To begin with, allow 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, after getting new cabinets and getting a great shiny granite counter top installed the time had come to acquire some truly impressive under-cabinet lights that will complement the style I used to be concentrating on while being wonderfully functional also.
This instructable will probably reveal to you 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.
It is a true DIY system, not a guide on how to use a commercially available system. So prior to starting, understand that while I think this ought to be considered an “easy” project some elementary skills are needed for example being comfortable working around electricity (that may be dangerous!) and you must know how you can solder. In addition to that though there aren’t any special skills or tools required.
Fair warning, this is basically the longest step! This really is basically my thought process on designing the setup. Skip this step to find out the materials list and make instructions…
Under cabinet lights could make or break a kitchen. They can add instant and real interest a space, but they must meet certain criteria. They must show good results task lights. They must add the correct “ambiance”. They have to match with the current lighting scheme, lastly they need to work effectively and last longer (mainly because that installing lights within your cabinets often requires some modifications – it’s a pain to have to re-practice it or constantly fix things!).
In designing my setup I could cross from the typical halogen puck lights quickly. They are bright and beautiful, however 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). Most likely the worst part about the subject may be the horrible volume of wire required to hook them up!
Scouring the net for project ideas turned up very few truly “DIY” LED options. Most DIY projects were related to installing a commercial product. I checked with local lighting stores and home improvement stores and found solutions that had been either woefully inadequate or ridiculously expensive. I stumbled upon some modular systems that came near to a few things i was envisioning, having said that i quickly came to the conclusion that we could assemble it to search and perform better, for cheaper.
We have some fundamental LED knowledge from developing a light for my reef aquarium. Oddly enough I do believe how the reefing hobby has given a monumental push to high-power LED lighting recently. I’ve also messed around with some normal 5mm LEDs and the like while experimenting with my arduino as well as other electronic gadgets. I am still by no means an expert…
With LEDs you have to keep several things in mind. Namely, LED type & placement, power, thermal management, and color.
LED Type & Placement:
LED under cabinet lighting may be split up 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 a more dramatic lighting source with varying intensities that begin really high when you’re right under the light fading out while you move further away from the light.
I went through several designs for and located that typically strip lights use smaller SMD LEDs placed on a long, thin PCB or flex tape. They are nice, low-profile options, however, I discovered that they aren’t nearly as intense as single lights. If I would perform a strip light application using LEDs I would personally use 2 rows to have enough light. Using 2 rows increased the fee significantly though.
I finished up settling on high power 3W LEDs, exactly like just what are popular in reef lighting, specifically the CREE XT-E LED. They are very versatile, installed out a lot of light and there are various drivers that are good for powering this sort of waterproof led lights, especially in order to get fancy with dimming (many support -10v dimming along with PWM dimming). The main part is to get the spacing ability to avoid shadows and to have the right thermal setup. I experimented a lot and decided the best light was as soon as the LEDs were spaced evenly apart within the cabinets about 12″ on center. More LEDs than 25dexupky and that i would possibly be wasting efficiency (because I would find yourself dimming it more often than not). Less LEDs than that I might be sacrificing a number of the practical task lighting.
For power I went using a dimmable constant current driver. The LEDs I used have 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 certain the motorist you buy supports that voltage at whatever current you want. 700mA is a good amount of current because it comes with a good efficiency although the LEDs won’t get as hot. The LEDs are rated to better than that, and even though they are doing get brighter the greater number of current you feed them, they get a lot hotter and also the efficiency drops at the same time. I made a decision to use a reliable inventronics 40W driver.
A fantastic point about this driver (and several others too) is that it’s scalable. In line with the datasheet @ 700mA it outputs at least 18v as well as a maximum of 54v. Consequently when you have 3v LEDs you are able to safely use no less than 6 LEDs plus a maximum of 17 LEDs roughly (you need a little wiggle room towards the top range). By using the spacing I described above you could light any where from 6 to 17 linear feet of counter top! In the event you still require more LEDs than that, don’t worry. Just choose a constant current driver that supports the voltage range you require. Just take your LED voltage at the current you need and multiply it by the # of LEDs you wish to have the voltage requirement. Meanwell, Inventronics, and Phillips Xitanium are just a few. A LED driver takes your homes 120v power and converts it into DC power to the LEDs.
Thermal management will be crucial in a very high power LED array, even though I figured about just using aluminum channel or flat bar from home depot I ended up with a much more elegant (and much more effective) solution that didn’t cost any longer. I spent time and effort searching for heatsinks and although I came across a bunch, they mostly came from China or these folks were too tall for my application (I have only 3/4″ under my cabinets). I wound up deciding to use a really nifty looking circular heatsink that had been designed to use with LEDs. An average CPU style heatsink wouldn’t work in this application for the reason that heatsink has to be facing wood, and this design is ideal to have enough airflow. Additionally, you can get this heatsink in a number of different heights, and no drilling must mount the super bright led lighting or the heatsink towards the underside in the cabinet! It’s the Ohmite model SA-LED-113E.
Let’s remember about color! This is among the most important… I would cope with those crappy halogen pucks before I decided a fluorescent light for this exact reason. The color temperature will probably dictate the mood of the lighting as well as 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 going to wish to eat that. Now imaging taking a look at broccoli that looks clean and bright green, like you just harvested it. That’s the strength of selecting the most appropriate color light.
Warm white is definitely the color most often chosen, as well as the color I desired for my kitchen. The kelvin range for “warm white” is between 2700k and 3500k. Warm white provides the highest CRI (color rendering index) and IMO things look most true to reality under this color lighting. I chose to stay about the slightly cooler end of your spectrum though, since i have don’t have numerous windows. I decided 3250k LEDs that i found correlate very well for the “soft white” compact fluorescent bulbs that I use in the ceiling lights. On that note you should try to match the color of your respective under cabinet lights to the other lights within your kitchen or it will look funny. So you would either are looking for the best color LEDs or you’ll have to change the other lights in your kitchen.
So those are essentially the principles I accustomed to design the device. Based on your space you may want to tweak a lot of things, having said that i the things i created works out really REALLY well in my opinion and then for my purposes.