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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

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Michael.

How to Identify and Convert Low Voltage Light Switches

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The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

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This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
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My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
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