Help! Simple electrics problem with under cupboard lighting

6 Mar 2008
Reaction score
United Kingdom
Hi, I'm new to this forum so please point me in the right direction. I never do DIY other than change a plug, fuse or lightbulb... (yes, I'm female) so I'd really appreciate your help.

The under cupboard lighting in one unit of my kitchen is not working (the rest are so there's no problem with the system). It is not a bust bulb as the same bulb happily works in the other unit when I tested it. I therefore think it's just a loose wire connection and the unit played up for about a month and a 'gentle' tap or knock would get the unit to light up, but now that doesn't even work.

I've unscrewed the unit out of the wall best I can (but only got a couple of inches of wire/lead) to take a look as I knew this wasn't too adventurous (or dangerous). All looks to be in place but at the end of the day I can't see how I can check the actual ends of the two wires which are held firm in a little white plastic housing (about 12mm x 9mm) where they would normally meet with the metal ends of the halogen light bulb were it inserted.

I'm thinking perhaps one of the wires isn't fully in place here, but I can't really see what's going on and there aren't any screws or obvious way to remove this housing - other than perhaps just trying to pull it off. There are two tiny 'windows' (like 1 or 2mm) on both sides which might just show the wires passing through as I can just about turn the unit to see some silver metal colour in there. Or is this some release mechanism if I were to somehow press down on the metal, would it slide the unit out?

I admit I am a clueless housewife... but it seems ridiculous to call out an electrician to fix what I'm sure is a very simple, two-minute job.

Can anyone help? Thanks...
Sponsored Links
A picture paints a thousand words.

You could try pushing the wires into the terminations as some are merely push fit connectors.
Post a picture and we may be able to advise further.
I'm sure this is nothing more tricky than putting on a plug... but it's all so tiny and fiddly I can't really see how it all fits together!!

The plastic housing is just where the two wires are held in place in order to meet the two metal pins of the halogen light bulb. I'm sure this has a bog standard name, something like an electrical port connector or electrical port cover... (but I'm just guessing about that, perhaps that's something completely different!!)

There doesn't seem to be any easy push/pull system. The two wires seem completely fixed in there somehow.

It really does look like one of the wires has just come loose by a couple of mm out of its metal connector in the plastic housing so that the power connection cannot be made.

It's just like a plug with a loose wire... but only the size of a pea! I just can't access the blimin thing to put the wire in place properly and screw it back together - as there are no screws!

It takes a 12V 20watt bulb. The light switch is off. Aren't I pretty safe from any nasty shocks - even with the mains still on?

I've disassembled 9 parts of a light fitting with five screws to try and sort out a loose connection in a part that can't be disassembled! I hope I can put it all back together again...

I would post an image but there doesn't seem to be a way to attach images here. The <help> function says to email them to the site administrator... then waffles on about only linking from a public web server??

Why can't anything just be easy...
Sponsored Links
It sounds like a small low voltage lampholder, the wires are sometimes crimped in and not removable, but you can sometimes buy them with the leads fitted,

They seem to be the G4 size I think there called, and there is a 5.3 size i think which is for bigger lamps you just remove and connect the wires at the other end if possible.
If the holder is fixed in as part of the fitting though you may have to replace the fitting
sorry cant help with pics i think they use photobucket or similar to do it
Some of the plastic ones have very small pozi head screws 2 in each side for the wires and also to tighten on the lamp pins,but i think you would have seen them if they were there

Does the lamp lay across or hang down in the fitting,
Do you know if there capsule lamps
YES! You're right... I googled 'low voltage lampholder' and that's exactly what it is. Only I can't find an image of the exact one I have to show you.

I think you're right about the wires being 'crimped in'. I've had another look and about two inches up the two 'white' wires from the termination point is some black rubber insulation round each wire after which I can just about see the blue and brown coloured wires coming out the other end before entering the single thicker insulation cable that goes into the wall.

I've now cut away at the rubber covering... and yes, I can see that the wires are twisted/connected here... and must be sold with the lampholder already fixed on the end.

It is a standard G4 capsule halogen lamp. It sits horizontally in the lamp fitting.

I will call in at a DIY store or two and see if I can find a low voltage lampholder with the wires crimped in and then see if I can fix it. (I'll ask for a bit of advice while I'm there - like... am I likely to get an electric shock fiddling around with these wires!)

THANK YOU so much for this information. Easy... when you know how :eek:)
Well done :D
Think I know the ones,

You may struggle to get them on there own

Have a look at low voltage under counter lights ,
They do a slim round one, which also goes in the triangle shaped fittings,seen in wickes etc, they use that holder,
but not sure if the holder is removable though.

As they are usually in packs of 3 with the tran, the package often gets damaged, so you may see the odd one in the bargain bin you can salvage if the holder does come out.

They often are short and it is quite normal for the maker to extend the wire like yours to reach the term.

Make sure it is off though although it is 12 volt it can still spark and a short between may damage the transformer
I have Just re read your post
You say the wires go up the wall

They proberly go up behind the units to the transformer proberly sitting on top of the unit.

Worth a look as you may be able to push some cable down to make it easier to work with, be carefull not to pull right out as you may not get it back through again.
If you do want to pull it right out tie a draw wire on to it first.

A lot of that stuff has little plugs on and you simply make up the length of cable you need.
Unfortunately the plugs are not always the same fit
Right again! Yep, I climbed up and had a look on top of the kitchen cabinet. And yes, I can see the blue and brown wires lead into a little plug going into a small white plastic box (with three further 'plug sockets') and then out of this box there's a lead which goes into the separate transformer.

Having to state perhaps the obvious and risk sounding stupid... but if I unplug the blue and brown wires from the little box on top of the cabinet (and thus from the transformer as well) then surely I am completely safe from any electrical shock as the wires are no longer 'plugged in' to the power source. Surely then I can do the connection near the termination point and the lampholder without any risk?

Now... just to find that part. I will start hunting for it...

Thanks again, you've been so helpful :D
Yes there will be a plug for each light, once pulled out the 12 volt is isolated, them plugs arent to good so be gentle,
switch off each time you unplug one till you get the right one , as the arcing can damage the pins when there on

If poss tie a draw wire on and see if you can pull it down behind the unit,
And take the fitting wire and plug to the shop
You may find you will have to crimp the new wire to join to the old one if it wont come out
I unplugged the connection on top of the cabinet... thus isolating the voltage. I then disconnected the join in the wires near the termination point (which were neatly crimped).

I then took the low voltage lampholder plus the immediate surrounding light fitting etc... and took it to a certain high street DIY store and had a good hunt around for a replacement lampholder that would fit.

But no joy :(

I had a chat with one of the guys working there. He said no way would they have that part there. Quietly and politely, he also told me that no one other than a qualified electrician should really do any wiring in a house as otherwise it voids the insurance - in case of fire. But then he gave me the name and address of a trade place on a trading estate that would be the only place that might have the part.

So, I went there...

But no joy :(

They tried to be as helpful as they could but the only low voltage lampholders they had to fit a G4 halogen capsule, were too big to fit in the lamp fitting, as they were the round-shaped lampholders with the little screws on either side. It just wouldn't fit in the casing of the lamp fitting.

So basically... it seems that it's a part only made by whatever company manufactured the light fitting. And it obviously makes them this way so that they can charge you for a whole new light when a simple little wire goes a bit loose.

I guess I now have to contact the original property development company and kitchen fitters... to find out where on earth they get their under cabinet lighting fittings from.

This is nuts... what I thought would be a two-minute job, and is in fact a two-minute job, will now probably take weeks to fix and will cost over a 100 quid by the time I've bought a new light fitting and called out an electrician so my insurance isn't void. And all because of a tiny loose wire.

Is it always like this?!
spend a bit of time on the forum info on how to upload pics

Get some pics of the light especially the holder posted ,I am sure we will match it

Most use very similar parts, and a pack of 3 cheap ones is only about a tenner and may help you out.

As these are made up plug in 12 volt kits, I am sure they are exempt from most regs, and the shop appears to be a bit over dramatic.

Look at the kitchen displays in wickes , although the fittings are all different the holders are all similar.

Any you see will be for sale in the lighting dept
Hi again... I have calmed down after my rant!

I have found an image of the actual light on this website:

Looks like I can just buy one for around 15 quid. It apparently comes with 1.5m of cable.

I'm sure they're sold on the high street too as they seem pretty standard. So I'll go back to my local DIY store and also go over to Wickes as you suggest and see if they have them.

That's probably the easiest (and least expensive) solution... and means I don't have to fiddle around with wiring and crimping.
Now that I look at the website more carefully, an Individual Triangle Glass Light Fitting in fact only costs about 7 quid. And a bit of lead for an extra couple of quid.

Okay, that's a bargain...

DIYnot Local

Staff member

If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.

Are you a trade or supplier? You can create your listing free at DIYnot Local

Sponsored Links