I'm installing some track 12 in a customers home and was wondering if I could use 16-2 (w outer jacket,like speaker wire)that I have left over from another job. This question is not about wire size and watts or amps either.
Jesus may have been a capenter,but God was an electrician.Genesis1:3
Track-12 is a small low voltage track from Juno. It is fed from a 12 volt transformer and low voltage lights can be connected directly to the track with out the use of individual transformers.
If this wiring is going to be installed in the walls or ceiling article 411 requires a chapter 3 wiring method (NM, MC, EMT, ETC.). If this wiring is not goi9ng to be concealed low voltage cable could be used but remember the proper overcurrent protection must be used to protect the wire. Most magnetic transformers use at least 15 amp circuit breakers so a minimum of 14 AWG wire must be used.
No you can't use 16-2........once you hit the transformer and switch to DC the farther away you get the more problems you have. The more lights you put on your load the more amps you draw. The farther you get from the transformer the dimmer the lights get from voltage drop. You can solve these problems by using the correct wire size. Should be 12 minimum.....but better to go with 10 gauge if your anywhere near 15 or 20 feet away from the transformer.
This question is not about wire size and watts or amps either.
Why do you think that?
Low voltage does not mean low current and many times it means high current.
I followed the link to the Track 12 components and they show transformers for it capable of 2.5 to 20 amps of output power. Which one are you using, how many VA?
At a minimum you must size the wires for low voltage lighting the same way as line voltage.
As a design issue you also should consider voltage drop as kinetic has pointed out.
Wire size aside as has been pointed out you must use a chapter 3 wiring method (NM, MC, etc) if you will be concealing the wire.
411.4 Locations Not Permitted. Lighting systems operating at 30 volts or less shall not be installed (1) where concealed or extended through a building wall, unless using a wiring method specified in Chapter 3, or (2) within 3.0 m (10 ft) of pools, spas, fountains, or similar locations, except as permitted by Article 680
There is a change coming in 2005 in this section for class 2 power supplies.
Bob Badger Construction & Maintenance Electrician Massachusetts
I often use remote transformers for low voltage lighting and will most often use #12 - #8, and once #6. Depending on the fixtures and collective load/wattage/amperage of each circuit section, and especially voltage drop. (Not to mention tranformer type and dimmer types.) Your best tool for installing LV lighting is a calculator. Granted you're probably refering to a small section of track, and only a few lamps on it, with the transformer relitively close. Dare I say it, its the same animal. It might look really cool when you turn it on, but you'll feel really silly calling the fire department.
My inspectors for this area would have you pull out anything short of chapter 3 methods. But as far as any method you use I would suggest a 90 degree or better wire, as the fittings on these have a tendancy to get hot if anything short of properly torqued. I often will leave them on for a while and check the fittings for heating after installation.
And iwire, voltage drop is not a design issue it is a safety issue. These little do dads (meaning the fixture itself) will self destruct with improper voltage. I've seen some that have nearly caught fire, and completely melted. This particular track type of design, the fittings will often fuse together from the heat if improperly seated. And, they give you a handy VD calculation reminder with the listed transformers you must use with this fixture. http://www.junolighting.com/pdf/spec/D3_1_2.pdf
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