To begin with, permit me to explain that “High Power LEDs” should probably read led strip lights for home. By my calculations this whole setup uses about 23w of electricity.
Anyways, once you have new cabinets and getting a fantastic shiny granite counter top installed the time had come to obtain some truly impressive under-cabinet lights that might complement the design I found myself concentrating on while being wonderfully functional also.
This instructable will almost certainly show you the way i created my DIY under cabinet lighting for less than $120 nevertheless achieved professional results much better than every commercially available system I was able to see face-to-face.
This really is a true DIY system, not really a guide regarding how to get 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 such as being comfortable working around electricity (which may be dangerous!) and you also have to know how to solder. Apart from that though there aren’t any special skills or tools required.
Fair warning, this is the longest step! This really is basically my thought process on designing the setup. Skip this step to see the types of materials list and make instructions…
Under cabinet lights could make or break a kitchen. They may add instant and real appeal to a place, but they have to meet certain criteria. They must succeed task lights. They need to add the best “ambiance”. They must match with the current lighting scheme, lastly they need to work well and last a long time (simply because that installing lights below your cabinets often requires some modifications – it’s a pain to need to re-practice it or constantly fix things!).
In designing my setup I was able to cross off the typical halogen puck lights almost immediately. They are bright and beautiful, but they have several weaknesses. They may be too big, too hot, and thus they don’t last lengthy (plastic cracks, glass falls out, and bulbs burn out quickly). Probably the worst part about the subject is definitely the horrible level of wire needed to hook them up!
Scouring the world wide web for project ideas turned up only a few truly “DIY” LED options. Most DIY projects were associated with installing a commercial product. I checked with local lighting stores and home improvement stores and found solutions that were either woefully inadequate or ridiculously expensive. I stumbled upon some modular systems that came near what I was envisioning, nevertheless i quickly arrived at the actual final outcome i could build it to search and perform better, for cheaper.
I actually have some basic LED knowledge from building a light for my reef aquarium. Oddly enough I think that the reefing hobby has given a monumental push to high-power LED lighting lately. I’ve also messed around with many normal 5mm LEDs and such while testing my arduino and also other electronic gadgets. I am just still by no means an expert…
With LEDs you should keep several things under consideration. Namely, LED type & placement, power, thermal management, and color.
LED Type & Placement:
LED under cabinet lighting can be divided into 2 groups, strip lights and individual lights. The strip lights typically provide more even light throughout the surface (like a fluorescent bulb), while individual, or “puck” lights offer a more dramatic lighting source with varying intensities that get started really high when you’re right within the light fading out while you move further outside the light.
I went through several designs for both and located that typically strip lights use smaller SMD LEDs mounted on an extensive, thin PCB or flex tape. They are nice, low-profile options, however, I found that they can aren’t nearly as intense as single lights. If I were to execute a strip light application using LEDs I would personally use 2 rows to get enough light. Using 2 rows increased the fee significantly though.
I finished up settling on high power 3W LEDs, the same as just what are commonly used in reef lighting, specifically the CREE XT-E LED. They may be very versatile, installed out a great deal of light and there are many drivers that are good for powering this particular led strip light kit, especially in order to get fancy with dimming (many support -10v dimming as well as PWM dimming). The main part is becoming the spacing directly to avoid shadows and to offer the right thermal setup. I experimented a great deal and decided the best light was if the LEDs were spaced evenly apart underneath the cabinets about 12″ on center. More LEDs than 25dexupky and i also would most likely be wasting efficiency (because I would personally end up dimming it more often than not). Less LEDs than that we could be sacrificing a few of the practical task lighting.
For power I went having 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 entire forward voltage (I used 11 LEDs so 3×11=33v) and ensure the operator you purchase supports that voltage at whatever current you would like. 700mA is an excellent amount of current because it comes with a good efficiency nevertheless the LEDs won’t get as hot. The LEDs are rated to better than that, even though they generally do get brighter the greater number of current you feed them, they have a lot hotter and the efficiency drops also. I decided to employ a reliable inventronics 40W driver.
A nice point about this driver (and some others too) is that it’s scalable. Based on the datasheet @ 700mA it outputs a minimum of 18v along with a maximum of 54v. This means that in case you have 3v LEDs you may safely use no less than 6 LEDs along with a maximum of 17 LEDs or more (you desire a little wiggle room towards the top range). Utilizing the spacing I described above you could potentially light between 6 to 17 linear feet of counter top! If you still need more LEDs than that, don’t worry. Just look for a constant current driver that supports the voltage range you require. You need to take your LED voltage with the current you need and multiply it through the # of LEDs you want to have 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 to the LEDs.
Thermal management will probably be essential in an increased power LED array, and although I assumed about simply using aluminum channel or flat bar from your home depot I wound up with a more elegant (and more effective) solution that didn’t cost any more. I spent a lot of time searching for heatsinks and although I stumbled upon a bunch, they mostly originated China or these folks were too tall for my application (I only have 3/4″ under my cabinets). I wound up deciding try using a really nifty looking circular heatsink which was designed to be utilized with LEDs. A typical CPU style heatsink wouldn’t work in this application since the heatsink should be against wood, which means this design is perfect to have enough airflow. Best of all, you can get this heatsink in several different heights, and no drilling is necessary to mount the super bright led lighting or maybe the heatsink to the underside from the cabinet! It’s the Ohmite model SA-LED-113E.
Let’s remember about color! This has become the most important… I would personally take care of those crappy halogen pucks before I selected a fluorescent light for this particular exact reason. Colour temperature will almost certainly dictate the mood from the lighting and also how good or bad things look underneath them. Imagine you’re preparing some food about the counter as well as the broccoli looks brown… You’re not going to wish to eat that. Now imaging taking a look at broccoli that looks neat and bright green, like you just harvested it. That’s the potency of selecting the right color light.
Warm white may be the color usually 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 alive under this color lighting. I made the decision to stay on the slightly cooler end from the spectrum though, since I don’t have lots of windows. I chose 3250k LEDs that i found correlate very well on the “soft white” compact fluorescent bulbs that I use in the ceiling lights. On that note you should make an effort to match colour of the under cabinet lights to all of those other lights in your kitchen or it can look funny. Therefore you would either must discover the correct color LEDs or you’ll have to change out of the other lights within your kitchen.
So those are basically the principles I accustomed to design the machine. According to your home you may need to tweak a lot of things, nevertheless i a few things i put together has worked out really REALLY well for me and also for my purposes.