LED undercabinet lighting for new construction

4mom23girlsDecember 5, 2011

Hi all you helpful electricians and people who know what they are doing!

We are underway with the construction of our new home. The framing is up and the electrician has begun wiring the house. The undercabinet lighting issue has arose. I've read thru numerous posts on the issue and there isn't a clear "winner". So, if money were no object (not in reality), what undercabinet LED system would you get? We've already picked out our granite and it is a darker, shiny glossy kind. The puck lighting sounds spotty, the flexible lighting sound tacky (appearance wise if you were to look under). I suppose that leaves us with the "bars"? Also, sounds like dimmable is a nice option to include.

So far, the few contenders are Kichler, Color Kinetics, seagulllighting.com. Great to know the brands, but for the ignorant layperson, which specific system within those brands?

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Either the Philips eW profile (direct wire) or some 24V low voltage (environmental lights/ superbrightleds, nora lighting). There is more information on the LED UCL continuation thread.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 8:54PM
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Thanks David. What are the cons to direct wire vs. low voltage? I assume low voltage doesn't necessarily mean lower light output, which wouldn't be a bad thing. Anyhow, the electrician came back today and recommended Juno 30" LED fixtures (we have a super long kitchen run). Any opinion on those? Oh, BTW, we live down the street from environmental lights... random.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 11:51PM
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Direct wire bars will be larger in thickness, but could be much brighter.
1. Much larger conductors
2. Bigger heat sink
make it easier to drive the LED elements harder.

If you intend to have very long sections, that would bias the choice towards direct wire. If the sections are fairly short (Currently the eW profile bars are the best for direct wire.

Have you paid environmental lights a visit? They have the maxlite bars (for direct wire).

I did not like any of the UCL solutions from WAC or Juno, other traditional vendors.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 12:16AM
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No, I haven't been to Environmental Lights yet. I wasn't sure it was a showroom, per say, but I suppose since they are so close, it wouldn't hurt. Are the Maxlite Bars better than the eW profile ones?

Our kitchen has about 60" on either side of the hood and about 56" after the oven/micro. Would you consider that a long section?

You've been tremendous help. Thank you... our homes are nicely lit b/c of you!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 11:54AM
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It wouldn't hurt as they have both DC and AC LED bars.

I would prefer the eW profile.

I would split the kitchen into 3 sections.

If you have a cabinet maker, ask for the dimensions and make sure that the cabinets have flat bottoms without intervening fences.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 12:19PM
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Well, the electrician gave us a "sample" of the Juno Pro Series Under Cabinet bar. It gives off a nice warm light, nothing blue. You can, however, see the reflection of the spots in the granite. Wondering if this is going to happen with every LED light since granite is a reflective, shiny surface?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 7:30PM
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Yes, if you use bars or tapes which have the LED emitters exposed. No if you use indirect lighting - for example edge lit panels as the LED emitters are hidden from direct line of sight.

The little beads of light can be minimized through
1. A diffuser which will reduce the output.
2. Angling the light so that the light is reflected off the backsplash. This will not work if the backsplash itself is highly reflective as the beads of light will be on the backsplash. This could be quite involved. Take a look at phantom lighting solutions for some inspiration.

In reality, there will be things on the countertop which will mitigate / detract from the beads of light.

Here is a link that might be useful: phantom lighting

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 9:13PM
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