direct wire under cabinet LED ribbon lights??

baltomom_gwJuly 13, 2013

I apologize if this is a naive question. I have read through several threads on UCL LED lighting, and I'm pretty confused by the options.

Here's my question: My electrician has put in wiring for UCL. I think it's one circuit (?), meaning there is a single switch that turns all UCL on and off at the same time. He is recommending LED ribbon lights for UCL. He says they are 3K lumens (if that's the correct term?), says they will be the same color as regular incandescent bulbs. That part is fine with me.

I looked on Amazon and found this for $13.88:

and this for $13.88:

and this for $160:

My electrician said that I would have to purchase the entire spool from him for $200, then he would cut the lights to fit under my cabinets, and they would be direct wired (he's already installed the wires). I don't know if there's a transformer involved or not, don't know if these are low voltage or not??

I told him I'd seen a spool of lights on Amazon for $13.88 that got great reviews, and he said his ribbon lights are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, hence the cost difference. He said his lights are only available "to the trade" and that they can't be installed DIY. (I am not DIYer, so that's OK with me).

Is my electrician just trying to make a nice profit on these lights, selling me a $14 product for $200??? Or is his spool similar to the $160 product above? I have no way of determining whether his "to the trade" spool is any better or even different from the $13.88 spools of lights on Amazon.

He lead me to believe that "his" lights would be direct wired, and not plug into an outlet, and that this makes them better than any "consumer" product. He also implied his lights are NOT low voltage, but I find this hard to believe since all the LED light tapes seem to be low voltage -- true??

I'm really confused by all this. I was leaning toward Juno LED boxes (don't know what they are called), simply because they look familiar (similar to the under cab lights I had in my old kitchen.)

If you can help explain this in simple language, please do. I have no soldering skills, no wiring skills, no experience with electricity, other than turning lights on or off! Please help me if you can. TIA.

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I understand what you are trying to say, but still i think you should agree with your electrician, he may be right because i too have got fixed this light similar to yours. But yes it was not so cheap nor higher for $200, it just costs $98.

I think you should inquire the same product from other electrician too..

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 6:46AM
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Thanks, Michael. I am getting annoyed with my electrician, but he's already done half the job so I think I have to stick with him.

I'm searching online, and really having trouble telling the difference between the quality of tape LED lights. They look the same -- what's the explanation for the price differences? Is it crazy markup because it's still new?

Remember when a GPS for your car cost $1,400? Then $700, and now they can be yours for $30 or so!

Has anyone used the Apollo Warm White Driverless LED strips? (And what is a "driver"? is that the same as a power supply? Is it something else? My head is spinning with all these unfamiliar terms!)

Here is a link that might be useful: Apollo driverless LED

    Bookmark   July 14, 2013 at 10:54AM
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Tape lights come in various lengths, power demand, output , ...

Driverless strips - this means that the driver (power supply) is integrated into the strip.

A power supply is always required to drive the LED lights - provide the appropriate current at the required voltage (for example 24V)

If you're dissatisfied with your electrician, perhaps it is time to get another. There is no point in exposing yourself to further risks.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 12:49AM
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I've called up the folks at solid apollo a few times and they've been willing to answer questions. Is their driverless model what your electrician is trying to sell you? Their driverless seem to have certain of which being longer runs than some other LED tap options. High lumens, and the lack of a seperate transformer that can fail also seems to me a slight advantage..but I'm far from an expert.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 5:00AM
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