For starters, allow me to 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, once you have new kitchen cabinets and getting a great shiny granite counter installed it was time to acquire some truly impressive under-cabinet lights that might complement the look I used to be shooting for while being wonderfully functional also.
This instructable is going to reveal to you the way i created my DIY under cabinet lighting cheaper than $120 and yet achieved professional results superior to every commercially available system I could see personally.
It is a true DIY system, not much of a guide on how to use a commercially available system. So before you start, recognize that as i think this needs to be considered an “easy” project some fundamental skills are essential for example being comfortable working around electricity (which can be dangerous!) therefore you need to know the way to solder. Besides that though there aren’t any special skills or tools required.
Fair warning, this is the longest step! This can be basically my thought process on designing the setup. Skip this task to discover the materials list and build instructions…
Under cabinet lights can make or break a kitchen. They could add instant and real appeal to an area, but they have to meet certain criteria. They need to be effective task lights. They must add the correct “ambiance”. They must match along with your current lighting scheme, and finally they need to work nicely and last a long time (mainly because that installing lights under your cabinets often requires some modifications – it’s a pain to need to re-undertake it or constantly fix things!).
In designing my setup I was able to cross from the typical halogen puck lights very quickly. They can be bright and exquisite, nonetheless they have numerous weaknesses. They are too large, too hot, and for that reason they don’t last very long (plastic cracks, glass falls out, and bulbs burn out quickly). Probably the worst part about the subject is definitely the horrible quantity of wire found it necessary to hook them up!
Scouring the net for project ideas turned up only a few truly “DIY” LED options. Most DIY projects were linked to installing a professional product. I checked with local lighting stores and home improvement stores and found solutions that were either woefully inadequate or ridiculously expensive. I discovered some modular systems that came near the things i was envisioning, having said that i quickly got to the actual final outcome which i could construct it to search and perform better, for cheaper.
I have some fundamental LED knowledge from constructing a light for my reef aquarium. Oddly enough I believe the reefing hobby has given a monumental push to high-power LED lighting in recent times. I’ve also messed around with many normal 5mm LEDs and such while tinkering with my arduino and also other electronic gadgets. I am still by no means an authority…
With LEDs you must keep several things in your mind. Namely, LED type & placement, power, thermal management, and color.
LED Type & Placement:
LED under cabinet lighting could 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 offer a more dramatic lighting source with varying intensities that start out really high when you’re right under the light fading out as you may move further out of the light.
I experienced several designs both for and located that typically strip lights use smaller SMD LEDs mounted on a lengthy, thin PCB or flex tape. These are typically nice, low-profile options, however, I came across that they aren’t nearly as intense as single lights. Generally If I would do a strip light application using LEDs I would use 2 rows to obtain enough light. Using 2 rows increased the charge significantly though.
I wound up settling on high power 3W LEDs, much like what are commonly used in reef lighting, specifically the CREE XT-E LED. They may be very versatile, installed out plenty of light and there are numerous drivers that are good for powering this kind of waterproof led lights, especially if you wish to get fancy with dimming (many support -10v dimming as well as PWM dimming). The key part is becoming the spacing right to avoid shadows and to offer the right thermal setup. I experimented quite a bit and decided how the best light was as soon as the LEDs were spaced evenly apart underneath the cabinets about 12″ on center. More LEDs than 25dexupky and I would most likely be wasting efficiency (because I might wind up dimming it more often than not). Less LEDs than i may be sacrificing a few of the practical task lighting.
For power I went using a dimmable constant current driver. The LEDs I used use a 3v forward voltage @ 700mA, to wire them in series you basically just add up the total forward voltage (I used 11 LEDs so 3×11=33v) and make certain the driver you purchase supports that voltage at whatever current you want. 700mA is a good volume of current because it comes with a good efficiency but the LEDs won’t get as hot. The LEDs are rated to much higher than that, and while they actually do get brighter the better current you feed them, they get yourself a lot hotter as well as the efficiency drops also. I chose to use a reliable inventronics 40W driver.
A good point about this driver (plus some others too) is the fact that it’s scalable. In accordance with the datasheet @ 700mA it outputs at least 18v as well as a maximum of 54v. Which means that when you have 3v LEDs you may safely use a minimum of 6 LEDs along with a maximum of 17 LEDs or so (you want a little wiggle room at the very top range). Using the spacing I described above you can light from 6 to 17 linear feet of counter! If you still need more LEDs than that, don’t worry. Just search for a constant current driver that supports the voltage range you need. Take your LED voltage with the current you need and multiply it by the # of LEDs you would like to obtain the voltage requirement. Meanwell, Inventronics, and Phillips Xitanium are simply a few. A LED driver takes your homes 120v power and converts it into DC power for your LEDs.
Thermal management will likely be essential in an increased power LED array, and while I was thinking about simply using aluminum channel or flat bar from your own home depot I wound up with a more elegant (and a lot more effective) solution that didn’t cost any further. I spent a lot of time in search of heatsinks even though I discovered a bunch, they mostly originated from China or they were too tall for my application (I only have 3/4″ under my cabinets). I finished up deciding to use a really nifty looking circular heatsink which was designed to be utilized with LEDs. A normal CPU style heatsink wouldn’t work in this application since the heatsink must be up against wood, and this design is perfect to acquire enough airflow. Best of all, you can find this heatsink in a number of different heights, with out drilling is required to mount the quad row led strip light or perhaps the heatsink towards the underside of your cabinet! It’s the Ohmite model SA-LED-113E.
Let’s keep in mind about color! This is probably the most important… I would personally take care of those crappy halogen pucks before I chose a fluorescent light with this exact reason. Colour temperature will dictate the atmosphere in the lighting in addition to how good or bad things look underneath them. Imagine you’re preparing some food in the counter along with the broccoli looks brown… You’re not gonna want to eat that. Now imaging taking a look at broccoli seems clean and bright green, as if you just harvested it. That’s the potency of selecting the right color light.
Warm white is the color in most cases chosen, and the color I desired for my kitchen. The kelvin range for “warm white” is between 2700k and 3500k. Warm white has the highest CRI (color rendering index) and IMO things look most true to life under this color lighting. I made a decision to remain about the slightly cooler end from the spectrum though, since I don’t have many windows. I decided 3250k LEDs that i found correlate very well for the “soft white” compact fluorescent bulbs which i utilization in the ceiling lights. On that note you must try to match the color of the under cabinet lights to all of those other lights with your kitchen or it can look funny. Therefore you would either must find the best color LEDs or you’ll have to change the other lights in your kitchen.
So those are essentially the principles I employed to design the system. Based on your home you may need to tweak some things, nevertheless i things i come up with has worked out really Properly in my opinion and also for my purposes.