Find the Right Terminal Block for Undercabinet Wiring

In summary, the individual is wiring in 16 - 20 watt Xenon lights into a single gang box, but is worried about the amount of power they are using and the lack of a permit.
  • #1
MacLaddy
Gold Member
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I was wondering if somebody could assist me in locating a fairly small, one inch thick or less, terminal block. I have seen some online, but I do not know which companies to trust, and which products would be the safest.

The application is for undercabinet wiring. I have a single 110/120 volt, 12 gauge wire coming into the bottom of my kitchen cabinets. I would like to hardwire four 20 watt, 110v Xenon lights into this. I am assuming parallel wiring is the correct way, but I do not want to stick five wires together into a wire nut.

Any advice on where I can locate a flat (so as to be discreet under the cabinet) terminal would be appreciated. Or if anyone has a better method for achieving this I would be very greatly appreciative.

Thank you,

Mac.
 
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  • #2
MacLaddy said:
I was wondering if somebody could assist me in locating a fairly small, one inch thick or less, terminal block. I have seen some online, but I do not know which companies to trust, and which products would be the safest.

The application is for undercabinet wiring. I have a single 110/120 volt, 12 gauge wire coming into the bottom of my kitchen cabinets. I would like to hardwire four 20 watt, 110v Xenon lights into this. I am assuming parallel wiring is the correct way, but I do not want to stick five wires together into a wire nut.

Any advice on where I can locate a flat (so as to be discreet under the cabinet) terminal would be appreciated. Or if anyone has a better method for achieving this I would be very greatly appreciative.

Thank you,

Mac.

Whatever way you figure out, it needs to be NEC and UL approvable. I haven't seen terminal strips used for AC Mains distribution. I have seen daisy-chained wire nuts used. Have you consulted the NEC Manual about this? You might consider asking your local city building inspectors for their thoughts -- after all, they are the ones who will issue you the permit and do the inspection, right?
 
  • #3
Well, um, this is for my condo. I don't believe I would open the door to an inspector :devil:

Also, I don't even know what an NEC manual is... But I am starting to feel highly unqualified for simple wiring.
 
  • #4
What do you mean by "daisy-chained wire nuts?" Does that mean that perhaps two are wired together, with a runner wire going to a second nut with the other two in it?
 
  • #5
MacLaddy said:
Well, um, this is for my condo. I don't believe I would open the door to an inspector :devil:

Also, I don't even know what an NEC manual is... But I am starting to feel highly unqualified for simple wiring.

Yes, if you don't know what the NEC is, you might want to consult an electrician to help with the project. And in most cities, you need a permit for electical upgrade projects, unless they are small and pretty simple.

You might look into insulation displacement connectors -- that might be a way to tap off of a power run to stub to your lights. Is there a Home Depot or similar large home improvement store near you? You could talk over your project with some person in the electrical department. There will also be some do-it-yourself type books there, with a good one on home wiring that will give you the important parts of the NEC.
 
  • #6
berkeman said:
Yes, if you don't know what the NEC is, you might want to consult an electrician to help with the project. And in most cities, you need a permit for electical upgrade projects, unless they are small and pretty simple.

You might look into insulation displacement connectors -- that might be a way to tap off of a power run to stub to your lights. Is there a Home Depot or similar large home improvement store near you? You could talk over your project with some person in the electrical department. There will also be some do-it-yourself type books there, with a good one on home wiring that will give you the important parts of the NEC.

*National Electric Code* I guess I should try to Google before I speak...

It's actually a fairly simple wiring job. I had one light on a single switch connected to a 15 amp breaker. I just changed the single gang box to a double gang, added a dimmer switch, and then ran the new 12 gauge romex wire into the sides of the cabinets. (via a lot of attic crawling and fishing wire through the wall.)

I am wiring in 16 - 20 watt Xenon lights into this system, but since that should only pull around 3 amps, I figured I would be safe. The problem is mainly that I don't want the wire to be exposed under the cabinet, or have many wires all hooking into the same nut. I don't know if it's code or not, but I don't like the idea of it so I am trying to find an alternative.

I found this online,

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103231

and I think that if I could hide that within a single gang junction box under the cabinet that would work...

I do have a Home Depot nearby, and I will take your advice and go talk to them tonight. I don't typically get real great advice there, but it doesn't hurt to try.

Thank you for your input.
 
  • #7
You should be okay if you pick up a junction box like this:
http://images.grainger.com/B297_46/images/products/4FUA1.JPG
and punch out five 'knock-outs" for your power wire and four lamp wires and install five "romex connectors" like this,
http://base1.googlehosted.com/base_media?q=http://www.capitolsupply.com/ImageServer.ashx%3Ft%3Dproduct%26h%3D200%26w%3D200%26imageid%3DCS8532077&size=20&dhm=1e9cdca8&hl=en .[/URL]
The incoming power wires (hot, neutral, and ground) can be "wire nutted" to the four lamp wires using these:
http://www.outdoorpros.com/images/prod/5/Dorman-85571-rw-49742-59622.jpg .[/URL]
You will want to chose the correct wire nut size to accept your power and four lamp power wires.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #8
Hello Mac,

Some quick thoughts:

Most house wiring is wire nuts, outlets, and power switches. Of these, the cleanest jumper would be the outlet - its also handy for just plugging your extra appliance into.

The intent of the junction box is to prevent shocks, contain over-heated junctions, provide wire relief, and secure the electrical components. Usually, the box serves its purpose if you mount it securely, route the ground connection to it (if it's not plastic), fasten the outlet in place, and fasten the cover in place.

Of course, you still have to get the wiring correct. There's a hot wire (black) that goes on one side of the outlet, a neutral wire (white) that goes on the other, and a ground wire (bare copper) that goes on the corner. For other outlets, you daisy chain from there. Afterwards, you can add outlets to your appliance leads and plug 'em in.

A couple of more tidbits:

1. NEVER solder your connections. (solder cold flows and I've seen several fires due to it)
2. Never use crimp terminals or butt splices (most of these are not approved for the application)
3. Try to use outlets with screw terminals rather than the self-locking type. The latter is easy to use, but screw terminals have a long, proven history of success.

Well, with all of that, it's also good if you get a wiring book at your local hardware store. It will reads like a third grade reader or modern control theory, depending on which half of your brain rules the roost :)

Best of luck, don't forget to turn off the breakers and have a friend handy,

- Mike
 

Related to Find the Right Terminal Block for Undercabinet Wiring

1. What is a terminal block and why is it important for undercabinet wiring?

A terminal block is a type of electrical connector that allows multiple wires to be connected together. In undercabinet wiring, it is important because it provides a secure and organized way to connect the various wires from the undercabinet lights to the power source.

2. How do I know which type of terminal block is the right one for my undercabinet wiring?

The type of terminal block you need will depend on the type and size of wires you are using, as well as the number of connections you need to make. It is best to consult with a professional electrician or refer to the manufacturer's instructions for your specific wiring project.

3. Are there specific safety considerations when choosing a terminal block for undercabinet wiring?

Yes, safety should always be a top priority when working with electricity. When choosing a terminal block, make sure it is rated for the appropriate voltage and current for your wiring project. It is also important to ensure that the terminal block is made of materials that can withstand the heat and moisture present in undercabinet areas.

4. Can I use any type of terminal block for undercabinet wiring?

No, it is important to use a terminal block that is specifically designed for undercabinet wiring. These types of terminal blocks are typically smaller and more compact, making them easier to install in tight spaces. They also often have features such as insulation barriers to prevent wires from touching and causing a short circuit.

5. How do I properly install a terminal block for undercabinet wiring?

Installation instructions may vary depending on the type of terminal block you are using. However, in general, you will need to strip the ends of the wires, insert them into the appropriate terminals, and then tighten the screws to secure the connections. It is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions and use proper tools to ensure a secure and safe installation.

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