To begin with, i want 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 kitchen cabinets and getting a nice shiny granite counter top installed it was time to acquire some truly impressive under-cabinet lights that would complement the design and style I used to be focusing on while being wonderfully functional as well.
This instructable will probably explain to you the way i created my DIY under cabinet lighting cheaper than $120 but achieved professional results better than every commercially available system I could see personally.
This can be a true DIY system, not just a guide regarding how to install a commercially available system. So before starting, realize that while I think this needs to be considered an “easy” project some elementary skills are essential including being comfortable working around electricity (which may be dangerous!) therefore you must know how you can solder. Other than 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 view the type of material list and build instructions…
Under cabinet lights could make or break a kitchen. They may add instant and real entice a place, but they should meet certain criteria. They have to be efficient task lights. They need to add the correct “ambiance”. They have to match up with the current lighting scheme, and finally they need to work effectively and last for many years (due to the fact 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 managed to cross off the typical halogen puck lights quickly. These are bright and beautiful, nevertheless they have many weaknesses. These are too big, too hot, and thus they don’t last long (plastic cracks, glass falls out, and bulbs burn out quickly). Likely the worst part about the subject will be the horrible quantity of wire necessary to hook them up!
Scouring the net for project ideas turned up very few 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 were either woefully inadequate or ridiculously expensive. I discovered some modular systems that came close to a few things i was envisioning, having said that i quickly arrived at the final outcome that we could build it to check and perform better, for cheaper.
I have some elementary LED knowledge from creating a light for my reef aquarium. Oddly enough I believe the reefing hobby has given a monumental push to high-power LED lighting recently. I’ve also messed around with a bit of normal 5mm LEDs and the like while experimenting with my arduino along with other electronic gadgets. I am still by no means an authority…
With LEDs you should keep several things at heart. 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 throughout the surface (just like a fluorescent bulb), while individual, or “puck” lights provide a more dramatic lighting source with varying intensities that begin really high when you’re right beneath the light fading out when you move further away from the light.
I experienced several designs for both and located that typically strip lights use smaller SMD LEDs placed on an extended, thin PCB or flex tape. These are typically nice, low-profile options, however, I discovered that they aren’t nearly as intense as single lights. Generally If I were to perform a strip light application using LEDs I would use 2 rows to have enough light. Using 2 rows increased the charge significantly though.
I ended up being settling on high power 3W LEDs, the same as what are widely used in reef lighting, specifically the CREE XT-E LED. They are very versatile, they put out lots of light and there are numerous drivers that are ideal for powering this kind of led strip light kit, especially if you would like get fancy with dimming (many support -10v dimming along with PWM dimming). The main part is becoming the spacing directly to avoid shadows and to offer the right thermal setup. I experimented quite a bit and decided the best light was if the LEDs were spaced evenly apart under the cabinets about 12″ on center. More LEDs than 25dexupky and I could possibly be wasting efficiency (because I would personally end up dimming it most of the time). Less LEDs than which i could be sacrificing a few 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 acquire supports that voltage at whatever current you need. 700mA is an excellent amount of current because it possesses a good efficiency although the LEDs won’t get as hot. The LEDs are rated to greater than that, and even though they are doing get brighter the greater current you feed them, they have a lot hotter along with the efficiency drops too. I decided to utilize a reliable inventronics 40W driver.
A nice thing about this driver (plus some others too) is the fact it’s scalable. In accordance with the datasheet @ 700mA it outputs at least 18v plus a maximum of 54v. Consequently for those who have 3v LEDs you can safely use at least 6 LEDs as well as a maximum of 17 LEDs roughly (you need a little wiggle room at the very top range). By using the spacing I described above you could potentially light between 6 to 17 linear feet of counter! When you still require more LEDs than that, don’t worry. Just search for a constant current driver that supports the voltage range you want. Simply take your LED voltage in the current you want and multiply it by the # of LEDs you want to obtain 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 for that LEDs.
Thermal management will be important in a high power LED array, and while I figured about simply using aluminum channel or flat bar from home depot I wound up with a much more elegant (and more effective) solution that didn’t cost any more. I spent lots of time trying to find heatsinks and while I found a bunch, they mostly originated China or these folks were too tall for my application (I have only 3/4″ under my cabinets). I ended up being deciding try using a really nifty looking circular heatsink which was designed to be utilized with LEDs. A normal CPU style heatsink wouldn’t function in this application as the heatsink must be against wood, which means that this design is perfect to acquire enough airflow. On top of that, you will get this heatsink in many different heights, with no drilling is necessary to mount the quad row led strip light or perhaps the heatsink to 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 might handle those crappy halogen pucks before I selected a fluorescent light for this particular exact reason. Colour temperature will probably dictate the atmosphere in the lighting as well as how good or bad things look underneath them. Imagine you’re preparing some food on the counter as well as the broccoli looks brown… You’re not likely to wish to eat that. Now imaging considering broccoli that looks clean and bright green, just like you just harvested it. That’s the strength of selecting the most appropriate color light.
Warm white may be the color generally chosen, as well as 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 chose to stay on the slightly cooler end of your spectrum though, since i have don’t have several windows. I selected 3250k LEDs that i found correlate quite well on the “soft white” compact fluorescent bulbs i utilize in the ceiling lights. On that note you should try to match the colour of your own under cabinet lights to the rest of the lights with your kitchen or it will look funny. Which means you would either are looking for the right color LEDs or you’ll should change out your other lights with your kitchen.
So those are fundamentally the principles I utilized to design the device. Depending on your home you may want to tweak a lot of things, nevertheless i what I come up with works out really Rather well in my view as well as for my purposes.