led undercabinet - too bright?

numbersjunkieAugust 10, 2010

I am looking at LED undercabinet lights. I found a brand (Talea) that offers the lengths I need to get full coverage without gaps, but they are a bit pricey and seem like they may be TOO bright - 1 watt high efficacy LEDs every 1.5". The lumens for a 28" bar would be about 750-1000, which they say is equiv to a 90 W halogen bulb. The wattage also seems high - 19 (12VDC).

They do offer half density power strips but not in all the lengths I need. The CS person I am dealing with says these lights dim very smoothly to 0%.

Just not sure about spending so much for lights that will be super bright (even if they are dimmable). The cost for 210" of lights is $1500 (light bars only).

Any thoughts or suggestions?

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David

That's the reason why I did not choose Talea.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 7:32PM
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ladyish2

I couldn't deside on undercabinet lighting..I was looking at the Xenon ones. My husband talked me into looking that the Ikea LED lights strips... and I Really really like them. I love that they are cool to the touch. We put 2 packages together, they are thin you don't see them unless they are on. For the money...they are great. We put them in the kitchen remodel in 07 ... I'm amazed at how many more LED light choices there are now.

DIODER
Lighting strip
$49.99 / 4 pack

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 4:15PM
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DavidR

"The wattage also seems high ..."

I'll say. If they really do produce 750 lumens, that would be 39 l/W.

This is one of LEDs' ugly secrets. Many of them are just not as efficient as their reputation would suggest. Some cheap ones barely surpass good incandescents' efficacy. Caveat emptor.

If efficiency is your goal, good fluorescent lights will roughly double those efficacy numbers.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 7:43PM
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willtv

Check out Emeralight LEDs. I'm about to install them in my almost completed kitchen remodel. They're available in both warm and cool white and at $20 per foot and are much more reasonably priced. They'll make them to any length you need in 1 inch increments.

Check the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Emeralight

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 8:25PM
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numbersjunkie

The Emeralight product does not appear to be dimmable, which is one of my requirements. Still looking....

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 2:21PM
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marcydc

Check environmentallighting.com . Their's is dimmable and less expense. I just put mine in and they look great (although the dimmer is not in yet so I can't say how well they dim!).

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 1:40AM
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willtv

Emeralights are dimmable if you get the 60W dimmable power supply which is what I did. They'll be installed in the next 2 weeks. I'll post an update.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 9:21PM
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numbersjunkie

I'm so confused. I read a paper put out by a major university that says you need 500 lumens for task lighting. Almost none of the lights I am finding offer that kind of output. I'd rather have the high output and be able to dim it if necessary than have something that isn't bright enough.

Also, few give the CRI rating (or it is too low for comfort). The last think I want to do is save a few bucks on a light that will make my very expensive kitchen countertop and backsplash look bad.

So far, the best thing I have found is the ruler light by American - cheaper and thinner than Talea and it has a CRI over 80. They also have the sizes I need to avoid large gaps.

Anyone have the American Lighting ruler lights?

Here is a link that might be useful: LED Cabinet Recommendations

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 7:13PM
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David

35 lumens per sq ft is pretty good for general kitchen lighting. The 500 lumen mentioned does not really account for the area. 500 lumens / ft will be very bright, especially for a near light source.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 1:18AM
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numbersjunkie

davidtay - What do you mean by "the 500 lumen mentioned does not really account for the area". The article was specifically focused on kitchen undercabinet lighting. It says "The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America recommends a light level of 500 lux (a unit of light measurement) on kitchen counters for critical tasks such as cooking and chopping." Is 500 lux different from 500 lumen? So confusing....

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 1:29PM
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David

500 lux is not the same as 500 lumens.

500 lux is ~ 46 lumens per sq ft.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 11:32PM
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DavidR

I'm not familar with the unit "lumens per square foot." As I understand it, Lumens is a measure of luminous flux and does not depend on the area illuminated. Or are you thinking of something else?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 1:49PM
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David

The difference between the units lumen and lux is that the lux takes into account the area over which the luminous flux is spread. A flux of 1000 lumens, concentrated into an area of one square metre, lights up that square metre with an illuminance of 1000 lux. The same 1000 lumens, spread out over ten square metres, produces a dimmer illuminance of only 100 lux. Mathematically, 1 lx = 1 lm/m2.

Here is a link that might be useful: lumen vs lux vs candela

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 11:22PM
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sara_in_philly

willtv -- Have you installed the LED light yet? How does the dimming function work? Looking forward to your update. Emeralights' custom length is very appealing to me.

Davidtay -- It's good to see you here. I am still struggling with the length of the LED bars, Emeralights' custom length seems very attractive. Is heat sink a concern for LED light bar? I notice that Emeralights uses plastic housing while others use aluminum.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 7:01AM
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David

Sara,

Not necessarily. The generic LED strips sold by environmentallights, photonier, superbrightleds, ... don't need extensive heat sinking either. The aluminium backing serves 3 purposes - heat sink, stiff backing, customer appeal.

On the other hand, some LED strips I've touched at Lowes seem to need it.

These days, you can get led strip lights on a pcb (printed circuit board) roll.

Most led strips are cuttable at specific points (~ 2" - 3" intervals). This also includes the generic LED strips from photonier.

Some strips are polarity sensitive while others are not (eg - The generic LED strips sold by environmentallights, photonier, superbrightleds). Those that are could stop working when connected the wrong way around.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 10:36AM
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sara_in_philly

Thank you David!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 10:55AM
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willtv

sara,

The Emeralights are in and look great. They're plenty bright and generate virtually no heat. Unfortunately I purchased magnetic instead of electronic dimmers so the dimming function isn't working. My plan is to get the electronic units this weekend. I'll post an update when it's all up and running.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 10:04PM
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sara_in_philly

Willtv -- Don't know why I didn't see your posting until now. Thanks for the update! Glad to hear that LED light is working out for you. Magnetic dimmer didn't work? I wonder why? Have you got the electronic dimmer yet? Is it working now?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 3:51PM
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sara_in_philly

Willtv -- One more question, where did you buy Emeralights LED? There website does seem to have any function that you can buy from them. Also where did you get your transformer? What kind?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 4:12PM
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sara_in_philly

Repost the last question, too many typos.

Willtv -- One more question, where did you buy Emeralights LED? Their website doesn't seem to have any function that allows you to buy from them. Also where did you get your transformer? What kind?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 6:55PM
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willtv

Sara,

Well, it turns out that the tranformer I purchsed is not dimmable with a conventional wall mounted dimmer. It requires a PWM circuit, which I'm not going to build. I called Meanwell, who makes the transformer, and was told that they are about to release a new model that will work with an electronic low voltage dimmer. So. I guess I'll just wait for it to be released. They said it should be out in the next 2 months. They are waiting for UL testing.

In the meantime the lights are working and look great. My plan is to use them as night light as well as task lighting so the dimming function can wait for a while.

As for Emeralights, you can't order directly from their website but you can call them to place an order. That's what I did. Below is a link to their contact page.

My countertops are being installed tomorrow. I'll post some pix after the install.

Here is a link that might be useful: Emeralights Contact Page

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 12:57PM
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sara_in_philly

Looking forwrd to seeing your pictures!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 6:22PM
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numbersjunkie

I'm still very confused about light levels.

Davidtay - you say 500 lux (as recommended in the Assist publication I linked above) = 46 lumens/sq ft. Most of the lights I am looking at do not specify lumens/sq ft, they just say lumens, but it varies by the length of the light strip. So I have assumed that the lumens for a 12" strip is what I should focus on.

Now although I am clearly confused, I do know that 46 lumens is way less than anything I am seeing, and cannot possibly provide enough task lighting for kitchen counters.

So can anyone please tell me how to translate the 500 lux recommendation into something I can apply to the specs I am seeing?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 12:20PM
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David

The question was answered above. Anyway
The difference between the units lumen and lux is that the lux takes into account the area over which the luminous flux is spread. A flux of 1000 lumens, concentrated into an area of one square metre, lights up that square metre with an illuminance of 1000 lux. The same 1000 lumens, spread out over ten square metres, produces a dimmer illuminance of only 100 lux. Mathematically, 1 lx = 1 lm/m2.

1 m = 3.28ft
1 sq m = 3.28 x 3.28 sq ft

If you do the calculation, 500 lux is approx 46 lumens per sq ft (Rounded to the nearest integer value).

There are quotes like 24 lumens per LED or 500 lumens per strip. You will need to do the conversion to lux.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 4:11PM
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numbersjunkie

With all due respect Davidtay, I did see your formulas, and I'm very good at math, but I'm still not getting it. What I need to know is what is the APPROXIMATE value of "x" such that an undercabinet lightfixture of length 12" and producing "x" lumens will generate at least 500 lux on a 12" section of counter located 18" directly below the light fixture?
Even if its just the math, can you please just humor me and solve for "x"? Is it approximately 150 lumens?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 4:39PM
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willtv

OK. Here are some pix of my emeralight.com UCs. The shots aren't the greatest but I think you'll get the idea. These were taken at 11am on a cloudy day so not much light coming through the windows. After the appliances are in I'll post better shots.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 5:12PM
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David

I would just take the rated lumens and divde it over the area directly underneath.

If you want to consider the distance, I don't have a formula on hand. I'll see if I can figure something.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 5:23PM
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David

If you do a direct conversion without accounting for the distance between the light source and the surface to be illuminated, you get 46.45152 lumens per sq ft.

Here is a link that might be useful: lux to lumens/ sq ft calculator

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 8:05PM
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numbersjunkie

Huh? LOL. I am an actuary and am reminded of a joke one of my clients used to tell me. Something about the information being totally accurate, but nevertheless useless.

I give up. think I will just go get Xenon lights that are cheaper and I can actually see them at my local lighting store...

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 8:29PM
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David

Taking the 12" neutral white from photonier/ env lights that has a rated output of 242 lumens.
The light output per sq ft is 242 lumens per sq ft. In terms of lux, it comes to ~ 2604 lux.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 10:41PM
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willtv

OK, the kitchen is done. Lights and all.

Thanks to davidtay and the rest of you for your invaluable lighting knowledge and guidance.

Here's a link to a little slideshow of the before and after. Pay close attention to the old lighting. Happily no one on this forum recommends it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Before & After

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 11:55AM
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David

Congratulations! The old lighting is unique /funky and interesting, though. Completely understandable why you did away with it.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 12:06PM
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DavidR

The old ceiling lights were really ugly, but I'll bet they actually lit the room more evenly.

I can't count them, but it appears that you had to use at least twice as many recessed lights, and they cast pools of light instead of lighting up the entire room. They're nice looking, if you like that sort of thing, but much less practical than pendants with translucent shades, surface mount fixtures, or (gasp!) linear fluorescents.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 3:59AM
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willinak

I think they look really nice. Now I'm wondering where to get LED's now. Seems like they're a moving target. SOme suppliers are not selling to non-business accounts, etc.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 1:03PM
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willtv

davidr, You're right. there were previously 6 bare bulbs in the kitchen an 1 indoor flood in the pantry. Now there are 12 recessed cans in the kitchen and 4 in the pantry. Certainly in the old kitchen there was more ambient light but as for asthetics, well there weren't any. The ceilings are 7.5 ft. so pendents aren't really an option except maybe over the sink.

I considered a flush mount or two but decided I like this look and feel better. As for getting the light where it's needed I think it worked out well.

willinak, The only LEDs I have are the UC lights. They're from emeralight.

Here's the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Emeralight.com

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 7:38PM
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willinak

Willtv, I did see you photo's, what a nice change. Do you know what color temp your LED's are?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 12:26AM
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willtv

willinak, Thanks. Mine are the 6500k. Emeralight was nice enough to send me a sample of each color temp in the form of a 6" strip. After seeing them I decided that the cooler color temp was for me.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 9:41AM
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willinak

willtv, Can you send me your contact at Emeralight? I'm having a bit of a problem reaching the appropriate person.
Thanks

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 2:46PM
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willtv

willinak, I spoke with a fellow named either Koko Anderson or Koko Andrews ( I forget which)

816.559-4415

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 1:25PM
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