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Under Sink LED Strip.

One recent trend in RV amenities is the addition of LED strip accent lighting. These strips are inexpensive, and are finding their way into homes, RVs, and autos. In this project, I will be adding a cool-white LED strip to the underside of the sinktop.

I want to power the LED strip via DC battery/power supply, and also want a wired controller to dim the strip. I have no need for any automation, as I am saving those types of controllers to annoy my outside neighbors. As well, I already have enough IR and RF controllers already in the RV that soon I may be having interference issues.

The standard length that LED strips come in is 5Meters, or 16.4ft, and it actually took around 13ft, so make sure you measure your counter area to make sure you do not come up short.

There were no real surprises with the installation, other than making sure before you made any cutouts so that you don't make any mistakes. I used a Porter-Cable Multi-Tool which can make very accurate cuts, and I highly recommend purchasing one of those if you are going to be making a lot of modifications to your RV (or home).

One reason I do like the Multi-tool kit to the right is all of the accessories it comes with. Typically, each cutting blade costs $10 and up at the home centers, so it looks like you are getting $100 worth of blades in the kit (many kits only come with one or two blades).

Also, other useful tools are an Aircraft length 3/16" drill bit for drilling a hole into the sink island, household silicone to help "glue" down the LED strip, and IDC connectors. Of course, you will also need a few screws, some 18AWG wire, and so on.

Also, some thought needs to go into selecting a dimmer (if you want more than just a simple on-off switch). I did buy a nice commercial dimmer, but it was too big to fit into the area that I had available for installation, so I bought a few parts and made one. The dimmer construction is detailed below.

Since I went with a monochrome LED strip (Cool-White), I used SMD3528 strips as they take less power - about 45mA per ft... although this does vary with the LED strip manufacturer. Even then, it would take approximately 2 days for the LED to discharge a typical battery, so it's something you probably will want to turn off when boondocking - another reason for the wired simple On-Off switch.

 


LED Strip Project video.

 


 

        

 


 

Dimmer Module

 

 

The control module is a combination PWM (Pulse Width Modulated) dimmer with an On/Off switch. I will be utilizing a generic PWM module due to cost and effort - so essentially I am adding a On/Off switch and fancy flush-mount panel to the module.

These generic modules are available from multiple sources, and are low cost - around $5. They are constructed in such a manner that it is easy to simply remove the "guts" and put them into a new module.

 

 

This allows for a nicer looking panel that is flush mount. If you would like to do this project, you can download a project-page as a .pdf that provides additional information by clicking on the image to the left.

This file includes construction information, electrical schematic, a bill-of-materials, and drill templates, as well as a cheap do-it-yourself label. You will want to follow the schematic when constructing the project.

As well, I am providing a template for the front panel should you wish to make one. You can download the template from my Panel Template Page. This webpage includes details on how to order the panel.

 


Dimmer Project video.