Introduction: Beautiful Counter Top Backlit With LEDs
Oldie but Goodie!
What seems like forever ago I souped one of our vanity tops and only just now found the images and thought I'd recap the project for anyone who might want to do the same! Because it's so old some of the items are no longer available, but I did my best to provide links to the materials that I used or the materials that could replace what I used. Overall it was pretty inexpensive, didn't take long and my wife loves it. Win!
- LEDs: One of the reasons the project was cheap was because I bought he LEDs on sale. The ones I used are older Luxeon I, which are no longer available, but actually right now I just looked at the same place I got those and found a much newer, more efficient and brighter Luxeon LED for $3.99 here; it's probably what I would use if I did the project over. The other consideration would be really cheap LED Strips, but again I had these LEDs so I used them.
- Heatsink: Also laying around was a bunch of aluminum which I cut into strips for heatsinks. The aluminum was approximately 1/8" thick and provides adequate cooling for the LEDs. You'll see below in the power information that each LED is running around 350mA or around 1-watt - so not much cooling is really required. The guys I work with recommend about 3-square inches of heatsink per watt. If you don't have a heatsink or want more information call LEDSupply or checkout their LED heatsink page here.
- Epoxy: I used some Arctic Silver Thermal Epoxy to mount the LEDs. It provides the best thermal heat transfer, dries in 15-minutes and is easy to work with. I also got that from LEDsupply.
- Power: The circuit set-up I used was 6 parallel strings of 6 LEDs in-series in each string. So, I needed 24Vdc input to cover the forward voltage drop of 6 LEDs in series and I used a 2100mA constant current output BuckBlock LED driver. The 2100mA output current gets divided by the number of parallel strings (6 in this case), so, each set of 6 ends up getting approximately 350mA (2100/6). I copied this set-up for the other side of the sink. The power-supply to convert 110Vac I used was this one, which is 100-watt (enough to cover the approximately 72-watts used by the LEDs). And, like I said I used 2 2100mA BuckBlocks.
- Wire: To make the connections between LEDs and to the Power source I used 24 gauge AWG wire.
- Hack saw or blade that can cut aluminum
- Solder Iron & Solder
- Wire Strippers
Step 1: Project Steps
I traced the shape of the counter top onto a piece of foam and used that as a guide for the aluminum strips. In my case the strips are able to extend from one side of the sink to the order. Once the strips were laid out I placed the LEDs down, which I had pre-soldered wires onto. Tip: Soldering is easier if the LEDs aren't already on the heatsink as heatsinks absorb heat and make it difficult to get enough heat onto the LED.
Wiring: As mentioned in the intro there are 6 LEDs in-series on each strip. So the connections are positive to negative between each LED. For information on wiring see here. And, at each end the positive and negative leads get all tied together and run to the output of the LED driver. There should be 6 positives and 6 negatives and this is the parallel part of the circuit - 6 parallel strings of 6 LEDs in-series! Wash, rinse, repeat of the opposite side of the sink.
To complete the circuit the switching power-supply that converts the 110Vac to 24Vdc needs to connect to each driver. Done!
Mounting: Every sink is different, but obviously there were some mounting of the strips, drivers and power-supply that aren't pictured, but do require consideration.
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