To begin with, i want 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 top installed it was time to obtain some truly impressive under-cabinet lights that would complement the look I found myself aiming for while being wonderfully functional as well.
This instructable is going to explain to you the way i created my DIY under cabinet lighting for under $120 however achieved professional results better than every commercially available system I surely could see face-to-face.
It is a true DIY system, not much of a guide on the way to install a commercially available system. So before starting, understand that as i think this should actually be considered an “easy” project some fundamental skills are needed for example being comfortable working around electricity (that may be dangerous!) and you must 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 type of material list and build instructions…
Under cabinet lights can make or break a kitchen. They can add instant and real interest a space, but they must meet certain criteria. They need to be effective task lights. They need to add the right “ambiance”. They should match up with your current lighting scheme, and ultimately they must work nicely and last longer (simply because that installing lights under your cabinets often requires some modifications – it’s a pain to have to re-get it done or constantly fix things!).
In designing my setup I was able to cross from the typical halogen puck lights almost immediately. These are bright and exquisite, nevertheless they have several weaknesses. They may be too large, too hot, and consequently they don’t last lengthy (plastic cracks, glass falls out, and bulbs burn out quickly). Possibly the worst part about the subject is the horrible quantity of wire required to hook them up!
Scouring the web for project ideas turned up only a few truly “DIY” LED options. Most DIY projects were relevant to installing a professional product. I checked with local lighting stores and home improvement stores and found solutions that have been either woefully inadequate or ridiculously expensive. I found some modular systems that came close to a few things i was envisioning, but I quickly got to the final outcome that I could assemble it to check and perform better, for cheaper.
I have got some fundamental LED knowledge from creating a light for my reef aquarium. Oddly enough I believe how the reefing hobby has given a monumental push to high-power LED lighting in recent years. I’ve also messed around with many normal 5mm LEDs etc while testing my arduino and other electronic gadgets. I am still by no means an authority…
With LEDs you should keep some 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 during the entire surface (similar to a fluorescent bulb), while individual, or “puck” lights give a more dramatic lighting source with varying intensities that start out really high when you’re right within the light fading out as you move further away from the light.
I underwent several designs both for and found that typically strip lights use smaller SMD LEDs installed on a lengthy, thin PCB or flex tape. These are nice, low-profile options, however, I came across which they aren’t as intense as single lights. Basically If I would perform a strip light application using LEDs I would personally use 2 rows to obtain enough light. Using 2 rows increased the price significantly though.
I finished up settling on high power 3W LEDs, the same as exactly what are frequently used in reef lighting, specifically the CREE XT-E LED. They may be very versatile, they put out a lot of light and there are various drivers that are ideal for powering this type of led strip light kit, especially if you would like get fancy with dimming (many support -10v dimming in addition to PWM dimming). The important part gets the spacing straight to avoid shadows and to get the right thermal setup. I experimented a great deal and decided the best light was if the LEDs were spaced evenly apart beneath the cabinets about 12″ on center. More LEDs than 25dexupky and that i would most likely be wasting efficiency (because I would personally wind up dimming it more often than not). Less LEDs than that I may be sacrificing several of the practical task lighting.
For power I went using a dimmable constant current driver. The LEDs I used possess a 3v forward voltage @ 700mA, to wire them in series you basically just accumulate the entire forward voltage (I used 11 LEDs so 3×11=33v) and make sure the operator you buy supports that voltage at whatever current you would like. 700mA is a good quantity of current because it possesses a good efficiency nevertheless the LEDs won’t get as hot. The LEDs are rated to higher than that, and even though they generally do get brighter the better current you feed them, they get a lot hotter as well as the efficiency drops at the same time. I made the decision try using a reliable inventronics 40W driver.
A great thing about this driver (plus some others too) is the fact that it’s scalable. In accordance with the datasheet @ 700mA it outputs at the least 18v plus a maximum of 54v. Because of this when you have 3v LEDs it is possible to safely use a minimum of 6 LEDs along with a maximum of 17 LEDs or so (you desire a little wiggle room at the very top range). Utilizing the spacing I described above you could potentially light anywhere from 6 to 17 linear feet of counter top! In the event you still require more LEDs than that, don’t worry. Just search for a constant current driver that supports the voltage range you want. You need to take your LED voltage on the current you desire and multiply it by the # of LEDs you want 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 to the LEDs.
Thermal management will likely be crucial in a higher power LED array, and while I thought about just using aluminum channel or flat bar from home depot I wound up with a much more elegant (plus more effective) solution that didn’t cost any more. I spent considerable time in search of heatsinks and although I stumbled upon a bunch, they mostly has come from China or these people were too tall for my application (I simply have 3/4″ under my cabinets). I finished up deciding try using a really nifty looking circular heatsink which had been designed for use with LEDs. A normal CPU style heatsink wouldn’t function in this application because the heatsink should be facing wood, which means this design is perfect to get enough airflow. On top of that, you can get this heatsink in many different heights, without any drilling is required to mount the quad row led strip light or the heatsink on the underside from the cabinet! It’s the Ohmite model SA-LED-113E.
Let’s bear in mind about color! This has become the most important… I would take care of those crappy halogen pucks before I decided a fluorescent light just for this exact reason. Colour temperature is going to dictate the atmosphere from the lighting as well as how good or bad things look underneath them. Imagine you’re preparing some food in the counter as well as the broccoli looks brown… You’re not planning to want to eat that. Now imaging considering broccoli that looks clean and bright green, just like you just harvested it. That’s the potency of choosing the right color light.
Warm white is the color in most cases chosen, along with 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 our lives under this color lighting. I chose to remain about the slightly cooler end from the spectrum though, since i have don’t have lots of windows. I chose 3250k LEDs that i found correlate very well towards the “soft white” compact fluorescent bulbs that we utilization in the ceiling lights. On that note you should attempt to match the hue of your own under cabinet lights to the other lights within your kitchen or it can look funny. So you would either need to find the best color LEDs or you’ll have to change out the other lights within your kitchen.
So those are fundamentally the principles I used to design the system. According to your space you may need to tweak several things, having said that i what I come up with has worked out really Properly i think and also for my purposes.