Diode LED tape lights

Kristen HallockMay 23, 2013

I was just at a local lighting store and looking at their showroom for under cabinet lighting. They had Diode LED tape lights. The woman gave us a rough estimate on cost and it was going to be about $800 for the driver and enough lights to do the following cabinet lengths: 33" cab, 30" cab, 24" corner cab, 15" cab, 24" cab, 27" cab.

I thought I would look around online for the same thing since I bet it will be cheaper.

I've found the Diode LED tape lights, but I cant seem to find the little clear plastic track that they put them in at the store. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? It was flat on the sides with a groove in the middle that was about .25" deep where the tape light fit into.

Am I right in thinking that I can get the same lights cheaper online?

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Sometimes, yes.

However, you would also have to buy the power supply, ...

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 3:52PM
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Kristen Hallock

Yes, i realize you need the power supply. thats the driver they talked about at the store, right?

But I'm still wondering if you'd save a decent amount buying it online.

What about the tape light covers?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 4:08PM
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Covers are not usually used since the tape body already encapsulates the LED elements and would reduce the light output.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 5:43PM
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Kristen Hallock

So how do you stick the tape light to the bottom of cabinets? I realize it has adhesive on it, but does it really stick?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 8:09PM
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I don't think that I would rely on the tape to stick forever.

You might use something like the linked item.

Someone on Amazon screwed a polycarbonate strip
over LED tape strips to hold them in place.

You can buy "waterproof" reels of LED tape, which have an epoxy layer over them to provide protection. They also have some "waterproof" ones that come in a silicone sleeve instead of epoxy, but a quick check didn't show any of the brighter ones that you would want for task lighting. For my ceiling cove lighting, I'm just using the lower brightness, naked strips -- I may just stick them, since gravity will help keep them in place. I used fluorescent under the cabinets, so I'm no help there.

Here is a link that might be useful: mounting bracket

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 8:49PM
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Yes, actually.
as a lighting control designer, we often contact led lights factories, and the cost is much cheaper (but we dont manufacture lights,we focus on lighting control). if you dont mind, check this tape light out. btw, we r in china.

Here is a link that might be useful: tape light

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 10:55PM
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You could use the mounting bracket as suggested by attofarad or you could get a channel holder like the one you saw in the lighting store.

Higher output LEDs tend to come with an aluminum strip backing which also helps with heat dissipation.

I'd recommend pricing out both low voltage and direct wire solutions.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 11:48PM
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Not sure what the advantage of a cover really is if you cannot see it. The5050 diode light angle is 120 degrees so recessing them in a channel w cover seems to cut the angle down from a broad to a focused strip which doesn't seem as desirable. Depends on what you are wanting.

The 5050 "waterproof" diodes are covered in a plastic material. If you get the strip with the leds exposed then a cover would protect it from airborne cooking oils and cleaning chemicals.

I guess the cover would be helpful when the 3M tape starts loosing to the effects of gravity over time. a few dabs of guerrilla glue would repair the tape issue down the road.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 12:08AM
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Kristen Hallock


I did look at some direct wire solutions. We saw some sort of Cree undercabinet lighting yesterday too. It was LED too and it was a self contained unit that came in copper/white/stainless finishes. You direct wired it in and it ran off a switch on the wall or a switch right on the unit itself. I liked those, but my husband did not. He does not want something so bulky under the cabinets.

What are some options if he wants to have low-voltage? And wants something very low profile and unobtrusive? SHould we go with tape lights?

What about the Premium Modular LED lights from Environmental Lights? How are those?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 8:45AM
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Did you take a look at the LED UCL thread and continuation?

The primary strip discussed were the LED lights from environmental lights.com. Similar strips (same 3 pin, polarity neutral connection) are available from other sources - noralighting, superbrightleds, ...

The strip has since been upgraded.

The thread also covers the pros and cons of going with either low or line voltage

Here is a link that might be useful: LED UCL discussion

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 12:28PM
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Kristen Hallock

Yes, I did peruse it a bit. I'm not familiar with wiring though so alot of it doesnt make much sense to me. My job is to find the UCL at the best price and then give it to my husband to install. I did get a price from Environmental Lights on their low profile bars and it was 1/2 what the local place wanted to sell me. But I am worried she is giving me the wrong size light bars. She said 3 20" bars and 5 12" bars. But my cabinet sizes are 33",30",24" corner cabinet, 15", 24" and 27" so it seems to me that I should get the following

33" cabinet - 1 20" bar
30" cabinet - 1 20" bar
24" corner - 2 12" bars
15" cabinet - 1 12" bar
24" cabinet - 1 20" bar,
27" cabinet - 1 20" bar

so I am coming up with 4 20" bars and 3 12" bars. She also said that each light bar comes with a 40" interconnecting cable. And if I wanted smaller cables then she could adjust the materials list. But I dont know what size cables. Are those cables just to connect light bars together? I would only want to do that on adjacent cabinets, right? Sorry I am clueless!

I have 3 different sections of cabinets to put on the same switch. there are some gaps from windows and the range hood. Do the 3 sections connect to the power supply with different wires? I wish my husband cared more to research this stuff with me, but he just wants me to find what I want and then give it to him to install.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 12:43PM
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33" cabinet - 1 x 20" + 1 x 12"
27" cabinet - 2 x 12"

Corner cabinet - bars should be placed at a right angle to avoid the shadow effect.

Do your cabinets have flat bottoms without intervening styles?

Yes, the 3 sections will connect to the power supply with 3 separate wires as shown in the diagram on the UCL continuation thread.

You could e-mail me offline.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 2:22PM
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