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Thread: Splicing fine wires for under cab LED lights

  1. #1
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    Splicing fine wires for under cab LED lights

    Installing under cabinet low voltage LED strip lights at my son's new house. Ideally they connect with supplied four pin micro connectors. However I need to connect the bell wire installed by the electrician to the supplied optional bare end stranded wires (24 gauge?). So far my options seem to be red crimp splice sleeves, very small wire nuts, solder and heat shrink, small screws and washers just screwed into the cabinet bottoms and some type of small terminal strip, which I cannot find. Leaning toward the red crimp sleeves. They will be located next to the strip lights under the cabinets so they won't be visible unless you tip your head and look under. Any other ideas?
    NOW you tell me...

  2. #2
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    I did this a couple years ago and used small wire nuts. So far so good.
    Chuck Taylor

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Anderson View Post
    Installing under cabinet low voltage LED strip lights at my son's new house. Ideally they connect with supplied four pin micro connectors. However I need to connect the bell wire installed by the electrician to the supplied optional bare end stranded wires (24 gauge?). So far my options seem to be red crimp splice sleeves, very small wire nuts, solder and heat shrink, small screws and washers just screwed into the cabinet bottoms and some type of small terminal strip, which I cannot find. Leaning toward the red crimp sleeves. They will be located next to the strip lights under the cabinets so they won't be visible unless you tip your head and look under. Any other ideas?
    You might try an electrical supply house. I bought some tiny connectors intended for internal 120v wiring for luminaires but they should work fine for smaller low voltage wires. There are push-in and lever lock types. Some are multi-pole and some for connecting multiple wires together. Some are inline disconnects and some are for more permanent in-line splices. Home Depot also normally carries some of these too but not the variety of the electrical supply place.

    Mostly they are offered in a box with a bunch intended for commercial use but a local electrical supply house carries small packages with a variety. Or ask an electrician for a few.

    But the red crimp connectors should work fine - I use them a lot. If the wire is too fine you strip extra, twist, and fold back on itself before crimping.

    Hey, another option: connectors made for the computer/communications world, especially if you can use connectors that can come apart. I still have tiny crimp (or solder) pins and sockets intended for RS232 signal connectors. If you stagger them on the wire they won't short. I've used many Molex connectors which are bulkier. For straight splices where the wires don't' flex, though, I tend to solder and cover with a bit of heat shrink, sometimes staggering and covering both wires with a single, longer piece of heat shrink tubing.

    JKJ

  4. #4
    If you've never used Scotchlock connectors, these will blow you away:
    https://www.mscdirect.com/browse/tnp...yABEgJxd_D_BwE

    I've seen them available at Menards, etc.

  5. #5
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    I used solder and heat shrink to connect my LED's. Just to verify- when you say the electrician installed bell wire, does that mean it's stepped down to 12v? Make sure it is- or stepped to whatever voltage your LED's require.

  6. #6
    Hi,
    My typical order of preference:
    1. Solder/heat shrink
    2. Small wire nuts
    3. Electronic/low voltage terminal blocks like this: https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail...4aAp6NEALw_wcB
    With these, you just break off what you need, in your case two pair. You can screw down these terminal blocks with a very small wood screw.

    The crimp connectors are the worst for tiny wires in my experience.
    Edwin

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    Where is Radio Shack when you need them? I like these:

    The bell wire was run in the wall from the top of the cabinet next to 120 v receptacle where the transformer would plug in. Low voltage. I saw the IDC (Insulation Displacing Connectors) at HD, that might be the easiest alternative. Noted there as telephone wire connectors.
    Last edited by Ole Anderson; 01-07-2019 at 12:16 PM.
    NOW you tell me...

  8. #8

  9. #9
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    I use a really fine rosin core solder, and carefully cut 3M 33+ tape.

  10. #10
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    I use wire nuts with black tape wrapped around the entire splice for electrical connections. I built houses in a previous life and I had an licensed electrician that did it that way. I figured that is good enough for me.

  11. #11
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    I bought a pack of the IDC connectors, but found out they were for solid, not stranded wire, and the wire from the electrician was not bell wire but at least 18 ga so it didn't fit those connectors. Ended up using red crimp connectors. Worked fine. Thanks for your input.
    NOW you tell me...

  12. #12
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    "four pin micro connectors"? Are these RGB lights? If so, the 4-pin connectors go to the controller, not to the 2-wire power.

    I've done 3 kitchens with all the leads from the lights run to terminal blocks. You can run several wires to a single terminal connections. Any stranded wires are tinned. Everything that does not go to a screwed-down connector is soldered.

    I did one RGB installation (outdoors under cover) using 4 of the wires in Cat-5 cable stuck into the female 4-pin connector, bent over and taped. I did it that way because I thought it would hold up better than the usual male connector and it's been OK for 3-4 years.
    Last edited by Alan Rutherford; 01-07-2019 at 10:07 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Anderson View Post
    Installing under cabinet low voltage LED strip lights at my son's new house. Ideally they connect with supplied four pin micro connectors. However I need to connect the bell wire installed by the electrician to the supplied optional bare end stranded wires (24 gauge?). So far my options seem to be red crimp splice sleeves, very small wire nuts, solder and heat shrink, small screws and washers just screwed into the cabinet bottoms and some type of small terminal strip, which I cannot find. Leaning toward the red crimp sleeves. They will be located next to the strip lights under the cabinets so they won't be visible unless you tip your head and look under. Any other ideas?
    That's what I did, crimp splices and bullet connectors. I used wire sold as bell wire and put one male and one female connector on each wire to maintain correct polarity. So far so good.

  14. #14
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    This is what I used, no controller, not RGB. Home Depot Commercial Electric (house) brand. Interesting that polarity coming from the power supply must be maintained or they don't work. Found that out when I bypassed the rocker switch and didn't pay attention matching up the wire with the stripe. Or matching arrow to arrow on the 4 pin connectors. Using the crimp connectors, I did use the trick of doubling over the fine wire before inserting it in the crimp sleeve.

    Last edited by Ole Anderson; 01-08-2019 at 9:08 AM.
    NOW you tell me...

  15. #15
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    Looks like RGB to me. I assumed Home Depot knew what they were selling so I Googled it and found your picture labeled "Single Color" (https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commerci...7066/207018583). Then I found this: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commerci...7898/303993209 called "Linkable RGBW". It's exactly the same picture except that there's an RGB remote in the second one instead of the switch and power supply.

    Changed my mind. I don't think HD knows what they are selling. White LED strips have 2 contacts (12v + and -). RGB strips have 4 contacts (12v+ and 3 negatives) and RGBW (colored plus real white) has 5 (one + and 4 -). You can't get colors out of the RGB or RGBW strips without a controller unless you just hard-wire one color.

    I think you have colored light strips. On the strips, there should be labels for "+12v", "R", "G", "B". If you run +12 volts to the appropriate spot and negative to just one of the others, you should get that color. If you tie the 3 colors together you get white, sort of. If that's what you want, you only need to run 2 wires to the strips and tie the 3 colors together, but then he won't be able to have flashing disco lights or colored mood lighting. The connectors you have should lead to a controller, which you don't have.

    If you really have what your picture shows, you should stop and regroup.
    Last edited by Alan Rutherford; 01-08-2019 at 12:23 PM.

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