New house, new projects

This year I attained permanent residency in Canada, and our family also attained permanent residency in a different way, by buying our first, and probably last, house. We moved into it a few months ago, a fact I neglected to remark here, so if you are mailing me something, and for some reason read my blog, you’ll want to ask me for my new address.

With the house comes plenty of things to work on that are only marginally interesting, so I shall proceed to bore you with them from time to time.

I completed my first mini-project this weekend: installing task lighting in the kitchen. Our builder wanted to charge hundreds of dollars to put in (environmentally unsound) Xenon lights under the cabinets in the kitchen. I, having zero experience with house wiring, thought “I can do that!” Thus, we opted to have them install just the house wiring but we would take care of the lights.

led-spoolWhen I was a wee undergrad, LED lighting was then just around the corner. Installations existed, but they were terrifically pricey. Now, hundreds of years later, you can get lots of them on a spool for a few tens of dollars. The particular ones I purchased (from Amazon) come as a ribbon of copper with sticky tape on the back. The ribbon is essentially one 16-foot wire with groups of three small LEDs and a resistor in series, and each group connected in parallel. To use it, you just cut to length, and then solder on power and ground from the +12 volt DC power supply (sold separately). I went for ‘warm white’ LEDs (2700K) which are a bit into the yellow spectrum; they are quite a bit softer than your average super bright white LED.

led-wiring2.jpgI mounted the LEDs via the aforementioned tape on the back of the cabinet valence, and the power supplies on the cabinet undersides. The power supplies are designed to plug into a wall socket, but since we had junction boxes for the lighting pre-installed, I simply cut the ends off the cords and wired the DC supplies directly into the boxes. The house lines were already wired to a circuit with a wall switch, so that was all that was required. Each strip worked the first time.

Under cabinet lightingAll in all, it was a pretty uneventful install — the kind you want when dealing with A/C. I still need to staple up some hanging wires to the cabinet underside, but otherwise it’s finished, and the end result looks great.