Before you head to the construction site and wire, you need to plan the job and decide what materials you'll need to bring. It is also a good time to label switch and light locations and identify home run groupings.
Here's a typical design flow to architect your DC LED lighting solution
After the planning section in below, we show you to how wire the house so that it's ready for trim after sheetrock and paint are finished. This involves running power and data to all of the switches and then connecting the fixtures they control.
The Rest of the Materials
18/2 wire, switch boxes, and Structured Media Enclosure
We've got approximately 85 fixtures (we round up). We use 15' per fixture for wire budgeting. We recommend 18/2 stranded wire (no shield necessary) to run from the switch box to each fixture.
So, for this job, we're going to bring 1500' of 18/2 along with our 1000' of CAT5 and 16/4 wire.
We're also going to bring enough switch boxes, junction boxes, nail plate, and a Structured Media Enclosure.
The Structured Media Enclosure goes in the wiring closet and is the terminus for all your home runs. It also contains the ATX-LED Data/Power Modules, the Meanwell ELG LED drivers (if any) and the power supplies. If you're also running other low voltage wires in this house it will likely contain ethernet wires and perhaps the cable modem and even a router.
We recommend you choose a CAT5 color for your lighting that is NOT the same color as the CAT5 or CAT6 you use for ethernet.
Wiring Switch Boxes
To begin wiring, run one home run section at a time. Start with running 16/4 and CAT5 from the panel to the first switch. Then follow your plan running power and data to each switch in the series. To make identifying wires easier, run the power and data in through the bottom left side of the gang box and out through the bottom right side. Using the bottom openings will leave more room for the LED wires on top and setting a standard for incoming and out going power will keep your wires organized. Once you have an entire section run, each box should have one 16/4 and CAT5 coming in and one going out, except for the last switch which just has power and data coming in. Be sure to label the home run in the wiring panel as well.
After connecting all of your boxes together with power and data, the 3-way boxes can be connected as well. Just like the power and data lines, run the wire out of the right of the gang box and into the left of the 3-way switch. Only CAT5 is needed to connect a 3-way switch. Be sure to label the 3-way switch line so that you can differentiate between the DALI wires and the 3-way.
Once all of the boxes are wired together it is time to connect the lights. If the lights are powered using a DR2, run 18/2 out of the top of the gang box up to the lights. There are two ways of running wire for lights: service loops or junction boxes. If junction boxes are used, coil about 8" of wire wire inside the junction boxes to keep them out of the way of the sheetrock crew before running wire to the next light in the series.
If you opt for using the service loop you’ll need a stapler and zip ties. To form a service loop staple a few zip ties to the framing on both side and then run the wire back and forth through the zip ties. This keeps the wire up to prevent damage before the sheetrock.
If you are running rope light as in home run section two and four, you will need to run 16/4 from the panel to the start of the rope light and a control line from the switch to the panel using CAT5.
If the light is going into a an already sealed off section then it might be necessary to drill a hole for the light. If you are using the 4" wafer light you'll need a 4" hole saw. The 6" wafer light requires a 6 5/8" hole.
The wiring panel is where all of your low voltage home runs will be terminated. The panels will be housed in a structured media enclosure. Run all of your wires through the top of the enclosure through one of the cutouts. You should leave yourself enough wire to reach to the bottom of the box to be sure you have enough to easily connect everything to the panel. It is very important at this stage to label all of the wires coming in as you will not be able to trace them after sheetrock.
There needs to be a 120V outlet placed in the enclosure to plug the power supplies into. No other 120V wiring should be run into the enclosure.