Part 2 : What do you have?
In this three part blog series we’ll be going through the steps you need to take to design your own LED light strip system. Check back next week for part three. You can read part one here.
The second stage in LED system design is to understand your install location so that you can fully answer final part 3 questions : What do you need? In this part, we’ll look at drawing up a simple diagram of your install location, making some measurements, and identifying obstacles. When you’re done with Part 2, you’ll have a simple diagram something like below.
When you know exactly what you have, you can move on to Part 3 : What do you need?
Note : The above is a simple example. As long as you have the ability to record and measure the required information, the format is unimportant. You can do it with pen and paper, drafting software, or even just by taking a picture and marking distances on the image.
Step 1 : Sketch / Draw your install location
Relax, you don’t need an art degree. It doesn’t need to be to scale. You just need to be able to look at it and understand what the important parts of it are.
Step 2 : Identify important features and label them
In this example project, we intend to install under cabinet lighting in this kitchen. LED strips will be installed under Cabinet 1 and Cabinet 2, so we’ve labelled them. Because Cabinet 1 and 2 don’t connect, we’ll have to run wire between the two. We’ve labelled the sink where this occurs. Finally, we’ve labelled the power source, where our power supply will connect.
Step 3 : Add measurements
While we could measure the entire cabinets, we’ve chosen to measure just the bare minimum of what we’ll need. If you’re not sure, having too many measurements (instead of too few) is always preferable. You can see our measurements, at minimum, trace a single line all the way from the power source to the end of the cabinets.
Step 4 : Mark your LED strips and other materials.
In this example, we’ve used GREEN to mark where the LED strips will be installed, BLUE to mark where we need to use a connector to jump from one cabinet to the next and to bend the strip around a corner, and PURPLE to show where the power supply will be installed.
Other considerations :
This diagram shows a ‘top down’ view of the kitchen. If you were installing on the top of the kitchen cabinets also, make sure to measure and record the vertical distance from top to bottom also.
Now that you we know both what you want, and what you have - we'll be able to accurately answer the final question, 'What you need', in Part 3. You'll see that blog post next week.