Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Smart Kitchen Cabinet Lights

Back before Lincoln was born, I had installed cheap, dumb, under-cabinet LEDs from IKEA in the kitchen. They worked, but they were always-on, not very bright, and had a lot of extra wire that looked messy.

Later, I installed RGB LED strips above the cabinets. These were controlled by an IR remote, but were still significantly brighter (and more fun!) than the under-cabinet lights.

Over the past couple of months, I've been upgrading the cabinet LEDs with WiFi controllers and extending the RGB strips below the cabinets.

The cabinets by the sink were fairly simple: it was a single, flat stretch of cabinets, and there was a pre-existing gap in the back corner to run the wires between the above-cabinet controller and the below-cabinet LED strip. The hardest part was mounting the flexible LED strip with screws (the adhesive backing on the strip proved to be worthless).

The cabinets on the other side of the kitchen (by the stove) were much more of a problem. There were three distinct "zones", and none of them had a great route for wires to run from the top of the cabinets to the bottom.

I eventually realized I could hide the wires with some left-over trim. I cut a groove in the trim with my father-in-law's table saw, sized for the extension wires:

I installed the LED strip, and drilled a hole through the cabinet wall near the back:

The wire ran between the cabinets, up to the top.

And I covered the exposed wire with a grooved piece of trim!

Then I repeated those steps for the cabinet on the left side of the stove:

The far-left cabinets required a single hole to be drilled:

Then I tied all the wires into the WiFi controller (the little white box), and got everything configured on the network:

And there it is!

The top and bottom lights are tied together at the controller, so they will always have the same color and brightness. But that would be easy to change if I feel like spending the money on additional controllers. Also, right now the LED strips can only be controlled from a smartphone app, but I'm hoping to tie them into the rest of my smart house controls (including voice control) in the future.

***Update 10/6/2016***

My first attempt at adding these to OpenHAB didn't work, but it turns out someone made a rudimentary on/off Alexa skill for these controllers!

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