My family collects Star Wars memorabilia. All of the mugs and popcorn tubs typically from different events (such as Star Wars Weekend in Disney World) get placed on the top of the cabinets in the kitchen. One day my wife commented that it is sometimes hard to see them and wondered if we could do anything about that. I started thinking of various things to do and ended up running blue LED strips alone the top with a switch down below. The effect is really cool. However, my wife then commented that it was not exactly what she had in mind and you still cannot see them very well with the blue light. Ah well. I'm still enjoying the effect.
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Measurements
OK, first I measured the length of the cabinets. There is a break between two so I needed to run some white conduit between them for a wire. I wanted the entire lighting system set up under a single switch.After the measurements I cut two strips of LED nights to match. I had to make sure and include the few inches used for going over the dividers and edges.
Step 2: Hole
Next I drilled a hole through the cabinet in the far corner. I chose this location for two reasons. First, it was in a spot which would not enter any actual cabinet space. It's dead space because of the corner and not part of the internal cabinet area. Next, the hole I drilled at the bottom comes out right next to a wall plug we use for the microwave. That means the transformer will be covered from view by the appliance.
Step 3: 2X4 Stands
I then realized the items sat very low on the top of the cabinets. So I placed them all on 2X4 pieces of wood. You cannot see the wood when looking at them from the kitchen floor but it does raise the items up enough to get a better view.
Step 4: LEDs
Next I just ran strips of blue LEDs along the bottom of the cabinet shelf. I used hot glue to affix them to the wood. I split the strip in two and ran some 22X2 solid wire through the white conduit between the cabinets then reattached the other part of the strip on the far side.
Step 5: Power Switch
I took a very inexpensive project box and cut out three holes. One for the rocker switch, one for the plug and one for the wire. I popped the rocker switch in and hot glued a plug connector which lets me plug a generic wall transformer into the switch without having to cut the wires on the transformer. That also allows me to more easily switch out the power supply. The transformer is a 12V 1A generic supply.
Step 6: Wiring
I next had to wire everything up. I ran a strand of 22X2 solid down the hole in the dead area of the cabinet and out the bottom. I wired it in series to the rocker switch and plug. Snapped it all together to make sure it worked. Opened it back up so I would drill screw holes and affix it to the underside of the cabinet. The lip on the cabinet is just big enough it totally covers the switch and box so no one sees it. Unless you know where it is or look directly under the cabinets you will never see it.
Step 7: Light Effects
In the daytime the lights give a soft glow. At night, with the lights on the glow is more pronounced but nice. The R2 units really reflect the blue well. At night without the lights. . well the effect is pretty intense. I love it, but my wife could do without that level of intensity. The entire kitchen lights up. Will probably be good to use during Halloween. Assuming this projects survives my wife's reservations, everything is in place for me to connect it to an arduino later on and have some more fun.
Participated in the
Home Technology Contest