bedroom cove lighting help needed

michoumonsterOctober 23, 2012

hi all, i wanted to get some recommendations on what to use for cove lighting in my master bedroom. our ceilings and coves will have no moldings and we will also have a few 4" recessed lights, so the cove lighting will be just for ambiance.

we have to abide by title 24, but i think just using dimmers would suffice for this.

is tape the way to go? contractor is installing, but we need to purchase all components. looking for the cheapest options right now. thank you!

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David

How would the cove lighting strips /tape be hidden from direct view if there are no moldings?

If you go with tape, it will most likely be low voltage which will require a power supply hidden somewhere and controlled by either a MLV or ELV dimmer.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 12:41PM
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michoumonster

Hi David,
i was hoping you would see this post! This is a pic of my kitchen and not my bedroom, but the coves are built the same way.
you had helped me with kitchen lighting earlier and I think i will go with the powercore or slimline T4s that you recommended since I need lots of light. But for the bedroom, i only need ambiance, so wanted to see if it would make more sense to go with something else?
the coves are fairly deep, so i am hoping the lights won't show. Our house has no moldings at all, so something super low profile would look best.
also, given the coves, wondering what beam angles I should look for?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 4:42PM
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David

Nice.

Cove lighting has to be quite bright to have an appreciable effect when you have some ambient lighting. At the very least, the space above should glow.

The lights do not need to be extremely low profile.
You could consider having dimmable lighting strips or even color changing strips.
The Philips website for the powercore lights has a number of tips buried in the data sheets which would be helpful for cove lighting.

Hope that helps

Here is a link that might be useful: Example sheet with info

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 10:55PM
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attofarad

I got some strips from an online source. Delivery was fast, no issues with quality observed (all good, all match in color). So far, I just hooked them up on the floor to try them out with the transformers and various dimmers. I got the $16/5 meter warm white ones, at about 54 lumens per foot. I will probably put a double strip of them, depending on how my in-cove tests look. My intent is to have enough light from them not to bump into things when traversing the kitchen/living room. 4000 lumens in the kitchen, 6400 in the living room, or half that with single strips. You can get the 12V DC power supply (transformer with full wave rectifier) from the same source.

As David suggested, there are also color-changing versions available, which could be cool.

Here is a link that might be useful: led source.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 11:51PM
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michoumonster

David, thanks for the info. the philips brochure did outline a few issues with
the leds that i guess the powercore solves. i just wish it was more cost-effective!
do you happen to know if the powercore EC is any good? the QLX is quite expensive and I probably would keep it dimmed anyway.

attofarad, thanks for the link. the price is great, even when factoring in a transformer. will you hide the transformer in your cove as well? did you observe any xmas light effects when using the strips, or are you going to use anything to masque that a little bit?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 9:06PM
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David

You should be able to achieve similar effects with other LED light sources - powercore profile strips, maxlighting LED UCL, ...

The powercore EC lights are a viable option for cove lighting.
If you do decide to use powercore stuff, ledneonlight.com has pretty good pricing.

If the lights are positioned to reflect off the inside of the cove (which is textured and painted), the individual point sources of light will not be noticeable.

After achieving the desired effect, the ease of servicing of the lights will be an issue to consider.

It might be worthwhile trying out some rope lighting to get a feel for how things could look.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 10:08PM
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attofarad

Hi michoumonster,

I'm putting the transformers in my attic. They need to be accessible (not readily, but possible), so you can't put them somewhere like inside a wall. I'm not sure what you mean about xmas light effects. My strips will be behind molding, shining upwards on the edge of my tray ceiling, so the lights will not be directly visible.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 11:11PM
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michoumonster

thanks David! i definitely will try the rope lighting to see how it looks.

attofarad, what i mean by xmas light effect, is where you see each individual pixel of light rather than just one continuous looking beam. but it makes sense that since it is bouncing off the walls, then maybe the pixels will not be prominent. otherwise i think a diffuser is necessary to blend the lights together?

btw, do any of you happen to know if there is such a thing as direct wire led strip lights that don't require transformers?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 3:07AM
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michoumonster

So I found some 120V direct wire led rope lights. it seems like it would be more convenient than having to go the 12V transformer route, no? I know I am missing something..

also, what is the difference between 5050 and 3528?

sorry for my ignorance! not sure if there is an FAQs on this also? i could only find threads on LED UCL and LED recessed lighting..

Here is a link that might be useful: direct wire led rope lights

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 3:48AM
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David

5050 refers to the physical dimensions of the emitter- 5mm square. The 3528 is 3.5 mm by 2.8mm.

The former has a higher output.

Some folks do use rope lighting as cove lighting. If you want to dim the lighting, an elv dimmer would be most appropriate for led direct wire.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 11:10AM
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michoumonster

thanks David! what are the cons to the rope lighting versus strip lighting? is it just brightness and fewer pixels per inch? would that end up looking more xmas-like though?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 1:38PM
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David

Rope lighting generally will be less bright than strip lighting, but tends to be more robust since the circuitry is encased in plastic which helps relieve strain and makes it difficult to bend and break solder joints/ circuit traces.

Depending on how the lights are positioned and brightness, you may not notice the individual dots. For example, rope lighting can be used to light up the underside of a soffit rather evenly unless/ until the fasteners give way and the rope light falls into direct view.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 3:07PM
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michoumonster

thanks David! what dimmers work with led line voltage lighting? general consensus is for low voltage i should go with lutron divas, right?, but is it same with line voltage?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 3:09PM
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David

ELV dimmers will work best in general.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 4:28PM
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michoumonster

thanks so much David! I will try it out!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 4:59PM
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michoumonster

hi all, need more help with this. I decided to use strip lights. I have figured that I need 40 feet of led lights (the perimeter of my cove ceiling).
I would be putting four 10 feet strips in parallel into a single transformer. I am thinking I should get a minimum of 250 watt transformer (any issue to getting an overpowered transformer?). Don't care about dimming as the cove lights will either be on or off.
does this plan sound ok?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 2:23PM
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David

You could have 2 separate power supplies (transformers), each controlling separate runs.

ie - treat the power supplies as individual lights/ loads controlled by a switch.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 8:53PM
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michoumonster

Hi David, what would be the benefit of doing two power supplies as opposed to one? The good part of doing only one power supply is cost (i think) and also that I only have one switch to turn it on/off.
Is the load too large for only one power supply? if i do two power supplies, is it still possible to have them both turn on with one switch?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 9:03PM
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David

You will have shorter runs to deal with.

Yes, if the power supplies are in parallel. Assuming that both have the same rating.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:46PM
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michoumonster

David, thanks so much for all of your help!! one last question for you, do you have any brands of power supplies/transformers that you recommend? looks like i will only need 2 60-75 watt transformers.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 5:30PM
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David

Sorry, I don't. It might be easier to get the power supplies from your supplier of led strips unless the pricing is exorbitant .

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 7:21PM
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michoumonster

Hi David, pricing seems good, but a couple of reviews for the transformers mentioned buzzing and durability issues, though reviews for lights were good. so i was thinking maybe i should find a better quality transformer. i guess i will search around on amazon.
thanks for your generous advice! I really appreciate all of your help!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 10:22AM
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ionized_gw

"Don't care about dimming as the cove lights will either be on or off."

I thought you wanted dimming.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 7:19PM
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michoumonster

hi ionized, i only need to do dimming if i use incandescent lighting. if i go with led strip lighting, i believe i would not need to put them on dimmers since they should qualify as high efficiency lighting. I only need the dimming to pass inspection, (so i am using dimmers for my halogen recessed lights), but otherwise, i don't ever see myself actually dimming anything.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 7:43PM
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ionized_gw

I see. If dimming is not required, or desired, why not go with T5 or T8 fluorescent? They are efficient, inexpensive and easily serviced. If you want bi-level lighting it can be done easily with a couple of switches in place of one.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 8:15PM
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attofarad

michoumonster, to qualify under Title 24 as "high efficacy", the type of light either needs to be generically qualified, e.g. fluorescent fixtures meeting a certain standard, or it needs to be "listed." Anything you or I whip together out of components isn't going to be listed. It is also doubtful that these LED strips/transformer will meet the minimum lumens/watt to qualify anyway. Check out your strip LED specs (which ones are you using?), knock of 20% for power loss in the transformer, and see if you can meet the standards:

â¢15 Watts or Less- Minimum of 40 lumens per watt
â¢15-40 Watts- Minimum of 50 lumens per watt
â¢Over 40 Watts- Minimum of 60 lumens per watt

There are strip light fixtures that meet this, but if I understand correctly you aren't planning on using those.

To ionized: if one wants uniform lighting in the cove, rather than just at spots, T5 would put out way way too much light for the application.

Here is a link that might be useful: Search for high efficacy lighting and other appliances

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 9:44PM
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michoumonster

ionized, thanks for the suggestion. i will ask my contractor about the fluorescents. he had told me that it might create uneven light if i use light bars, so i guess it depends on how everything connects and if there will be any unlighted spaces going this route.

attofarad, thanks for the info on the title 24. i did not know that led lighting had to be on a list to qualify. more complications.. sigh.. i guess i might have to do the dimmers anyway then. i was looking into using those same ledwholesaler light strips you had mentioned previously. i ordered a sample and liked the color (i liked the 2700k) but I was not sure about the transformer as some reviews said they are not UL listed. so i was also looking into light strips from hitlights (but reviews for that said they were greenish). which transformer are you planning on using if you go with the ledwholesalers?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 11:54PM
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attofarad

According to the Technomagnet web site, their transformers are UL listed. I bought a 150W one from ledwholesalers, and a 300W one from Alcon Lighting. I will be using 2.25 or 4.5 strips (the $16 ones, ~24 watts per strip, ~800 lumens per strip) in the kitchen, and about 3.5 or 7 strips in the living room. I still need to do a visual test in the cove to decide whether I'm going to run a single strip or double. They will be on a dimmer, and will lose some brightness over time, so I'll probably do the double strip even if it is brighter than necessary.

You need the "dc" 12 volt version to go with those strips. It isn't a steady DC voltage, it is just a rectified sine wave. 12V isn't the peak, (just like the peak of 120V AC is really ~169 volts), it is just the effective voltage.

Here is a link that might be useful: All the humps on the top

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 2:12AM
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michoumonster

attofarad, thanks so much for sharing your setup! for my bedroom, i only need about 3 strips. the $16 strips seemed plenty bright to me for my bedroom, though if leds lose brightness, then it certainly makes sense to double up.

i was thinking of going with the super bright ones for the kitchen or doing fluorescents like Ionized suggested, though i have to see if there will be any dead spots if i go that route..
thanks again!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 2:18PM
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