To start 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, after getting new cabinets and receiving a good shiny granite counter installed it was time to have some truly impressive under-cabinet lights that will complement the design I used to be focusing on while being wonderfully functional as well.
This instructable will almost certainly show you the way i created my DIY under cabinet lighting cheaper than $120 however achieved professional results much better than every commercially available system I was able to see directly.
This is a true DIY system, not just a guide on the way to get a commercially available system. So before beginning, know that as i think this needs to be considered an “easy” project basic skills are essential including being comfortable working around electricity (which can be dangerous!) and you also need to find out the best way to solder. Other than that though there aren’t any special skills or tools required.
Fair warning, here is the longest step! This is basically my thought process on designing the setup. Skip this task to discover the type of material list and build instructions…
Under cabinet lights could make or break a kitchen. They could add instant and real attract a location, but they have to meet certain criteria. They need to show good results task lights. They have to add the best “ambiance”. They need to match with your current lighting scheme, and lastly they need to work effectively and last a long time (due to the fact that installing lights under 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 from the typical halogen puck lights almost immediately. They can be bright and exquisite, nonetheless they have lots of weaknesses. They are too large, too hot, and consequently they don’t last lengthy (plastic cracks, glass falls out, and bulbs burn out quickly). Likely the worst part about them may be the horrible level of wire needed to hook them up!
Scouring the internet for project ideas turned up very few truly “DIY” LED options. Most DIY projects were associated with 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 stumbled upon some modular systems that came near to things i was envisioning, nevertheless i quickly arrived at the conclusion which i could build it to appear and perform better, for cheaper.
I have got some basic LED knowledge from building a light for my reef aquarium. Oddly enough I do believe that 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 and such while testing my arduino and also other gadgets. I am just still in no way a specialist…
With LEDs you must keep several things under consideration. Namely, LED type & placement, power, thermal management, and color.
LED Type & Placement:
LED under cabinet lighting could be separated 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 offer a more dramatic lighting source with varying intensities that get started really high when you’re right beneath the light fading out as you move further out of the light.
I went through several designs for both and found that typically strip lights use smaller SMD LEDs mounted on a lengthy, thin PCB or flex tape. These are typically nice, low-profile options, however, I discovered which they aren’t nearly as intense as single lights. Basically If I were to do a strip light application using LEDs I would personally use 2 rows to get enough light. Using 2 rows increased the cost significantly though.
I wound up settling on high power 3W LEDs, just like just what are commonly used in reef lighting, specifically the CREE XT-E LED. They can be very versatile, installed out a great deal of light and there are many drivers that are ideal for powering this particular 12 volt led lights, especially in order to get fancy with dimming (many support -10v dimming along with PWM dimming). The main part is becoming the spacing ability to avoid shadows and to achieve the right thermal setup. I experimented a great deal and decided how the best light was if the LEDs were spaced evenly apart beneath the cabinets about 12″ on center. More LEDs than 25dexupky and i also could possibly be wasting efficiency (because I would turn out dimming it most of the time). Less LEDs than i might be sacrificing some of the practical task lighting.
For power I went with 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 complete forward voltage (I used 11 LEDs so 3×11=33v) and be sure the driver you acquire supports that voltage at whatever current you would like. 700mA is a superb level of current because it comes with a good efficiency but the LEDs won’t get as hot. The LEDs are rated to greater than that, and even though they generally do get brighter the better current you feed them, they have a lot hotter and also the efficiency drops too. I made the decision to utilize a reliable inventronics 40W driver.
A fantastic point about this driver (and several others too) is the fact it’s scalable. In line with the datasheet @ 700mA it outputs at the least 18v plus a maximum of 54v. Because of this if you have 3v LEDs you may safely use at least 6 LEDs as well as a maximum of 17 LEDs or so (you will want little wiggle room at the very top range). By using the spacing I described above you can light any where from 6 to 17 linear feet of counter top! When you still require more LEDs than that, don’t worry. Just choose a constant current driver that supports the voltage range you need. Just take your LED voltage at the current you want and multiply it with the # of LEDs you need 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 the LEDs.
Thermal management will be important in an increased power LED array, and while I assumed about simply using aluminum channel or flat bar from your own home depot I ended up with a far more elegant (plus more effective) solution that didn’t cost any more. I spent lots of time in search of heatsinks even though I stumbled upon a bunch, they mostly came from China or these folks were too tall for my application (I just have 3/4″ under my cabinets). I wound up deciding try using a really nifty looking circular heatsink which was designed for use with LEDs. An average CPU style heatsink wouldn’t operate in this application as the heatsink must be facing wood, which means this design is ideal to obtain enough airflow. On top of that, you may get this heatsink in numerous different heights, with no drilling is needed to mount the under cabinet led lighting or perhaps the heatsink to the underside of the cabinet! It’s the Ohmite model SA-LED-113E.
Let’s not forget about color! This has become the most important… I might deal with those crappy halogen pucks before I decided a fluorescent light just for this exact reason. The hue temperature will dictate the mood of your lighting as well as how good or bad things look underneath them. Imagine you’re preparing some food around the counter and also the broccoli looks brown… You’re not likely to want to eat that. Now imaging looking at broccoli seems neat and bright green, just like you just harvested it. That’s the power of selecting the right color light.
Warm white will 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 the highest CRI (color rendering index) and IMO things look most true alive under this color lighting. I made a decision to remain about the slightly cooler end of your spectrum though, since i have don’t have lots of windows. I picked 3250k LEDs which I found correlate quite well to the “soft white” compact fluorescent bulbs which i utilize in the ceiling lights. On that note you have to make an effort to match the hue of your own under cabinet lights to the other lights inside your kitchen or it would look funny. So you would either are looking for the proper color LEDs or you’ll should change out your other lights in your kitchen.
So those are fundamentally the principles I used to design the machine. Based on your space you may need to tweak some things, having said that i things i created has worked out really Rather well in my view and then for my purposes.