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Our kitchen faces North and does not get much light on cloudy days. The kitchen cabinets are in a U-shape, mounted over a granite counter top of the same shape. The oak cabinets have the traditional one-inch deep recess at the bottom that make cleaning a chore.

On the other hand, this recess can be used to mount lights and hide them by closing off the cavity with an acrylic panel. This will brighten up the counter area and, at the same time, will eliminate the dirt-collecting recess.

Attempts by the lighting industry to introduce lights for kitchens include fluorescent fixtures and so-called puck lights with Halogen or Xenon bulbs. The fluorescent lights may as well be used if you want to lose weight since the food looks awful under the light. The heat from incandescent lights have a detrimental effect on the food stored in the cabinets.

I designed several types of LED lights prior to the one described here. One of the earlier versions used hundreds of 5 mm LEDs where a mixture of (blue-wite and amber) LEDs produced an acceptable color temperature. However, the mechanical design was cumbersome due to the limited depth (less than one inch) available in the cabinet recesses.

The current design uses strips of three 3 Watt LEDs each for the six cabinets in question. The picture below shows one of these strips with the attached constant-current controller described later in this section.



The light under the cabinet highlights both the counter top and the back wall. The LEDs used are the warm-white types whith a pleasant natural rendition of the illuminated objects.

Here, the diffusing properties of the 1/8th inch thick acrylic panel softend the light and avoids hot spots.


The following sections describe the implementation of the lights with emphasis on the new controller type and some special circuitry with intelligent control of the lights.


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