A cable lighting kit provides a modern-looking lighting solution for a space that presents difficult mounting surfaces, such as very high ceilings, cathedral ceilings, or spaces interrupted by soffits, beams or ductwork.
Cable Lighting Kits and Components
You can buy all the elements of a cable lighting system individually, but if you are inexperienced you may not know exactly what you need. For this reason, some manufacturers allow to you to purchase cable lighting kits that include all the pieces and parts that you need. Some manufacturers may only include basic elements to set up the cable system and exclude the light fixtures themselves, which must be purchased separately. Specialty items will likely have to be purchased separately as well. The components may include:
This wire supports the light fixtures and conducts electricity. Cables are typically 10 gauge, tin-plated and reinforced with Kevlar. Systems that run less than 20 feet can typically be installed from one wall to another without any vertical support.
Turnbuckles and Anchors
Turnbuckles provide a means to attach the cables to the walls or ceiling. They allow for expansion by tightening or releasing a screw to adjust the tension in the cable. Turnbuckles can also feed power into the system. Another option is to use anchors, which are not adjustable and literally just attach the cable to the surface.
There are two options for transformers: surface mount and remote mount. Surface mount transformers are enclosed in fire-safe housings and are attached to a power junction box within the wall or ceiling. Remote mount transformers can be located away from the lighting system within the wall or a nearby closet. They allow for a cleaner look, but they are more difficult to install and access.
If you are using more than one length of cable, an isolating connector attaches them together and interrupts the current. Therefore, you can independently adjust and power the segments of the cable system.
For cable runs longer than 20 feet or systems from which heavy pendant fixtures are suspended, vertical supports provide bracing. They are simple stems of metal that range up to two feet long and mount to the ceiling.
If you want your cable system to turn an angle, you'll need a turn kit to change its direction. Stem supports are attached to a horizontal cable that cantilevers to allow the system to make the turn. However, these kits can only be used when the lighting system is two feet or less below the ceiling.
Where to Buy Cable Lighting
A few places where you can purchase kits and components include:
Types of Light Fixtures
Cable lighting systems can accommodate a variety of light fixtures including:
- Pendant lamps
- Pivoting fixtures
- MR16 lamps
Tips for Installing Cable Lighting
- Measure and plan ahead to be sure your cable system will fit in the space desired.
- Turn the power OFF before beginning work.
- Carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- Don't worry too much about the placement of the lights, as they are usually adjustable and you can manipulate them later as you see fit.
- When in doubt, hire a professional electrician to install your system for you.