UL Listing Requirements on 12V LED Fixtures


Senior Member
Amazing, isn't it?

I mean ... when I went to school, everyone's first 'shop class' exercise was to learn the 'Underwriters' knot' and make a "luminaire" from scratch ... though theonly place you'd heat "luminaire' used was across the hall in French class!

Lamps made from table legs, pipe fittings, bowling pins ... all sorts of things. Heck, even today my "temporary" household lamps are completely home-made.Round bell box, pigtail, cord grip, and keyless ... what more do you need?

Must need something really special, if no I need the Lords of the NRTL's to sprinkle them with their holy water to make them 'kosher!'

Well, I wander ... what I really wanted to say was:

They're called the AHJ for a reason ! ! !

NO ONE else is elected, appointed, or in any way given any authority whatsoever.

Responsibility simply cannot be delegated.

NO ONE elected UL, the NFPA, or any other private party to govern.

OK, it's nice that these 'third parties' exist, and they sure do make life easier. Sort of like a TV dinner, they doall the work for the AHJ, so all he needs to do is stick the permit application in the 'micro-approver' for thirty seconds before it's ready for his approval stamp.

That still does not take the 'authority' out of the AHJ.

I am sick and tired of AHJ's, and their agents, hiding their laziness / incompetence by requiring someone else (UL, the architect, etc.) to do their work for them. No UL sticker? No IBEW decal? No engineers' stamp? Application rejected.

I'll tell you right now that the Brooklyn Bridge was built without ANY such 'assurances.' The designer had nothing but contempt for engineers and the like; indeed, much of the project was run by his uneducated wife while he lay in his sickbed.

I expect that the same city clerks who were able to oversee the building of that bridge are perfectly capable of passing judgement on a glorified light bulb holder.

Now we have this new-fangled LED stuff ... a technological marvel that's darn near accident / hazard / idiot proof, and we see a need to regulate it with reams of special code sections and listing criteria? Makes you wonder how we survived all those years where we saw no need to require a listing of exploding HID fixtures.

It's nothing but a naked power / business grab by the NRTL's, abetted by malfeasant AHJ's, using 'safety' as an excuse. Some rules ought to be illegal to enforce, and this is one.


Staff member
It's nothing but a naked power / business grab by the NRTL's, abetted by malfeasant AHJ's, using 'safety' as an excuse. Some rules ought to be illegal to enforce, and this is one.
Yeah, making sure electrical equipment is safe for the masses is pretty stupid. :roll:


Senior Member
Thank you, Iwire, for your opinion.

Welcome to the Holt site. I admire your courage, as surely you are aware that many here hold a view contrary to the one you expressed.

Good luck with that :D


Senior Member
Reno I feel your frustration as I can remember back in Florida when I was about 10 or 12, I helped a friend of my dads put together lamps from driftwood and or cypress, it was a very interesting job at that age, my part was feeding the wires through the wood after the owner drilled it, and have it ready for him to mount the lamp socket and then I would put the plug ends on the lamp cord, back then I had never heard of UL or any NTRL, but heres the thing we have to look at, what would have happen if one of those lamps caught a house on fire, they could very easily went after the owner of this shop.

And that is why we see so many wanting equipment to be listed, it not that it really needs to be, but more like to have another liable entity in the chain of responsibility, how many times we have seen very shoddy design appliances that in some cases are a fire waiting to happen, If I was an inspector I would not want that liability on my shoulder, so they put it on the NTRL's

So if we want to blame someone, we should be blaming the courts that make it so easy for anyone to sue for almost anything even if they cause the injury to themselves, while there is allot of greed in this, it only exist because of the litigation fear.
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Staff member
as surely you are aware that many here hold a view contrary to the one you expressed.
Right back at ya :thumbsup:
Good luck with that :D
Good luck with what? More regulation? I don't need luck, that is going to happen.:D Usually I am a short post kind of guy but you are a rambler so I guess I will ramble too.

Do I think most electricians could make a safe light fixture out of most anything?

Without a doubt, I have no doubt at all that most electricians could do that. My grandfather made tons of hand crafted wooden table lamps, we had them around the house while growing up.

But the standards and codes are not written for just a select group they are written for all.

Times change, I think the general population used to have more mechanical / electrical abilities but that knowledge got pushed aside for the ability to format a hard drive, how to get their excel spreadsheet to import data from Apple software, how to get their pictures onto Facebook etc.

Let us look at it from another direction

Lets say you are an electrical contractor and you get a nice contract to wire a new restaurant with owner supplied lighting. Everything is going fine until the owner supplied fixtures arrive and they are hand built artsy fixtures that in fact dangerous, lets say they used a 300 watt quartz-halogen lamp with a lamp shade of wood.

It becomes obvious to you and the inspector that these fixture will in fact catch on fire given some time.

If listing was not required what would be your recourse?

You have a contract to hang them, do you walk away from the contract and suffer the penalties or do you hang the fixtures figuring 'Hey I did not supply them it is not my issue'?

Low voltage does not mean low danger.

The OP was talking about low voltage fixtures, in my experience low voltage fixture are more prone to problems.

People forget, or just don't know that ten 30 watt lamps at 12 volts is 25 amps. They tend to run small wire, thinking low volt means doorbell wire will be fine.

I also find many low voltage lamps get hot as hell so we are right back to an issue with fire danger.

And finally, the real world

Do any of us really think this listing requirement will slow any hobbyist down who wants to hand craft fixtures for their own place?

I do not and it does not stop me from doing my own thing in my own house. :)

But the rule does give an EC (or an EI) a tool to use when asked to install a dangerous fixture.
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