# Converting a Low Volt Lighting System

 How to Identify and Convert Low Voltage Light Switches

Identifying Low Voltage Switching and Light Fixtures

Electrical Question: I have a 1970 house. I bought some new wall sconces that run on line voltage, in order to replace some recessed lighting . I discovered that the current lighting runs on low voltage (12v) by examining the bulbs and discovering there is a step-down transformer on the circuit. The transformer is close to the electrical panel and drops the voltage before it gets to the switch that controls the current lights. However, the wiring in the junction box for the sconces appears to be the same 60nm Romex with standard 14-gauge wiring as what comes out of the electrical panel on that circuit. If I just remove the transformer, will everything work fine? I’m a little concerned that there may be some low voltage wiring somewhere behind the walls on that circuit that I can’t see even though both ends look to be standard 14 gauge wiring. I can’t see any markings on the wiring to read the gauge.

This electrical question came from: Michael, a Homeowner from Seattle, WA

Thanks for your electrical question Michael.

### How to Identify and Convert Low Voltage Light Switches

• Michael, the concern is just as you are stating, you would need to make sure all of the wiring, connections, switches and light fixtures will be rated for the 120 volts for the conversion.
• You may notice that normal 120 volt house wire is actually rated for 600 volts.
• This is a common designation even though our homes do not have 600 volt electrical services.
• Another thing to consider is that the light switching for the light fixtures is low voltage and not the fixtures themselves and this would need to be verified.
• There are still some homes that have a low voltage switching system which are wired to a relay cabinet where normal 120 volt power is used for the actual light fixtures.
• So with this in mind you really need to verify the voltage at the switches and the light fixtures to identify the exact type of system you have and if it can be converted to 120 volt or not.

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