How to install LED lighting in the kitchen

Installation of LED lighting is both a simple and complex undertaking. The installation does not require professional skills, but requires attention and basic knowledge. If we take into account all the nuances in advance, the lighting system can be integrated into the kitchen set in just 3-5 hours. The exact installation time depends on the complexity of the circuit.

Preparing the kitchen for the installation of lighting
Before installing the lighting system, it is advisable to perform preparatory work. Otherwise, during installation, unforeseen situations may arise – there is not enough wire, tape or profile, there will be difficulties with the placement of the power supply and controller (for RGB tapes), the switch will be in an inconvenient place. To prevent this from happening, it is necessary to complete 5 preparatory measures:

Determine the boundaries of the location of the lighting system and calculate (taking into account the dimensions of the plugs and connecting elements) the actual length of the profile.
Find the best place to place your power supply and controller. These elements are installed inside the lower pedestals or wall cabinets, as well as on the roof of the kitchen. At this stage, you need to take care of proper ventilation of the power supply to protect it from overheating. The voltage converter must not be tightly packed with cooking utensils.
Determine the optimal communication route from the power supply to the inlet plug in the profile. It is important to consider the possibility of invisibly leading wires to the lighting system.
Find a place for the cutout of the circuit breaker.
Expand the profile and make sure you haven’t made any mistakes at this stage before fixing it.
Before starting installation, it is often tempting to abandon the profiles and get by with one tape. To get rid of such thoughts, it is enough to compare how both types of backlight look like.

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Backlight mounting tools
The set of tools depends on the nuances of the installation – the methods of connecting the tape, connecting to the power supply and fastening the profile may differ. However, the basic kit is the same for all cases:
If you plan to join tapes and connect wires without using connectors, then you will also need a soldering iron. In the case of inserting a chain switch, you will need a cutter or crown of the appropriate size (the diameter may differ from model to model).

Profile attachment
Installation of a cut-in profile for an LED strip is not an easy procedure. To complete it, you need not only a special tool (electric milling cutter), but also professional skills. Therefore, it is advisable to consider a simpler option – fixing the overhead profile using self-tapping screws. With its help, you can fix the lighting in the kitchen as quickly, accurately and aesthetically as possible.

 

Mounting on clips
Most of the profiles are compatible with fixing clips. They are often sold with these fasteners. For short profiles (up to 1 meter), two clips are enough. If the length is longer, the number of fasteners must also be increased. In this case, it is required to pursue two goals:

ensure reliable fixation of the backlight;
exclude profile sagging.

On average, the distance between the clips is 500–700 mm. For hinged modules of small width, it can be safely reduced to a suitable size. When marking the lower shelves for clips, you must strictly observe the distance from the kitchen apron (if the wall is uneven, then from the back walls of the cabinets). An offset of just a few millimeters is enough to provide yourself with problems when snapping in the profile.

With the markings of the shelves for the clips, on which the straight overhead profile will be fixed, everything is simple – you need to find the center line and put the entry points of the screws on it. The situation with corner systems is a little more complicated. In this case, an individual approach is needed. After all, the installation dimensions differ from system to system. Therefore, it is necessary to use the diagram from the instructions or act by applying a profile – to determine the entry points of self-tapping screws by the marks left. The first option is better, but sometimes manufacturers forget to put instructions with a marking scheme, and then you have to decide everything at the installation site.

 

There are modifications of straight overhead profiles , which are equipped with mounting rails instead of clips. These elements are long metal strips with holes for self-tapping screws. They are connected to the main profile according to the principle of the tongue-and-groove connection. The method of marking and fastening them is the same as when using conventional clips.

 

Fastening with self-tapping screws
If there were no clips in the kit and you could not find suitable fasteners, you can screw the profile from the inside. The algorithm of actions in this case is as follows:

Mark from the inside the side of the profile that will adjoin the lower shelves of the cabinets. The entry points of the self-tapping screws should be centered at a distance of 500–700 mm from each other.
Mark all entry points.
First drill the blind holes for the caps of the self-tapping screws with a screwdriver or drill. For these purposes, a metal drill with a diameter of 6-7 mm is suitable.
Drill 3 mm through holes in the same places.
Sand the back of the profile to avoid any burrs.

The caps of the self-tapping screws (3×15 mm) must be immersed in the metal, otherwise the LED strip may cling to them. This method of fastening the profile is recommended as a last resort, when there are no more other options. Better to fix with clips or mounting plate. In this case, the system can be fixed already assembled.

Cutting, connecting and connecting LED strip
For household needs, LED strips are most often sold in coils of 5 meters. Usually this length is sufficient to equip a linear or corner kitchen. Before installation, the tape must be cut and connected to the wires to connect to the power supply.

Cutting
If the length of the lighting system is less than 5 meters, the tape can be shortened. This should be done in special places, which are marked on the canvas with a dotted line and the sign “scissors”. This is where the contacts for connecting the LEDs to the power supply are located. They are elongated and located on either side of the dotted line. Thanks to this, any piece can be connected to the network. Ordinary scissors are suitable for cutting the LED strip.

 

Compound
There are two methods of connecting adjacent sections to each other – using connectors or soldering.

 

The first method is more modern and simpler. It is enough to insert the pieces of tape into the connector or connector, observing the correct position of the contacts. It is almost impossible to make a mistake when choosing this method:

Cut the tape.
Use a knife to clean the contacts to remove the clear sealant that protects against moisture.
Open the connector housing.
Insert the LED strip so that its pins line up with the connector pins.
Close the case.

The connectors are designed to connect conventional or RGB strips. They differ in the number of contact terminals. For ordinary tapes, they are located in two rows, while for RGB – in four. Connectors are rigid and wired. The second type of connectors is double-sided (for moving tape connection) and one-sided (for connecting to the power supply).

If the connectors are not available, you will have to do the soldering. In the absence of practical skills, it is better to first practice on small scraps that remain after cutting the tape. Otherwise, you can spoil the main lighting. After all, the tape can be continuously soldered only for 10 seconds at a temperature not higher than 260 degrees. Otherwise, the LED web will overheat. The soldering process consists of the following steps:

Use a knife to remove the protective layer from the contacts on the tape – they are covered with a transparent sealant.
Strip, and then process the contacts and ends with a wire with a flux (rosin). This cleans them up and provides better contact with the solder.
Strip the wires and contacts – this must be done to protect the metals from oxidation, which will provoke overheating at the joints when the lighting fixtures are operating.
Solder the wires to the pins one at a time. In order not to provoke a short circuit, avoid short circuiting adjacent contacts with solder.
Apply clear silicone to the surface of the joints after they cool. This is necessary to restore the protective layer.

 

Before soldering, you will need to put insulators (heat shrink tubes) on the wires, so that later they will close the joints. In theory, this can be avoided, but it is better to be on the safe side. Although the connectors are easier to connect the tape and connect the system to the power supply, even if they are available, soldering is indispensable in some situations. The reason is the incompatibility of connectors with some profiles. Therefore, you need to be prepared to use old and reliable technology.

 

Connecting to the power supply
When installing a conventional backlight with a white spectrum, the connection diagram of the system with a total length of up to 5 meters is quite simple. In fact, it is enough to connect the tape to the power supply and connect this device to the network. Adjustments can be made by the choice of the backlight control option. However, the place of installation of the switch and the method of its integration into the system largely depends on this nuance, and the principle of connection remains the same.

 

If the total length of the LED strip exceeds 5 meters, it is not recommended to connect it in series. In this case, the lighting system will overheat, which will negatively affect its working life and performance. Better to build up the tape using a parallel connection.

The power of the block and controller (for RGB tape) must be 20-25% higher than the nominal value. It is calculated by multiplying the linear power of the LED strip (W / m) by its total length. For example, for a 4-meter tape of 20 W / m, a 100 W power supply is required. A controller should have a similar parameter for an RGB tape with the same parameters. However, some experts are convinced that the controller can be bought with the same rated power as the RGB tape.

 

When connecting, it is important not to mix up the terminals. For connection to a 220 V network, L and N pads (phase and zero) are provided. The LED strip must be connected with the correct polarity to the V + and V- terminals. If RGB lighting is installed in the kitchen, then the controller must first be connected to the power supply. It connects to the V + and V- terminals. The RGB tape itself should be connected to the BGR and V + contacts.

 

Sources with a total length of up to 10 meters can be connected to one block and controller. This requirement is relevant only for RGB tapes. Monochrome tapes with a total length of more than 10 meters are allowed to be connected in parallel to one power supply. For a system with RGB, this option is not suitable – you will need either an amplifier or additional controllers. However, the length of the backlighting in standard kitchens rarely exceeds 10 meters, so few home craftsmen face such difficulties when connecting.

 

Switch connection
If the backlight will be connected to the mains through the socket on the kitchen apron – a neat key switch, which is located under the wall cabinets, is the best option.

 

In situations where the backlighting is made using RGB tape and is intended to create a special atmosphere in the kitchen, you need to buy a controller with a remote control. With its help, you can not only change the operating modes, but also turn off / turn off the lighting. If the IR sensor accepts the commands, you need to carefully move it out of the facade plane.