Author Topic: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip  (Read 2562 times)

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Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 300
Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« on: December 26, 2019, 03:09 PM »
I’ll be building some cabinets in a recessed area of my dining room which will look something like the image below ... I’ve torn down the drywall and need some advice regarding the electrical wiring before I hang new drywall.

I watched a video on YouTube where a guy pulled Romex through the drywall at ~55.  When installing the upper cabinets, he drilled a hole in the back of the cabinet in the ~1/2” bottom overhang, pulled the Romex through, and then connected it to a LED transformer.  I like what @Cheese did where he routed out a channel for LED strip lighting and put a frosted cover over them but am not sure the best way to hide the wires, if I should have exposed Romex coming through the bottom of the upper cabinet where you can see it or the transformer, if the transformers should be mounted in the bottom cabinets where they can be hidden behind drawers, etc.??

Is it more popular to install the obscure outlet strips nowadays versus wall outlets in the backsplash?  If outlet strip, can you recommend a product?  Also, would I do as above, pull the Romex through the wall at ~55”, and the outlet strip would hide it?

308621-0
« Last Edit: December 26, 2019, 03:24 PM by Bugsysiegals »

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Offline Dan Rush

  • Posts: 590
  • Trim carpenter
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2019, 04:09 PM »
A lot of our designers do someting like this. The void hides the wires nicely.

Offline xedos

  • Posts: 237
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2019, 04:47 PM »
I think you'll find it difficult to hide led drivers underneath wall cabinets.   Better and easier to manage to hide them on top behind crown or in the dead space on the ends where there's a filler.

But on your sample pic , this would have its own issues behind the crown, and no fillers. We've speed them in the base cabinets, but access is tighter.

Re: the receptacles, popular is let the electrician put it where it's convenient for him. For those that are more decerning, there is no cut an dried.  Some prefer electrical strips (PLUGMOLD is pretty much the only game in town ) others like receptacles centered in the backsplash, still others like them close to the counter so they are hidden by the appliances that use them, and some prefer a pop out outlet from either the wall or the countertop. These come from Legrand or Doug Mockett. And I've had requests for receptacle to be mounted in the side wall of the tall cabinets on either side.   

It gets really fun when a project has all of them in different splashes around the house.  These are where the electricians will really love you. 

Offline martin felder

  • Posts: 35
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2019, 05:46 PM »
http://lumenslp.com/angled-power-strips/

I was looking at doing the same thing as I am in the middle of making my new kitchen cabinets.  I came across these (see above link).  Not sure if Plugmold is better, but I liked the idea of angle power strips to make it easier to plug and unplug things and have i so they are not normally visible when standing and facing the counter-cabinets (a bit lf a lip of the upper cabinets to insure concealment of the lights and outlets.

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 300
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2019, 06:57 PM »
A lot of our designers do someting like this. The void hides the wires nicely.

Thanks for sharing!!  Don’t most cabinets have the bottoms inset ~1/2”?  It appears to me yours are flush to the bottom and then you’ve added 2 x 1/4” panels underneath, led strip below that, and the 1 1/2” front trim board?  Where’s the 1/4” void to hide wires?  Sorry for all the questions but just trying to make sure it’s clear to me and anybody who finds this thread later.

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 300
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2019, 07:01 PM »
I think you'll find it difficult to hide led drivers underneath wall cabinets.   Better and easier to manage to hide them on top behind crown or in the dead space on the ends where there's a filler.

But on your sample pic , this would have its own issues behind the crown, and no fillers. We've speed them in the base cabinets, but access is tighter.

Re: the receptacles, popular is let the electrician put it where it's convenient for him. For those that are more decerning, there is no cut an dried.  Some prefer electrical strips (PLUGMOLD is pretty much the only game in town ) others like receptacles centered in the backsplash, still others like them close to the counter so they are hidden by the appliances that use them, and some prefer a pop out outlet from either the wall or the countertop. These come from Legrand or Doug Mockett. And I've had requests for receptacle to be mounted in the side wall of the tall cabinets on either side.   

It gets really fun when a project has all of them in different splashes around the house.  These are where the electricians will really love you.

Thanks for sharing these sources.  If I go to the ceiling I won’t be able to hide anything above and have no fillers so I guess I’d have to go in one of the bases but that’s probably better than seeing it below the upper.

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 300
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2019, 07:03 PM »
http://lumenslp.com/angled-power-strips/

I was looking at doing the same thing as I am in the middle of making my new kitchen cabinets.  I came across these (see above link).  Not sure if Plugmold is better, but I liked the idea of angle power strips to make it easier to plug and unplug things and have i so they are not normally visible when standing and facing the counter-cabinets (a bit lf a lip of the upper cabinets to insure concealment of the lights and outlets.

I’d seen some angle strips in a drawing but those are very visible.  I’d prefer them a bit more discreet so I guess I need the non angled version.

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 6179
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2019, 07:46 PM »
What we use depends on various things.

The hickory cabinets have a Legrand Adorne system. We knew what was being used so the cabinets were fabricated around them.

https://www.legrand.us/adorne/undercabinet-series.aspx

More common for us is an angled LED channel behind the front lower rail. The way we build cabinets, the recess is 3/4 of an inch. The track fits well.

The driver is located somewhere, almost never in the kitchen. An 18/2 cable is routed from the wall to the channel. The cable is run in a Wiremold cable cover.

We never install naked LED’s, they always go in a channel. If they just want exposed tape, someone else can do them.

We put the channel at the front of the cabinet. While seated if the lights are on the back wall, they may shine in your eyes.

If it is a flat bottom cabinet, add a light rail at the front. I would set it back 1/2" or so.

Sorry, I don’t have any pics of the angled LED channel.

Tom

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 6903
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2019, 08:29 PM »
The best approach is to first determine your lighting needs.

How much lighting do you need. Do you need high power prep lighting under kitchen cabinets or just something to highlight the surfaces or the crystal glasses.

LED strips come in various intensities. You can judge the "general" intensity by knowing what LED chip is being used. Lumens is the general measure of the brightness of the LED.

So a strip of LED lighting using 5050 LED's at 24 lumen will be 3x the brightness of a strip of LED's using 3528 chips at 8 lumen.





The power drawn will also be approximately 3x as much, .20 watts vs .06 watts.

So, decide on an intensity level, decide on how long you want the strips to be, decide on a color temperature and once chosen, there will be an advertised amperage draw per foot for those LED's.  Multiply the amperage draw per foot by the length of the LED strip and you'll then know what size driver/transformer you need. I'll generally make sure the driver can put out 20% more power than I need.

Drivers are chosen by power output and the larger the output the larger the driver footprint.

Here's an electrical box inside the kitchen cabinet. It can't be seen because bottles of oil and vinegars hide it. Inside the box is hidden a 12 watt Meanwell LED driver. It drives a 18" strip of hi intensity under counter task lighting and some LED's that illuminate a large split in the white oak countertop.






Here's a comparison of a 60 watt Meanwell driver vs a 20 watt driver next to a single electrical box. Like I said, you need to know the power requirements first if you want to hide the driver.




Here's a metal box, under the Bluestone treads, cast in the concrete steps where two piggy-backed 60 watt Triad Drivers are hidden. These drivers power 30 garden lights, 20 fence post lights and 8 other lights. You just have to figure out your power needs first.



« Last Edit: December 26, 2019, 08:47 PM by Cheese »

Offline Dan Rush

  • Posts: 590
  • Trim carpenter
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2019, 08:56 PM »
A lot of our designers do someting like this. The void hides the wires nicely.

Thanks for sharing!!  Don’t most cabinets have the bottoms inset ~1/2”?  It appears to me yours are flush to the bottom and then you’ve added 2 x 1/4” panels underneath, led strip below that, and the 1 1/2” front trim board?  Where’s the 1/4” void to hide wires?  Sorry for all the questions but just trying to make sure it’s clear to me and anybody who finds this thread later.
The drawing depicts a frameless cabinet, so no natural recess. 1/4" (or whatever thickness required) spacer blocks are applied to the bottom of the cabinet, then a finished panel, creating a void for wires.

You're correct that most framed cabinets would have a recess on the bottom.  The under cabinet panel would still be applied to hide wiring and provide space for outlets and light channels.

I work with mostly semi custom cabinets, for truly custom jobs like Tom's, most of what I've noted above wouldnt apply because its already designed and built into the box.

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 6903
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2019, 09:49 AM »
Some additional thoughts:
I have flat Wiremold receptacles mounted under the cabinet at the rear wall. They kind of blend in because they're white on white cabinets against white walls. However they're difficult to use because you have to crank your head down under the cabinet to see where each receptacle is.

The angled variety of power strips are easier to use but they are also more visible. I like the Legrand adorne® Modular Track and it looks good in the metal when you see it in person. If you can somehow hide the control box or possibly just install it without the box, that could be a nice clean alternative.

https://www.legrand.us/adorne/products/under-cabinet-lighting-power.aspx





I'm going to be reconfiguring some kitchen cabinetry and will be constructing the cabinets with a double thickness bottom. This will allow me to dado-in the front LED aluminum channels and also the rear power strips.

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 300
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2019, 04:09 PM »
What we use depends on various things.

Tom

Thanks Tom!  I had to turn my computer upside down but those cabinets are beautiful and I don't see any wiremold case on the wall for the wires which is really nice!

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 300
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2019, 04:11 PM »
The best approach is to first determine your lighting needs.

How much lighting do you need. Do you need high power prep lighting under kitchen cabinets or just something to highlight the surfaces or the crystal glasses.


Hey Cheese, thanks for all the details!!  This is going to be in our Dining Room so no need for anything super bright.  I doubt there will be any actual work happening in there and most likely will just highlight whatever might be sitting on the counter.  Thanks for all the info, I'll review with the wife to understand what she wants and use the info to choose the right lighting. :)

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 300
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2019, 04:14 PM »
The drawing depicts a frameless cabinet, so no natural recess. 1/4" (or whatever thickness required) spacer blocks are applied to the bottom of the cabinet, then a finished panel, creating a void for wires.

You're correct that most framed cabinets would have a recess on the bottom.  The under cabinet panel would still be applied to hide wiring and provide space for outlets and light channels.

I work with mostly semi custom cabinets, for truly custom jobs like Tom's, most of what I've noted above wouldn't apply because its already designed and built into the box.
[/quote]

Gotcha, thanks for clearing that up, it makes perfect sense now. :)

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 300
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2019, 04:23 PM »
I'm going to be reconfiguring some kitchen cabinetry and will be constructing the cabinets with a double thickness bottom. This will allow me to dado-in the front LED aluminum channels and also the rear power strips.

Thanks for the additional details!  I was hoping for something not as large but I suspect they're not so bad once you get used to them.  Also, if you're able to recess them in a dado they might appear smaller.  I guess I need to give it time to grow on me!

That said, I'm not sure if the wood look is a dated style but all my doors and trim are a Golden Medium Oak from Menards.  I envision making the kitchen/dining cabinets very similar color to those in their video and possibly even similar color counter top.

https://www.legrand.us/adorne/inspiration/ucls.aspx

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 6179
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2019, 05:36 PM »
@Bugsysiegals,

The Adorne system is what was used on the "I had to turn my computer upside down cabinets".

These are flat channels, I’ve since gone to angled. (odds are you’ll have to flip your computer again [scared]).

Tom

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 300
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2019, 05:40 PM »
I had to rate 90 to the Right but that’s alright. I see the LED strips you put behind the front trim ... I suspect you use angled, 45 degrees?, now to project them downwards?


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Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 6179
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2019, 09:11 PM »
@Bugsysiegals,

Yes, went to the 45° channel to get better counter top coverage.

Tom

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 300
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2019, 10:17 PM »
It seems like it would work well ... are you happy with the coverage?

I’m wondering if It makes sense to wire my dimmer switch to an outlet behind one of the outside cabinets ... this would allow me to mount a driver in the back of one of them, connect it to the driver with  a spliced extension cord later on when ready, and finish with 18/2 out the back panel and back in to the LED’s through a channel ... perhaps a small channel in the bottom panel edge which would be hidden within a dado??


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Online Cheese

  • Posts: 6903
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2019, 09:50 AM »
Here's a shot of the aluminum channels offered by Diode LED and their sizes. I've run the slim series in the kitchen for under counter lighting. Diode LED refers to them as Chromopath® channels.

« Last Edit: December 28, 2019, 10:42 AM by Cheese »

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 300
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2019, 06:58 PM »
Thanks @cheese!

As I think more about the outlet on the wall, with the cabinet flush to the wall, this doesn’t work out so well without cutting some hole in the back of the cabinet which probably will not look so great.


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Online Cheese

  • Posts: 6903
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2019, 09:44 AM »

As I think more about the outlet on the wall, with the cabinet flush to the wall, this doesn’t work out so well without cutting some hole in the back of the cabinet which probably will not look so great.


If space for a driver is a problem, Diode LED released a driver that fits within a single wall box and it also incorporates an on/off switch & a dimmer as well. That's what I went to for the kitchen. It's pretty slick for certain applications as they come in 40/60/100 watt versions.


Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 300
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2019, 08:59 AM »
Wow, that’s cool and good to know about.

As I was searching I found this ulta-thin wall plate. Depending on how far the back is recessed this seems like it could fit behind the cabinet and then I’d only need a small hole through the back to route this cable in for the driver and the 18/2 out for the LED lights.  Unfortunately the dimensions don’t seem to align with the pictures so I’m not certain how thick it is ...

Sleek Socket Ultra-Thin Electrical Outlet Cover | Hides Ugly & Unsafe Plugs & Cords | 9 ft. Standard Size Outlet Cover with 3 Outlet Power Strip | UL/CSA Safety Certified https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077NPK9GC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_ZeGcEbTYVTJ7P

Offline cpw

  • Posts: 177
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2019, 09:16 AM »
For my frameless cabinets, I hid my transformer in the cabinet above the oven that conceals the range hood ducting.  I then ran the low voltage wires behind the cabinets to puck lights in the bottom of my 3/4" using the true position puck light jig.  That doesn't get you strips, but it is another very low profile option you could think about.

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 300
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2019, 09:25 AM »
Thanks @cpw for sharing.


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Online Cheese

  • Posts: 6903
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2019, 09:54 AM »
Unfortunately the dimensions don’t seem to align with the pictures so I’m not certain how thick it is ...

Well that's certainly pretty slick...thanks for that.  [smile]

It appears to be 1/2" thick but that includes the thickness of the existing electrical plate.


Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 300
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #26 on: December 30, 2019, 08:38 PM »
Thanks @Cheese!!

I see some people attach 1/4” backs with staples while others recess back panels with dados.  I want to say the recessed version has always been 3/4” recess in order that 3/4” stretchers can be placed top/bottom behind the back panel for secure mounting of the cabinet but I’m just a noob so I could be wrong.  Based on what you shared, if I was to recess the back 3/4”, I’d be able to use this and only have to poke a small hole into the back for wires to/from the driver which isn’t bad and could be easily hidden.  I think this makes sense since it would allow me to finish drywalling now and connect the LED’s later when I’ve built the cabinets.

Offline xedos

  • Posts: 237
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2019, 08:57 AM »
Euro cabinets aren't anything to be wary of when trying to conceal lights.  We have been recessing lights in to the bottom of cabinets for two decades now.  Starting with 55mm dia. Halogen Puck lites last century and currently using LED profiles like Cheese shows. 

You just drill or route a recess into the bottom of the cabinet and drill a long hole through the back into that recess for the wire.  Mount the light and feed the wire or wires behind the backs of the cabinet to the top and your concealed driver location.  Alternately they go into the wall and down into a base cabinet somewhere.  It's all individually designed according to the project.

Now, the cool kids are recessing LED strips in the sidewalls of cabinets to illuminate the entire inside of the box.




Online Cheese

  • Posts: 6903
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2019, 09:59 AM »
Now, the cool kids are recessing LED strips in the sidewalls of cabinets to illuminate the entire inside of the box.

Similar to what's being done in showers and bathrooms.




Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 300
Re: Need Advice - Cabinet Underlighting/Outlet Strip
« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2019, 10:54 AM »
Wow, I guess I need to browse Houzz or something more often, I'd not seen people using the LED strips in the bathrooms!  My Master Bathroom remodel is next after these cabinets so this is great info, thanks!

My son got some Govee LED's for Christmas and I helped him to stick them near the top border of his bedroom.  They can change color, brightness, and flicker as it hears noise which I guess is cool as a teenager. 

I've color changing LIFX bulbs in the bedroom and while I don't use the RGB colors (I'd setup IFTTT to flash them Red based on security cameras but I quickly quit after so many false positives), I do appreciate being able to change through the different shades of White (2500 Ultra Warm, 2750 Incandescent, etc., etc.). 

I've also some LED canned lights with a switch on the bottom of the bulb for a few different shades of White.  It would be really nice to be able to set the different shades of White from Warm to Cool White based on the room (room, time, mood, etc. or possibly even change to a light Blue, Red, etc. to accent the rooms color.

It seems all the LED's which produce White come in predetermined Kelvin other than the Dazzle series ... can these be set to the various Kelvins of White?  Are these the only series they sell which do this?

I also see they've Infiniline DRIVERLESS LED's ... I can't see the price so I'm not sure if these are comparable but I suppose this could be another option as I could connect them directly to a wall outlet without having to hide a driver, etc.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2019, 10:57 AM by Bugsysiegals »