To start with, let me 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 great shiny granite counter top installed the time had come to have some truly impressive under-cabinet lights that might complement the design and style I had been aiming for while being wonderfully functional at the same time.
This instructable will almost certainly reveal to you the way i created my DIY under cabinet lighting for less than $120 however achieved professional results a lot better than every commercially available system I managed to see directly.
It is a true DIY system, not much of a guide on how to install a commercially available system. So before beginning, realize that as i think this needs to be considered an “easy” project some fundamental skills are needed including being comfortable working around electricity (which can be dangerous!) and you also must know the 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 really is basically my thought process on designing the setup. Skip this task to discover the type of material list and make instructions…
Under cabinet lights could make or break a kitchen. They could add instant and real interest an area, but they must meet certain criteria. They must be effective task lights. They have to add the best “ambiance”. They should match along with your current lighting scheme, and ultimately they must work efficiently and last for many years (due to the fact that installing lights beneath 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 could cross off the typical halogen puck lights quickly. They may be bright and delightful, nonetheless they have lots of weaknesses. They are too large, too hot, and consequently they don’t last extended (plastic cracks, glass falls out, and bulbs burn out quickly). Most likely the worst part about them is definitely the horrible amount of wire necessary to hook them up!
Scouring the world wide web for project ideas turned up not many truly “DIY” LED options. Most DIY projects were relevant to installing a commercial product. I checked with local lighting stores and home improvement stores and located solutions that had been either woefully inadequate or ridiculously expensive. I found some modular systems that came near to things i was envisioning, having said that i quickly got to the conclusion i could construct it to check and perform better, for cheaper.
I actually have some basic LED knowledge from building 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 times. I’ve also messed around with many normal 5mm LEDs etc while tinkering with my arduino as well as other electronic gadgets. I am still in no way a specialist…
With LEDs you need to keep some things at heart. Namely, LED type & placement, power, thermal management, and color.
LED Type & Placement:
LED under cabinet lighting might be split up into 2 groups, strip lights and individual lights. The strip lights typically provide more even light throughout the surface (such as a fluorescent bulb), while individual, or “puck” lights give a more dramatic lighting source with varying intensities that begin really high when you’re right under the light fading out when you move further outside the light.
I experienced several designs for and discovered that typically strip lights use smaller SMD LEDs mounted on a long, thin PCB or flex tape. These are nice, low-profile options, however, I discovered that they aren’t as intense as single lights. If I were to do a strip light application using LEDs I might use 2 rows to obtain enough light. Using 2 rows increased the price significantly though.
I wound up settling on high power 3W LEDs, exactly like what are commonly used in reef lighting, specifically the CREE XT-E LED. They are very versatile, installed out a great deal of light and there are various drivers that are fantastic for powering this type of 12 volt led lights, especially in order to get fancy with dimming (many support -10v dimming in addition to PWM dimming). The key part is to get the spacing ability 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 beneath the cabinets about 12″ on center. More LEDs than 25dexupky and so i would most likely be wasting efficiency (because I might turn out dimming it more often than not). Less LEDs than that I can be sacrificing a few of the practical task lighting.
For power I went with a dimmable constant current driver. The LEDs I used possess a 3v forward voltage @ 700mA, to wire them in series you basically just tally 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 desire. 700mA is an excellent quantity of current because it has a good efficiency however the LEDs won’t get as hot. The LEDs are rated to greater than that, and although they are doing get brighter the greater number of current you feed them, they get yourself a lot hotter and also the efficiency drops as well. I made a decision to utilize a reliable inventronics 40W driver.
A fantastic point about this driver (and some others too) is it’s scalable. Based on the datasheet @ 700mA it outputs at the least 18v and a maximum of 54v. Because of this when you have 3v LEDs it is possible to safely use at least 6 LEDs along with a maximum of 17 LEDs approximately (you need a little wiggle room towards the top range). Using the spacing I described above you can light any where from 6 to 17 linear feet of counter! When you still need more LEDs than that, don’t worry. Just choose a constant current driver that supports the voltage range you need. You need to take your LED voltage at the current you desire and multiply it through the # of LEDs you need 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 the LEDs.
Thermal management will be important in a high power LED array, and while I figured about just using aluminum channel or flat bar from your home depot I ended up with a far more elegant (plus more effective) solution that didn’t cost any further. I spent considerable time looking for heatsinks even though I stumbled upon a bunch, they mostly originated China or they were too tall for my application (I just have 3/4″ under my cabinets). I ended up being 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 are employed in this application because the heatsink must be facing wood, which means that this design is ideal to acquire enough airflow. Furthermore, you may get this heatsink in many different heights, with out drilling is needed to mount the super bright led lighting or perhaps the heatsink on the underside in the cabinet! It’s the Ohmite model SA-LED-113E.
Let’s remember about color! This has become the most important… I would personally cope with those crappy halogen pucks before I chose a fluorescent light for this exact reason. The color temperature will probably dictate the atmosphere of the lighting along with how good or bad things look underneath them. Imagine you’re preparing some food in the counter and the broccoli looks brown… You’re not likely to desire to eat that. Now imaging taking a look at broccoli that looks neat and bright green, just like you just harvested it. That’s the strength of choosing the proper 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 got the highest CRI (color rendering index) and IMO things look most true alive under this color lighting. I decided to keep on the slightly cooler end of your spectrum though, since I don’t have lots of windows. I picked 3250k LEDs that i found correlate quite well on the “soft white” compact fluorescent bulbs that I use in the ceiling lights. On that note you should try and match the colour of the under cabinet lights to the remainder of the lights within your kitchen or it is going to look funny. So you would either must discover the right color LEDs or you’ll must change out your other lights inside your kitchen.
So those are essentially the principles I employed to design the system. Depending on your home you might need to tweak some things, having said that i the things i put together spent some time working out really Very well in my view and also for my purposes.