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Kitchen lighting - low voltage under-cupboard lights

Extra lighting in the kitchen can transform the look of the room particularly if it is mounted below the wall units to provide a downward light source onto the worktop area. This not only helps with food preparation but can be used instead of the main room lighting to give a softer feel when required.

One way of doing this is to fit low voltage lights beneath the wall units. Because this work is in a kitchen and will require connection to the main lighting circuit, it is notifiable under Part P of the Building Regulations.You should refer to the Electrical regulations article for further information and ensure that you adhere to the rules.

Low voltage light sets

The easiest way to getting this set up is to buy a low votage cabinet light kit which will include the transformer, the lights and lamps as well as all the connection cables and fittings.

Planning the lighting

Plan the arrangement of the lights and the transformer before starting any work. You will need to provide an electrical supply from the lighting circuit as well as a switch to control the lights. For details see the Adding a New Light and Switch article. It is often easiest to mount the transformer on top of one of the wall units so it is accessible should the need arise but it will also be out of view. You should also plan the position of the lights themselves taking into account the restrictions which will be included with the kit. Check the instructions carefully regarding positioning and the proximity of other surfaces.

Make sure that you leave the power supply switched off at the consumer unit, and the fuse removed for the circuit you are working on

Installing the lights

Mount the transformer on top of the wall unit and run the connecting cables for each of the lights. One of the easeist ways of doing this is to notch the top panel and the bottom panel of each wall unit directly in line with the position for each new light. Because there is a small void behind a wall unit you should then be able to thread the connecting cables down to each lighting position. Take a length of strong wire - a straightened wire coat hanger or length of fencing wire should do the job. Feed this from below up through both notches. Fasten the connecting cable to the end with strong tape and then draw the cable back down. Repeat this for each cable so that you now have all of them in place.

Making the cable connections

Connect each cable to the transformer according to the instructions. You can now mount each of the light housings in position. Often the fixing bracket will be an integral part of the hosing itself. Make sure that you feed the end of the cable through the housing as you do so. Connect the cable to the light unit as detailed in the instructions. Then fit the lamp and fix the light unit into its housing.

Connect the new switched mains supply to the transformer and double check all of your connections. Once you are sure that all work has been completed correctly, replace the fuse for the circuit, switch the power back on, and test.