. #1
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    Question for the "Sparkies"

    Is it acceptable to tie some low voltage under kitchen cabinet lighting to a ground fault circuit? Is it a violation of electric code?

    Thanks
    George

    Making sawdust regularly, occasionally a project is completed.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Bokros View Post
    Is it acceptable to tie some low voltage under kitchen cabinet lighting to a ground fault circuit? Is it a violation of electric code?

    Thanks

    George

    What do you mean by "tie"?
    Low voltage lighting "usually" has a transformer and rectifier "box" that is powered by 120vac. It is during the installation of this "box", that the ground reference is established. All of this should be in the manufacturers installation instructions.
    You can GFCI protect it, if the electronic rectification circuit is compatible with a GFCI. Some may not be and present themselves to the GFCI as a fault while the circuit is energizing and stabilizing the DC output voltage.
    A lot of the under cabinet LED wiring I've seen has a three prong 120vac plug already on it, and plugs into a clock receptacle box in the back of a cabinet that is GFCI protected. Some is "hardwired" in and somewhere nearby is a dead front GFCI.

    Bottom line is that, yes, it can be GFCI protected if it is compatible. It may in fact have to be GFCI protected based on your local codes. There are a lot of ways to "skin this cat". It all depends.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your response Mike. I hadn't even remembered that they require a transformer.
    George

    Making sawdust regularly, occasionally a project is completed.

  4. #4
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    The transformer hopefully is an isolation transformer so there is no relation to ground and hence little danger. This is why arc welding in the rain or under sea does not cause electrocution hazards. Same reason birds can sit on 120kv bare wires all day long.
    Bill D.

  5. #5
    You are not permitted to connect lighting to the small appliance branch circuits, a clock, & power for a gas range is about all that is allowed.

  6. #6
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    That is ridiculous. There are no electrical codes I have seen that specifically tell you what you can and can't plug into a kitchen outlet. There is obviously no enforcer there to prevent you and there is no safety risk in doing so. If you induce an overcurrent condition by accident, the breaker will open up and prevent the wire from overheating. That is what breakers are for. Of course, knowledgeable people are aware that LED lights draw so little current in comparison to something like a toaster or microwave and the effect of such a load will be negligible in most cases. Even if you run a microwave and a toaster oven from the same outlet at the same time, the breaker will open up and no damage will be done.
    Last edited by Art Mann; 03-13-2018 at 1:38 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mann View Post
    That is ridiculous. There are no electrical codes I have seen that specifically tell you what you can and can't plug into a kitchen outlet. There is obviously no enforcer there to prevent you and there is no safety risk in doing so. If you induce an overcurrent condition by accident, the breaker will open up and prevent the wire from overheating. That is what breakers are for. Of course, knowledgeable people are aware that LED lights draw so little current in comparison to something like a toaster or microwave and the effect of such a load will be negligible in most cases. Even if you run a microwave and a toaster oven from the same outlet at the same time, the breaker will open up and no damage will be done.
    Perhaps the difference is hard wired vs. plug in. I'm not a sparkie so have no expertise, just guessing.

  8. #8
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    It is true that wall outlets associated with kitchen appliances are run as individual circuits. However, plugging in a 35 watt LED fixture that draws 0.3A is not going to do anything to a microwave oven plugged in to the same outlet and drawing 12A. Sometimes, people just get carried away and try to interpret code requirements in a way that doesn't make any sense.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mann View Post
    It is true that wall outlets associated with kitchen appliances are run as individual circuits. However, plugging in a 35 watt LED fixture that draws 0.3A is not going to do anything to a microwave oven plugged in to the same outlet and drawing 12A. Sometimes, people just get carried away and try to interpret code requirements in a way that doesn't make any sense.
    It might make sense to the inspector that has to sign it off and has certain quirks or a misunderstanding of the NEC though. I agree that LED light fixtures add very little load to a circuit. We live in a relatively new Town House and the 20 amp kitchen circuits are outlets only AFAIK. Lighting is a 15 amp circuit also supplying lighting in other areas.

  10. #10
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    Art

    Rollie is correct.
    The distinction would come in how it is "tied" in. If it plugs in the NEC will stop at the receptacle. If you hard wire it in, it has to be on a separate circuit.
    The code anticipates use, by location, and "assumes" certain appliances will be installed in those specific locations. An under cupboard mounted microwave "plugs in", but there are some very specific rules about how, and where, you can locate the receptacle it is plugged into. Split, stove top vent hoods, and lights, are the same.
    The code is a pain in the behind at times, but it's there to prevent the "trial and error process" of tripping breakers, to see what can "run" on a circuit.

    It is virtually impossible to answer a code compliance question via the internet. There are so many variables involved.You can kind of give a person an idea of what questions they should be getting answers to, but to install per code, you need to get to the local level.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mann View Post
    That is ridiculous. There are no electrical codes I have seen that specifically tell you what you can and can't plug into a kitchen outlet. There is obviously no enforcer there to prevent you and there is no safety risk in doing so. If you induce an overcurrent condition by accident, the breaker will open up and prevent the wire from overheating. That is what breakers are for. Of course, knowledgeable people are aware that LED lights draw so little current in comparison to something like a toaster or microwave and the effect of such a load will be negligible in most cases. Even if you run a microwave and a toaster oven from the same outlet at the same time, the breaker will open up and no damage will be done.
    Art, where I live the code doesn't tell you what can be plugged into appliance receptacles, however it does tell you that other devices cannot be connected to those circuits with one exception, a recessed clock receptacle can be connected to the circuit.

    Connected means wired to, not plugged into.

    Rollie is correct in that, assuming the code is similar to where I live...........Regards, Rod.

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