Author Topic: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting  (Read 3448 times)

jane x

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Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« on: April 03, 2018, 04:25:45 PM »
I was all set to put in some spot lights in my upper cabs with glass doors and some undercabinet lighting as well.  Then we priced it out.  What the heck?!!!

I'm really blown away by the prices.  Please share any experience you have with this, along with pros and cons. 

MrSal

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2018, 05:28:30 PM »
I was all set to put in some spot lights in my upper cabs with glass doors and some undercabinet lighting as well.  Then we priced it out.  What the heck?!!!

I'm really blown away by the prices.  Please share any experience you have with this, along with pros and cons.

I experienced the same... however I came up with a solution.

Went to Lowes and bought these:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Utilitech-3-Pack-2-66-in-Plug-in-Puck-Lights/1000086099

They are plug-in to the outlet lights. I just spliced the chord and made a circuit for the lights and connected them to a switch that feeds electrical power.

Actually the version they sell now is much better than the ones i bought - previously EACH light had its own plug!! now, they have made it that each light connects to the adjacent light... which is much easier.

It took me a couple hours to do that myself - cutting each chord and using connectors ...

See here:










It cost me essentially about 50$ for a total of 9-10 puck lights ... i used Lowes coupons. Again, the new version of the lights - my version was discontinued - enables you to skip the first picture shenanigans that i had to go through. All you need is just making the connection to the switch.

lthenderson

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2018, 07:29:55 AM »
I used modular LED bar lights like what is linked below.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AJSJWKM/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Like the person above mentioned, they daisy chain together and then the end one plugs into an outlet run by a light switch. They simply screw to the underneath side of the cabinet behind the edge of the face frame so they are invisible and you don't have to drill big holes in the bottom of your cabinet. I did have to drill holes between the cabinet frames to daisy chain them but all holes were invisible unless you stuck your head under the cabinet. I went with bars versus pucks because I was worried about the pucks being too much like a spot light but the picture above shows that the pucks look pretty nice. The bar lights do provide a slightly more even light underneath but in appearance only. I'm sure the puck lights work just as well.

Dicey

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2018, 08:08:01 AM »

sokoloff

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2018, 08:13:31 AM »
I installed the "LightKiwi T4460 Under Cabinet LED lights" and am very, very happy with the results 4 years later. (Not an affiliate link, and I have no connection to the company.)

Jon Bon

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2018, 08:40:47 AM »
Lets be honest with ourselves.... are under cabinet lights simply a fad?

Full disclosure, I like them and would probably install in my kitchen if/when I remodel. But Like trash compactors (80s) Oak Cabinets (90's) and Pot fillers and waterfall counter-tops (today)I do think this is a rather faddish design. Am I wrong? are they here to stay? Tell me why?


Cromacster

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2018, 08:51:18 AM »
Lets be honest with ourselves.... are under cabinet lights simply a fad?

Full disclosure, I like them and would probably install in my kitchen if/when I remodel. But Like trash compactors (80s) Oak Cabinets (90's) and Pot fillers and waterfall counter-tops (today)I do think this is a rather faddish design. Am I wrong? are they here to stay? Tell me why?

I don't think so.  They add useful light to kitchen work areas.  They can also be used to create an ambiance with dimming or even RGB LED.

And if it turns out to be a fad, you cant see them as long as you don't turn them on.

MrSal

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2018, 09:34:28 AM »
Lets be honest with ourselves.... are under cabinet lights simply a fad?

Full disclosure, I like them and would probably install in my kitchen if/when I remodel. But Like trash compactors (80s) Oak Cabinets (90's) and Pot fillers and waterfall counter-tops (today)I do think this is a rather faddish design. Am I wrong? are they here to stay? Tell me why?

All my family's kitchens have had under cabinet lighting since the 60s ... not a fad they are just useful.

radram

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2018, 09:38:20 AM »
What dimmer switches have people selected?

jane x

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2018, 11:04:59 AM »
Lots of ideas here, thank you!

Glad to see we don't have to spend many hundreds of dollars on this.  I"m going to have dh look at this and pop over to Lowe's and HD.  I figured Ikea would be cheap, but not so. 

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2018, 02:19:43 PM »
Lets be honest with ourselves.... are under cabinet lights simply a fad?

Full disclosure, I like them and would probably install in my kitchen if/when I remodel. But Like trash compactors (80s) Oak Cabinets (90's) and Pot fillers and waterfall counter-tops (today)I do think this is a rather faddish design. Am I wrong? are they here to stay? Tell me why?

If you have them when your over 60, they will not seem to be a fad.  They will seem like a luxury you're glad you bothered getting.

hdatontodo

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2018, 02:27:12 PM »
Not a fad.

A large central ceiling light causes your body's shadow to dim what you are working on.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2018, 05:43:25 PM »
Lets be honest with ourselves.... are under cabinet lights simply a fad?

Full disclosure, I like them and would probably install in my kitchen if/when I remodel. But Like trash compactors (80s) Oak Cabinets (90's) and Pot fillers and waterfall counter-tops (today)I do think this is a rather faddish design. Am I wrong? are they here to stay? Tell me why?

Every kitchen I have ever used without under-cabinet lighting has had insufficient lighting on the back half of the counters.

Also, I can recall seeming under cabinet lighting at least into the 90s.

If they turn out to be a fad, I think they will be a fad in the same way that stainless steel appliances are a fad.

nereo

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2018, 05:55:05 PM »
Lets be honest with ourselves.... are under cabinet lights simply a fad?

Full disclosure, I like them and would probably install in my kitchen if/when I remodel. But Like trash compactors (80s) Oak Cabinets (90's) and Pot fillers and waterfall counter-tops (today)I do think this is a rather faddish design. Am I wrong? are they here to stay? Tell me why?

To me they are the most useful lights in the kitchen, and maybe in my entire home (given that we spend more time awake in that room than any other). As others have said they provide very useful light for chop/prep, and illuminate the otherwise dark corners.  Its not uncommon for me to have those on and leave the overhead lights off during daylight hours.

OP - I used and recommend the tape lights similar to what Dicey recommended.  You can cut the tape at any length and splice tapes together to go around corners.  LED tape is so thin (< 1/4") that its completely hidden under the lip of the upper cabinets when installed about an inch from the edge (unless you are extremely short or sitting on the floor). I put in about 10 linear feet of LED tape light for $50 or so a few years ago.  I see now that prices have come down and you could probably do it for <$30.

Be aware of what color-temperature you want for your lights.  2700k-3000k will be a warm glow similar to incandecent bulbs.  4000k-6000k will look bright white (almost white-blue at the higher end).  Up to you and the style of your kticehn what looks best.

Mongoose

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2018, 06:57:33 PM »
We got a strip of LED lights from Home Depot that comes with a remote. If we didn't have young kids, we would've gone with the less expensive version also from there but we got the fancy ones that can change color. It's fun for the kiddos and definitely an inexpensive fix for an area that needed light.

jane x

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2018, 07:48:04 PM »
If these are so cheap and easy to install from places like Home Depot, why does Ikea sell their very expensive and complex systems?  Am I missing something?

nereo

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2018, 05:07:15 AM »
If these are so cheap and easy to install from places like Home Depot, why does Ikea sell their very expensive and complex systems?  Am I missing something?

Two different business models aimed at different sets of people.  Ikea* makes sure their products can be assembled even by people who are uncomfortable swinging a hammer and own zero tools.  Home Depot covers everything from casual DIYers to contractors building homes from scratch.
The Ikea stuff is all plug-in-play (to borrow a computer term). You could literally use velcro-tape for adhesion and a pair of scissors and be done with it. Think of it like a lamp; you plug it in and it turns on --- and it has a big markup in price ($).

Specifically regarding LED lights, the stuff sold at HD or Lowes isn't much more complicated, but you have to cut the LED tape to size and puck-lights involve drilling some screws and whatnot.  It works just as well (better, IMO, because you have more control over the length), but because HD normally deals with contractors for much of its business (and thrifty DIYers) it has a more narrow profit margin, so the same absic components are cheaper.  Note that this is true for the vast majority of stuff it sells vs Ikea.

Then there's the stuff sold on Amazon, often from overseas.  It's super cheap because there's no middle-man, no stores, and warranty claims take a leap of faith.

Cranky

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2018, 05:44:30 AM »
We bought battery operated LED under cabinet lights and stuck them under the cabinets. It's been 2 years and I haven't needed to change the batteries yet, but I don't really use them very often.

dcozad999

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2018, 08:10:20 AM »
We got a strip of LED lights from Home Depot that comes with a remote. If we didn't have young kids, we would've gone with the less expensive version also from there but we got the fancy ones that can change color. It's fun for the kiddos and definitely an inexpensive fix for an area that needed light.

Can you post a link please? Very interested.

jane x

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2018, 09:20:46 AM »
If these are so cheap and easy to install from places like Home Depot, why does Ikea sell their very expensive and complex systems?  Am I missing something?

Two different business models aimed at different sets of people.  Ikea* makes sure their products can be assembled even by people who are uncomfortable swinging a hammer and own zero tools.  Home Depot covers everything from casual DIYers to contractors building homes from scratch.
The Ikea stuff is all plug-in-play (to borrow a computer term). You could literally use velcro-tape for adhesion and a pair of scissors and be done with it. Think of it like a lamp; you plug it in and it turns on --- and it has a big markup in price ($).

Specifically regarding LED lights, the stuff sold at HD or Lowes isn't much more complicated, but you have to cut the LED tape to size and puck-lights involve drilling some screws and whatnot.  It works just as well (better, IMO, because you have more control over the length), but because HD normally deals with contractors for much of its business (and thrifty DIYers) it has a more narrow profit margin, so the same absic components are cheaper.  Note that this is true for the vast majority of stuff it sells vs Ikea.

Then there's the stuff sold on Amazon, often from overseas.  It's super cheap because there's no middle-man, no stores, and warranty claims take a leap of faith.

Thank you @nereo - that helps a lot.  I've been looking at quartz counters from Ikea and the price seems good ($53-$69 per sq ft for the ones I like).  I've been assuming that Ikea would be cheaper due to volume pricing, like Costco.  But now you have me thinking.  I'm going to get a quote from HD as well. 

Re lights - dh is pretty handy, and although he hasn't done this type before, he can do most basic electrical stuff.  We'll go check out HD and Lowe's. 

I saw Costco has a package online but it seems a bit much (49 colors to choose from? 9 light patterns?) and am worried that it's all flash rather than substance: https://www.costco.com/Winplus-App-Controlled-Smart-LED-Light-Strip-Home-Kit.product.100337464.html

BlueHouse

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2018, 10:00:18 AM »
I bought these: 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BCR87BE/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

My kitchen is [2 cabinets__Stove/Microwave__2 cabinets]

I installed two lights under each cabinet, daisy chained them together, then drilled a tiny hole in the bottom of the cabinet, ran it up the inside and drilled another hole through the cabinet to the cabinet over the microwave.  There, the microwave is plugged into a dedicated plug.  I added a power strip up there, plugged the microwave and the two light cords (one from each section of cabinets) in and done!  They're very low profile, and dimmable. 

The power strip I chose was a fancy one -- it has 2 spots which are always on and 3 that can be turned on/off with a remote.  So I plugged the microwave into the "Always on" spot and the lights into the the remote-controlled plugs.  Unfortunately, because the lights are also dimmable, whenever I cut power to the power cord, then the lights reset to "off" instead of their last setting.  So I do end up having to reach under the counter and push a button.  It's not really that difficult though!

p.s.  I did the math ahead of time and made sure that the power strip/surge protector + LED lights + microwave didn't exceed the limits of the dedicated outlet.  I think the lights + surge protector added 4 amps or something.  I also asked some electrical engineers and an actual electrician if my plan was okay and they all said the same thing:  Should be fine.  If it trips a breaker or the surge protector, then come up with a different plan.  It has never tripped either. 

jane x

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2018, 10:23:25 AM »
I bought these: 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BCR87BE/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

My kitchen is [2 cabinets__Stove/Microwave__2 cabinets]

I installed two lights under each cabinet, daisy chained them together, then drilled a tiny hole in the bottom of the cabinet, ran it up the inside and drilled another hole through the cabinet to the cabinet over the microwave.  There, the microwave is plugged into a dedicated plug.  I added a power strip up there, plugged the microwave and the two light cords (one from each section of cabinets) in and done!  They're very low profile, and dimmable. 

The power strip I chose was a fancy one -- it has 2 spots which are always on and 3 that can be turned on/off with a remote.  So I plugged the microwave into the "Always on" spot and the lights into the the remote-controlled plugs.  Unfortunately, because the lights are also dimmable, whenever I cut power to the power cord, then the lights reset to "off" instead of their last setting.  So I do end up having to reach under the counter and push a button.  It's not really that difficult though!

p.s.  I did the math ahead of time and made sure that the power strip/surge protector + LED lights + microwave didn't exceed the limits of the dedicated outlet.  I think the lights + surge protector added 4 amps or something.  I also asked some electrical engineers and an actual electrician if my plan was okay and they all said the same thing:  Should be fine.  If it trips a breaker or the surge protector, then come up with a different plan.  It has never tripped either.

@BlueHouse - did you attach two of the 12" lights under each cabinet?  And how wide are your cabs?  The display at Ikea had the lights along the whole length of the cab.  If I do that I would need 90" of strip lights.  That means I would need 2 packages of lights.  Is that correct?

BlueHouse

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2018, 10:34:12 AM »
I bought these: 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BCR87BE/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

My kitchen is [2 cabinets__Stove/Microwave__2 cabinets]

I installed two lights under each cabinet, daisy chained them together, then drilled a tiny hole in the bottom of the cabinet, ran it up the inside and drilled another hole through the cabinet to the cabinet over the microwave.  There, the microwave is plugged into a dedicated plug.  I added a power strip up there, plugged the microwave and the two light cords (one from each section of cabinets) in and done!  They're very low profile, and dimmable. 

The power strip I chose was a fancy one -- it has 2 spots which are always on and 3 that can be turned on/off with a remote.  So I plugged the microwave into the "Always on" spot and the lights into the the remote-controlled plugs.  Unfortunately, because the lights are also dimmable, whenever I cut power to the power cord, then the lights reset to "off" instead of their last setting.  So I do end up having to reach under the counter and push a button.  It's not really that difficult though!

p.s.  I did the math ahead of time and made sure that the power strip/surge protector + LED lights + microwave didn't exceed the limits of the dedicated outlet.  I think the lights + surge protector added 4 amps or something.  I also asked some electrical engineers and an actual electrician if my plan was okay and they all said the same thing:  Should be fine.  If it trips a breaker or the surge protector, then come up with a different plan.  It has never tripped either.

@BlueHouse - did you attach two of the 12" lights under each cabinet?  And how wide are your cabs?  The display at Ikea had the lights along the whole length of the cab.  If I do that I would need 90" of strip lights.  That means I would need 2 packages of lights.  Is that correct?
Yes, my cabinets are wide.  I installed two under each cabinet * 2 for two cabinets on each side * 2 sides.  So I needed 8 strips total, 4 modular connectors total, 2 interconnect cables , and two dimmer switches, and two power supplies. 
So the layout was like this:

[light stip1 | modular connector1 | light strip2 | interconnect cable (to jump to the next cabinet) | light strip3 | Modular Connector 2 |Light Strip 4 | dimmer switch (screwed to underside of cabinet) | hole to inside of cabinet....Power suppy...hole to inside of upper micro cabinet ...Surge protector]

Then I did the exact same thing on the other side of the microwave. 

wish I were home, I'd take a photo.  I was surprised by how easy and DIY it was. 

jane x

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2018, 11:08:43 AM »
I bought these: 
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BCR87BE/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

My kitchen is [2 cabinets__Stove/Microwave__2 cabinets]

I installed two lights under each cabinet, daisy chained them together, then drilled a tiny hole in the bottom of the cabinet, ran it up the inside and drilled another hole through the cabinet to the cabinet over the microwave.  There, the microwave is plugged into a dedicated plug.  I added a power strip up there, plugged the microwave and the two light cords (one from each section of cabinets) in and done!  They're very low profile, and dimmable. 

The power strip I chose was a fancy one -- it has 2 spots which are always on and 3 that can be turned on/off with a remote.  So I plugged the microwave into the "Always on" spot and the lights into the the remote-controlled plugs.  Unfortunately, because the lights are also dimmable, whenever I cut power to the power cord, then the lights reset to "off" instead of their last setting.  So I do end up having to reach under the counter and push a button.  It's not really that difficult though!

p.s.  I did the math ahead of time and made sure that the power strip/surge protector + LED lights + microwave didn't exceed the limits of the dedicated outlet.  I think the lights + surge protector added 4 amps or something.  I also asked some electrical engineers and an actual electrician if my plan was okay and they all said the same thing:  Should be fine.  If it trips a breaker or the surge protector, then come up with a different plan.  It has never tripped either.

@BlueHouse - did you attach two of the 12" lights under each cabinet?  And how wide are your cabs?  The display at Ikea had the lights along the whole length of the cab.  If I do that I would need 90" of strip lights.  That means I would need 2 packages of lights.  Is that correct?
Yes, my cabinets are wide.  I installed two under each cabinet * 2 for two cabinets on each side * 2 sides.  So I needed 8 strips total, 4 modular connectors total, 2 interconnect cables , and two dimmer switches, and two power supplies. 
So the layout was like this:

[light stip1 | modular connector1 | light strip2 | interconnect cable (to jump to the next cabinet) | light strip3 | Modular Connector 2 |Light Strip 4 | dimmer switch (screwed to underside of cabinet) | hole to inside of cabinet....Power suppy...hole to inside of upper micro cabinet ...Surge protector]

Then I did the exact same thing on the other side of the microwave. 

wish I were home, I'd take a photo.  I was surprised by how easy and DIY it was.

Thanks - that helps a lot.  This would be way cheaper than Ikea.

Radagast

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2018, 01:34:41 PM »
LED lights now come in easy to install tape. There are even dimmable options. Cheap, too. This is just the first hit I got:

We are totally doing this in our next flip project.

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=led+tape+light+kit&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&hvadid=174273051766&hvpos=1t2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=6720693449620576268&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=t&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9032015&hvtargid=kwd-21495572954&ref=pd_sl_3g1b11kv8_e
This type of thing is what I used. It is super convenient to cut off with scissors and rejoin with splices to make any length you want. It does have exposed LEDs and copper along its entire length, so it may not look quite as good in spaces that are trying to be high-end. Highly recommended.

Lets be honest with ourselves.... are under cabinet lights simply a fad?

Full disclosure, I like them and would probably install in my kitchen if/when I remodel. But Like trash compactors (80s) Oak Cabinets (90's) and Pot fillers and waterfall counter-tops (today)I do think this is a rather faddish design. Am I wrong? are they here to stay? Tell me why?
Not a fad. They put the most light on the spaces where it is most useful, and look really amazing on top of that. Turning them on lights up our dim countertops like a small miracle when you hit the switch. At the very worst nobody will ever regret having them

bgsnyder

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2018, 01:49:14 PM »
I did above, under, and baseboard with RGB led strips. I can choose whatever color I want or have it fade. https://photos.app.goo.gl/SfqBDZbXLFP08hO23

Radagast

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2018, 02:00:31 PM »
I did above, under, and baseboard with RGB led strips. I can choose whatever color I want or have it fade. https://photos.app.goo.gl/SfqBDZbXLFP08hO23
Yeah those are cool too. I decided warm white was all I needed for my kitchen, but my brother made a sweet lamp with the color changing type.

sokoloff

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2018, 02:27:24 PM »
p.s.  I did the math ahead of time and made sure that the power strip/surge protector + LED lights + microwave didn't exceed the limits of the dedicated outlet.  I think the lights + surge protector added 4 amps or something.  I also asked some electrical engineers and an actual electrician if my plan was okay and they all said the same thing:  Should be fine.  If it trips a breaker or the surge protector, then come up with a different plan.  It has never tripped either.
Those lights are 3 watts each, on a 12 watt power supply. 12 Watts from 120VAC is 0.1 Amps. The surge protector adds 0 Amps of load. If the breaker doesn't trip on the microwave, it's not going to trip on the microwave plus 0.1 Amps. :)

BlueHouse

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Re: Talk to me about Cabinet and Undercabinet Lighting
« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2018, 06:02:14 AM »
p.s.  I did the math ahead of time and made sure that the power strip/surge protector + LED lights + microwave didn't exceed the limits of the dedicated outlet.  I think the lights + surge protector added 4 amps or something.  I also asked some electrical engineers and an actual electrician if my plan was okay and they all said the same thing:  Should be fine.  If it trips a breaker or the surge protector, then come up with a different plan.  It has never tripped either.
Those lights are 3 watts each, on a 12 watt power supply. 12 Watts from 120VAC is 0.1 Amps. The surge protector adds 0 Amps of load. If the breaker doesn't trip on the microwave, it's not going to trip on the microwave plus 0.1 Amps. :)

Thanks sokoloff -- that seems consistent with what people told me previously.  But I can never seem to remember the important details like that.  I like hearing it multiple times, maybe one day it will stick! :)