For starters, let me explain that “High Power LEDs” should probably read best place to buy led strip lights. By my calculations this whole setup uses about 23w of electricity.
Anyways, after getting new cabinets and receiving a fantastic shiny granite counter installed it was time to obtain some truly impressive under-cabinet lights that would complement the look I had been concentrating on while being wonderfully functional as well.
This instructable will almost certainly demonstrate how I created my DIY under cabinet lighting for under $120 and yet achieved professional results much better than every commercially available system I was able to see directly.
This really is a true DIY system, not really a guide on the way to use a commercially available system. So before beginning, know that while I think this ought to be considered an “easy” project some elementary skills are essential like being comfortable working around electricity (that may be dangerous!) therefore you need to know the best way to solder. In addition to that though there aren’t any special skills or tools required.
Fair warning, this is actually the longest step! This is certainly basically my thought process on designing the setup. Skip this method to find out the types of materials list and build instructions…
Under cabinet lights could make or break a kitchen. They can add instant and real entice a place, but they must meet certain criteria. They should be effective task lights. They should add the proper “ambiance”. They have to match up along with your current lighting scheme, and ultimately they must work efficiently and last longer (mainly because that installing lights beneath your cabinets often requires some modifications – it’s a pain to need to re-do it or constantly fix things!).
In designing my setup I was able to cross off of the typical halogen puck lights quickly. They can be bright and delightful, nevertheless they have lots of weaknesses. These are too large, too hot, and as a result they don’t last very long (plastic cracks, glass falls out, and bulbs burn out quickly). Most likely the worst part on them may be the horrible amount of wire needed to hook them up!
Scouring the world wide web for project ideas turned up very few truly “DIY” LED options. Most DIY projects were relevant to installing an industrial product. I checked with local lighting stores and home improvement stores and located solutions which were either woefully inadequate or ridiculously expensive. I found some modular systems that came near to what I was envisioning, nevertheless i quickly came to the final outcome i could construct it to check and perform better, for cheaper.
I have some elementary LED knowledge from constructing a light for my reef aquarium. Oddly enough I feel the reefing hobby has given a monumental push to high-power LED lighting recently. I’ve also messed around with many normal 5mm LEDs and the like while tinkering with my arduino along with other gadgets. I am just still in no way an expert…
With LEDs you must keep a couple of things in your mind. Namely, LED type & placement, power, thermal management, and color.
LED Type & Placement:
LED under cabinet lighting may be divided into 2 groups, strip lights and individual lights. The strip lights typically provide more even light through the surface (such as a fluorescent bulb), while individual, or “puck” lights give you a more dramatic lighting source with varying intensities that start off really high when you’re right within the light fading out as you may move further out of the light.
I went through several designs for both and found that typically strip lights use smaller SMD LEDs attached to a long, thin PCB or flex tape. They are nice, low-profile options, however, I discovered which they aren’t nearly as intense as single lights. Basically If I would execute a strip light application using LEDs I would use 2 rows to obtain enough light. Using 2 rows increased the fee significantly though.
I ended up settling on high power 3W LEDs, just like what are commonly used in reef lighting, specifically the CREE XT-E LED. They are very versatile, installed out plenty of light and there are various drivers that are good for powering this type of 12 volt led lights, especially if you wish to get fancy with dimming (many support -10v dimming in addition to PWM dimming). The main part is getting the spacing right to avoid shadows and to get the right thermal setup. I experimented a great deal and decided that this best light was if the LEDs were spaced evenly apart within the cabinets about 12″ on center. More LEDs than 25dexupky and that i would most likely be wasting efficiency (because I would end up dimming it most of the time). Less LEDs than that we can be sacrificing some of the practical task lighting.
For power I went by using a dimmable constant current driver. The LEDs I used possess a 3v forward voltage @ 700mA, to wire them in series you basically just mount up the whole forward voltage (I used 11 LEDs so 3×11=33v) and be sure the operator you buy supports that voltage at whatever current you would like. 700mA is an excellent level of current because it features a good efficiency however the LEDs won’t get as hot. The LEDs are rated to better than that, even though they generally do get brighter the better current you feed them, they have a lot hotter and the efficiency drops as well. I decided to employ a reliable inventronics 40W driver.
A fantastic thing about this driver (and some others too) is it’s scalable. According to the datasheet @ 700mA it outputs no less than 18v and a maximum of 54v. This means that for those who have 3v LEDs you can safely use at the least 6 LEDs as well as a maximum of 17 LEDs or more (you need a little wiggle room at the top range). By utilizing the spacing I described above you could light any where from 6 to 17 linear feet of counter top! Should you still need more LEDs than that, don’t worry. Just search for a constant current driver that supports the voltage range you need. You need to take your LED voltage on the current you desire and multiply it through the # of LEDs you need to obtain the voltage requirement. Meanwell, Inventronics, and Phillips Xitanium are a few. A LED driver takes your homes 120v power and converts it into DC power for your LEDs.
Thermal management will be crucial in a higher power LED array, and while I thought about simply using aluminum channel or flat bar from your home depot I ended up with a much more elegant (and much more effective) solution that didn’t cost any more. I spent time and effort looking for heatsinks and while I stumbled upon a bunch, they mostly came from China or they were too tall for my application (I just have 3/4″ under my cabinets). I wound up deciding try using a really nifty looking circular heatsink that had been designed to be used with LEDs. An average CPU style heatsink wouldn’t function in this application as the heatsink must be facing wood, which means this design is perfect to get enough airflow. Additionally, you may get this heatsink in several different heights, with out drilling must mount the under cabinet led lighting or even the heatsink on the underside of your cabinet! It’s the Ohmite model SA-LED-113E.
Let’s keep in mind about color! This has become the most important… I would personally handle those crappy halogen pucks before I picked a fluorescent light for this particular exact reason. Colour temperature will almost certainly dictate the atmosphere in the lighting in addition to how good or bad things look underneath them. Imagine you’re preparing some food on the counter as well as the broccoli looks brown… You’re not going to want to eat that. Now imaging checking out broccoli seems neat and bright green, like you just harvested it. That’s the effectiveness of selecting the right color light.
Warm white is definitely the color generally chosen, and also the color I desired for my kitchen. The kelvin range for “warm white” is between 2700k and 3500k. Warm white offers the highest CRI (color rendering index) and IMO things look most true to reality under this color lighting. I chose to keep about the slightly cooler end from the spectrum though, since i have don’t have numerous windows. I decided 3250k LEDs which I found correlate very well on the “soft white” compact fluorescent bulbs that we use within the ceiling lights. On that note you should make an effort to match the color of your respective under cabinet lights to all of those other lights within your kitchen or it will look funny. Therefore you would either need to find the proper color LEDs or you’ll must change out your other lights in your kitchen.
So those are basically the principles I accustomed to design the program. Based on your home you may have to tweak a lot of things, having said that i a few things i assembled has worked out really Properly in my view and for my purposes.