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Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 155
I'm trying to get a answer for a Client but not finding prohibited uses. I've always seen, and connected to low voltage cable and or speaker wire for under cabinet lights,XENON or 12v Halogen. My clients lighting store said to install regular speaker wire, the 18 gauge clear, zip wire. The light manufacturer is now stating that it should be cl2 type. Whats the real risk, insulation melting in wall? amperage is well under the wire rating. And is this still a practice in new construction? I've been doing mostly repair work last few years. Thanks Chris

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Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,335
The risk is violating the code. Using wire that is not listed or not approved by the manufacturer of a system voids warranties and listings. Nothing may happen but then again the house could burn down and you will have to answer for it. Failure to follow manufacturers instructions and parts not listed for its application puts the liability right in your lap. With out specific testing of the zip wire and lights, there is no way telling what will happen. More then likely nothing will but you have no way of knowing and do you want to risk your liability for the installation with no back up? I find it hard to believe your company's insurance would pay out a claim if it were ever to come to that. Odds or slim it would ever happen. Doing it right the first time lessens the probability

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 155
Thanks Sparky, This was not my Job or installation, just a friend who had his house lifted and rewired, the EC also made a few mistakes, and left shorts, never returned calls etc. My friend lost all confidence in him, I found the problems and he made him come fix them, this was all after the inspections were passed, though we all know inspections don't catch everything. So its best to do whatever herculean rec.s that the lighting mfg. And why would the mfg. rec speaker cable for low volt lights? wouldnt that also void any liability?

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 785
The people at the lighting stores are there to sell lights and could care less about code compliance. I had a customer buy some little can puck lights that were listed for non-IC installation with little 3" tall cans. The building contractor had made her an arched opening of solid wood and assured her that any electrician could "whittle" some pucks into the framing so she bought these as the sales person told her the 3" tall cans were not really needed, the lights could just be pressed into the wood with a pigtail going up into the attic thru a drilled hole.
After calling the manufacturer I got her to "see the light"

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,288
Likes: 4
Yes, the advice that some unqualified sales people "give" to close a sale is interesting.

'This breaker will fit your panel, all you have to do is nip this plastic a little bit'

'This wire is less costly then what it states on the package to use'

'Yes, you can install ANY bulb in this fixture'

'Speaker wire?? Na, use this lamp cord!'

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,288
Likes: 4
Last week, a homeowner said..."the guy in the store said I can hide this little transformer anywhere"

That was one of many violations at this DIY job.

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,495
'Speaker wire?? Na, use this lamp cord!'

Better than the other way round... for the average listener the impact of speaker wire quality is vastly overrated (unless you've got some very long runs that would require bigger wire).

The opposite is certainly worse since speaker cables are rarely rated for line voltage, particularly for 230 V.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,288
Likes: 4
Try telling your client this from the '14 NEC (411.4(b))

(B) Assembly of Listed Parts. A lighting system assembled
from the following listed parts shall be permitted:
(1) Low-voltage luminaires
(2) Low-voltage luminaire power supply
(3) Low-voltage luminaire fittings
(4) Cord (secondary circuit) for which the luminaires and
power supply are listed for use
(5) Cable, conductors in conduit, or other fixed wiring
method for the secondary circuit
The luminaires, power supply, and luminaire fittings
(including the exposed bare conductors) of an exposed bare
conductor lighting system shall be listed for use as part of
the same identified lighting system

Number (4) is specific!


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