Author Topic: Under-cabinet lights - help!  (Read 1115 times)

Under-cabinet lights - help!
« on: 02 August, 2021, 10:12:25 am »
A few years ago, in my wisdom, I removed the under-cabinet lights in my kitchen to use Hue striplights instead. I left the old connectors there (they're wired up to a mains light switch) so that they could be reinstated at some point. Of course, I no longer have the original lights. :facepalm:

However, I now want to replace them like-for-like, and the fittings are confusing me. They were originally T4 strip lights, but the fittings don't match what I see being sold as T4 online - I ordered one, and it didn't fit.

These are the two types of connector I have:




But this is what most of the connectors seem to look like:



Can anyone help me work out what on earth I need? ???

robgul

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Re: Under-cabinet lights - help!
« Reply #1 on: 02 August, 2021, 10:36:15 am »
I would suggest "starting again" installing small LED striplights (Screwfix!) and cut off the connectors from your existing wiring - that's what I did in our kitchen and now the under-cabinet lighting is much brighter and uses much less juice.    [While I was at it I also replaced all the halogen downlighters with LED versions too]

Re: Under-cabinet lights - help!
« Reply #2 on: 02 August, 2021, 10:49:32 am »
There seem to be all sorts of non standard lighting connectors and finding matching ones is likely to be a fool's errand. Crop them off and connect the new one.

If you're worried about making a safe neat connection these will do the job:
https://www.toolstation.com/in-line-spring-lever-connectors/p30952

Re: Under-cabinet lights - help!
« Reply #3 on: 02 August, 2021, 12:49:49 pm »
You don't want to add joints in cable, just rip it out back to the switch cable and start again much safer. 32 amp connectors for lights?
There seem to be all sorts of non standard lighting connectors and finding matching ones is likely to be a fool's errand. Crop them off and connect the new one.

If you're worried about making a safe neat connection these will do the job:
https://www.toolstation.com/in-line-spring-lever-connectors/p30952

Re: Under-cabinet lights - help!
« Reply #4 on: 02 August, 2021, 01:11:20 pm »
You don't want to add joints in cable, just rip it out back to the switch cable and start again much safer.

We’re trying to avoid that. Very easy to say “just” when you’re not the person doing the work.

In low current applications extra joints aren’t a fire risk. Spring lever connectors are a pretty idiot-proof and always apply sufficient gripping force to the cable, compare to the old way of trying to apply to torque to a cheesehead screw upside down under a cabinet. They’re also shrouded, so no minimal fingerpoken risk.


Quote
32 amp connectors for lights?

You’re aware that’s 0-32A, right?

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Under-cabinet lights - help!
« Reply #5 on: 02 August, 2021, 02:33:06 pm »
+1 for the inline Wago knock-offs.  Those things are really handy, work well and approximately an order of magnitude less faff than choc blocks.  I think they're supposed to be enclosed in something, though.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Under-cabinet lights - help!
« Reply #6 on: 02 August, 2021, 06:35:00 pm »
You don't want to add joints in cable, just rip it out back to the switch cable and start again much safer. 32 amp connectors for lights?
There's nothing wrong with having a connector rated that high. It's only a problem if it's too big, too costly or only designed for larger cables. I doubt is there's a smaller equivalent.

Just about any connector that is used on LED mains lights will be over-rated by a huge factor.
Quote from: Kim
Paging Diver300.  Diver300 to the GSM Trimphone, please...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Under-cabinet lights - help!
« Reply #7 on: 02 August, 2021, 08:13:19 pm »
Yeah, Wago connectors (and derivatives) accept an unintuitively wide range of wire sizes, as the spring takes up the difference in size.  The 221s work just as well on cat5 as they do on 4mm^2 mains cable.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Under-cabinet lights - help!
« Reply #8 on: 03 August, 2021, 09:59:23 am »
Thanks all. Bought a shiny new LED version this morning from Toolstation, so I'll have a play with it and if all works, will get another couple for the other cabinets.

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Under-cabinet lights - help!
« Reply #9 on: 28 September, 2021, 02:14:33 pm »
Whilst installing a new set of interlinked smoke / heat / CO detectors here, I thought I'd try Wago connectors for the first time.

I really like them.
They are compact, neat and easy to work with.

This picture shows four 1.5 3+E cables terminated in a small neat connector box.
This box allows for 3 connectors of either 2, 3, or 5 ways at the top ( eg L, Sw.L, N, or L, N, and Interlink as used here ); and a separate 5-way earth strip as shown.
The same thing with screw terminals would be pretty scrappy, difficult to wire, and rather bulkier.


Wago by Ron Lowe, on Flickr

<waits for the obvious comment on the installation...>

I'll add the comment myself: it's the colours of the wiring.
I'm being a bit naughty using old-coloured 3+e ( Red, Yellow, Blue ) which was depreciated back in 2006.
New wiring after that date should use the new Harmonised colours ( Muddy brownish grey, Muddy brownish grey, Muddy brownish grey ).

I happened to have a full drum of old-colour 3+e which was quite expensive when I bought it years ago.
And now I have a need for 3+e.
This building is 1970s construction, and already has a mix of old and new colours.
So I'm not going to purchase a new drum of cable, I'm going to use what I've got.
As is well-known, electrons are colour-blind.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Under-cabinet lights - help!
« Reply #10 on: 28 September, 2021, 09:11:23 pm »
Plus with all those wires you'd have stabbed yourself in the hand at least twice trying to do the choc block terminals up properly tight.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: Under-cabinet lights - help!
« Reply #11 on: 29 September, 2021, 09:34:40 am »
A couple of observations, based on my first use of the Wago system...

If you are using them for mains 240v applications, then they need to be enclosed in a box.
The dedicated Wagobox enclosures are very good, and I'd recommend using them.
Be sure to check the box you select is designed for the connector series you are using; different connectors are different sizes, and the boxes are specific.

Take the time to cut the insulation and conductors to the exact dimensions specified for the box.
This makes the assembled wiring just drop into the box with no effort.
This becomes more important with larger diameter conductors, as they become less flexible and it's much harder to 'loose' excess length by just bending them a bit.
This particular box specifies the outer insulation is stripped back by 60-80mm, and I'd advise going for the longer 80mm as this gives the longest length of individual conductor, which is more flexible and easier to deal with.

Once assembled, the conductors are totally shrouded.
To enable testing, there is a test port mid-way along the back of the connector. This is a small hole, only big enough to accept a meter test probe.
But once the connectors are installed in the box, these test ports are inaccessible.
Dear Mr Wago: plz to be adding test ports on the side of the connector which can be prodded with the connectors in-situ.


Re: Under-cabinet lights - help!
« Reply #12 on: 29 September, 2021, 09:50:35 am »
Thanks all. Bought a shiny new LED version this morning from Toolstation, so I'll have a play with it and if all works, will get another couple for the other cabinets.

Forgot about this thread. New lights didn't work. Gave up. :(

I'll probably just find some way of capping off the wires that looks a bit tidier/safer than the electrical tape currently wound round them, and not bother; I don't know enough about these things to understand why connecting the new light didn't work.