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RE: Water hardness and the dishwasher powder you use: informal su (Follow-Up #20)

posted by: chas045 on 07.11.2011 at 04:02 pm in Appliances Forum

Here is a homemade water hardness test from ehow.

Take two separate glasses and fill one with distilled bottled water, the other with water from your tap. Fill them only halfway, and label them appropriately.
Add 10 drops of liquid dishwashing detergent to each glass. The brand of the detergent is irrelevant, although it must be liquid and not powder.

Cover the top of the glasses with your hand, and shake each glass until an adequate amount of soap suds have been created.

Compare the suds level in each glass. If your tap water is hard, it will make less suds than the distilled water.
Add 10 more drops of detergent to the glass filled with tap water and shake again. If the suds level is now the same in both glasses, your tap water is twice as hard as pure water.

Repeat the steps until you can determine how hard your tap water may be. For instance, if you add 40 drops of detergent to the tap water, and the suds level is still the same, your tap water is four times as hard as pure water.
We use Cascade powder filling the cups or the cascade complete.
My water from central north carolina is soft by this test, although it certainly isn't real low because I had a water test done by a salesman and we found significent precipitation. I already know it was reasonably ok because I have experienced hard water in my travels. When you take a shower and the soap doesn't lather you up, you have hard water!

I had a hard time finding a dropper so I had to go from the Dawn bottle itself. It would be more accurate to dilute some detergent with a couple of volumes of distilled water into a small container and use a dropper. In my case a couple of drops was plenty.


clipped on: 05.20.2012 at 03:00 pm    last updated on: 05.20.2012 at 03:00 pm

RE: LED undercabinet lighting for new construction (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: davidtay on 12.05.2011 at 08:54 pm in Lighting Forum

Either the Philips eW profile (direct wire) or some 24V low voltage (environmental lights/ superbrightleds, nora lighting). There is more information on the LED UCL continuation thread.


clipped on: 03.17.2012 at 01:15 am    last updated on: 03.17.2012 at 01:15 am

RE: led strip lighting - ucl (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: davidtay on 10.09.2010 at 04:32 pm in Lighting Forum

There are other sources -, etc.

The low voltage wiring should be 16 or 18 gauge wire.

All the interconnecting wiring will be low voltage.

Always plan on having low voltage wiring run directly from the transformer(s) to each zone. Daisy chaining should be avoided if possible
1. To ensure that a failure in one section will not result in a major failure.
2. The voltage drop may be too great at the daisy chain end.

Another thing - flexible lighting should be handled with care as the LEDs are surface mounted onto flexible printed circuit boards.

Flexible LEDs make sense if you intend to attach the strips onto curved surfaces. They only bend in the y axis.


clipped on: 03.17.2012 at 01:13 am    last updated on: 03.17.2012 at 01:13 am

RE: Help needed for undercabinet lighting choice (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: davidtay on 08.29.2011 at 05:53 pm in Lighting Forum


Following are 2 websites for philips eW Profile PowerCore

You need to measure out the flat part of the undersides of your cabinets and round to the nearest available sizes. For 28.5" - one 21" (19.25")+ one 11" (9.25") if you still have wiggle room to fit the connectors. Otherwise, you will have to settle for a single 21" or stagger the lights.

Make cardboard or wood blanks the same length and ~ width as the various light lengths so that you can play around with the placement.

Dimmer - you can get the necessary Lutron ELV dimmer from Home Depot/ Lowes or online.

Your electrician should really be able to source all the necessary parts.


clipped on: 03.17.2012 at 12:56 am    last updated on: 03.17.2012 at 12:56 am

RE: Help needed for undercabinet lighting choice (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: davidtay on 08.29.2011 at 01:23 am in Lighting Forum

The Philips eW profile powercore is a good place to start. The lights are dimmable.
Other choices include Talea-HP, MaxLite,...

I would avoid the LED strips from either Home Depot or Lowes. I wasn't too impressed by the products from Kichler.

Other tips
Try to have the lights joined end to end to avoid dark spots.
If you have a corner, the lights should be placed like a L if possible to minimize the shadow zone.

Here is a link that might be useful: Philips eW Profile powercore


clipped on: 03.17.2012 at 12:55 am    last updated on: 03.17.2012 at 12:56 am

RE: led ucl continuation (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: davidtay on 12.05.2011 at 01:38 am in Lighting Forum

The 2 main options
1. Direct wire 120V AC
2. Low voltage (24V or 12V DC).

Low Voltage UCL characteristics
a. The low voltage option requires a separate transformer.
b. The lights have typically lower profiles than the direct wire equivalents.
c. The bars may be cuttable unlike direct wire equivalents. This is true when low voltage LED tape lights are used.
d. The required dimmer will depend on the transformer used. If a magnetic transformer is used the dimmer needs to be a magnetic low voltage (MLV) dimmer. In small installations, a rheostatic dimmer may be used/ deployed. However, such dimmers do not save energy.
e. Most installations will be 60W or less for practical reasons.
f. The cost of the transformer(s) must be accounted for as it is typically a significant item.
g. The dimming load is (are) the transformer(s).
h. There are many vendors and a great variation in product quality and abilities (e.g. - flexibility, color rendition index or CRI, output, dimmability, wiring constraints - most are not forgiving of wiring mistakes)
i. Choices available - LED tape, bars, panels.

Direct wire UCL characteristics
a. The height is ~ 1 inch. The Philips eW profile bars are 0.88" tall, but the optional junction box could be an unwelcomed protrusion.
b. The light output could be greater than low voltage LED tape lights.
c. The dimmer for the Philips eW bars will have to be of the electronic low voltage (ELV) variant.
d. Longer runs may be possible than with the low voltage equivalents.

Common to both options
a. Having flat bottomed cabinets without intervening fences is a great advantage as you will be able to form continuous sections of illumination.
b. Separate sections of light bars should be wired in parallel so that problems in one section do not affect other sections. Consider the transformer as a simple junction box for direct wire configurations. Each section will be AC in the direct wire configuration (using romex 14/2 or 12/2)

Circuit Diagram

c. There could be interesting shadow zones depending on the relative position of the bars. This typically happens in corners where the light bars should be placed perpendicular to one another rather than on the hypothenuse. There could be a shadow zone between bars that have a significant spacing between the ends.
d. If the light bars / beads of light are not to be seen reflected off the countertop, the light output should be directed towards the backsplash. An alternative could be to use edge lit light panels which really is the equivalent of aiming the light at something other than the countertop.

Hope there's enough food for thought.


clipped on: 03.17.2012 at 12:41 am    last updated on: 03.17.2012 at 12:41 am

led ucl diy

posted by: jem199 on 06.17.2010 at 12:19 am in Lighting Forum

Instructions for LED DIY
1. Measure the inside bottoms of the front width of your cabinets, between the sides (called fences). This assumes that the upper cabinets are completely flat bottomed.
2. Create a box diagram of your pper cabinet layout on paper and include the measurements.
3. Decide how many lighting zones (circuits) youd like (groupings with their own switch or dimmer). Decide if you want dimming in each zone. You will need a transformer and a switch for each zone. Purchase dimmable transformers and switches for the zones that require dimming.
4. If you have lighting levels in your current kitchen you like, determine the lumens (light output) of those lights to be sure you are adding similar brightness. I used the following
Incandescent are typically 14 lumens per watt.
Fluorescents are typically 60 lumens per watt.
The lighting should be determined by a desired lumens per linear ft basis. The type of lighting (xenon, halogen, fluorescent, led, EL) possible could be dictated by conformance to local laws (eg - title24) FWIW, has a claimed output of 83 lumens per watt. Environmental lights has their lumens here:
5. Determine the lengths of lights for each cabinet. You want at least one light every 30". Many have suggested getting the widest you can for each cabinet and then putting them on a dimmer to give you the most flexibility for task and ambient lighting. You can stack two or more lightbars parallel and connect them with jumpers for more lumens over a high-task area, such as a sink.
6. For each zone, add up the volts for the lights in the zone so you can select the appropriate transformer. Add 15% to your total. Here are the conversions I used (This is specific to the environmentallights type light bar)
15 cm = 5.9" = 1.65w
30 cm = 11.8" = 3.3w
60 cm = 23.6" = 6.6w
90 cm = 35.4" = 9.9w
7. Decide where you will place your transformer(s). Transformers should be placed in a wall, but in a cabinet, basement or attic where there is circulation and you can access it, if needed. You need one transformer for each lighting zone. By code, the transformer(s) have to be in an accessible location. One transformer per lighting zone is required if independent control of each zone is required. If multiple transformers are required, you need to ensure that there is adequate electrical branch wiring to the locations where each transformer is located. The necessary switch controls need to be planned for.
8. Add your lights to your box diagram. This will help you determine the accessories needed and where to place the wires. The lights in each zone must connect to each other and each cable must reach the transformer. For new installs, you can pull the wires back through the wallboard. For existing installs, bring the cables over the tops of the cabinets. You need at least 2 mounting clips per light. You may also need seamless connectors and/or right angle cords for tight spaces between the lights and fence where the cord needs to travel to the back of the cabinet. Interconnected zones should be wired in parallel not series so that a problem in one light bar/ zone would not cause all the lights to go out.

Parts List
1. In wall wiring - Ideal brand low voltage wiring (from HD or Lowes).
2. Ideal Plug disconnects (from HD or Lowes).
3. Lights - depends on how much light you want, total length of cabinets.
4. Transformer(s) - depends on cummulative consumption + 15% margin.
5. Inter-connect wiring.
6. Lightbars from Email for pricing sheet.
7. Transformer from
8. Leviton 6613 magnetic dimmers 1 for each circuit/zone. Check with transformer supplier if youd like to use a different one. Incompatible dimmer switches can void your transformer warranty. This particular dimmer reco assumes that low voltage (12V or 24V) LED lighting will be installed and contains many details specific to environmentallights type lightbars. Magnetic dimmers from various vendors could be used, but require some testing first. If you use a different transformer, check with the manufacutuer if there are known problems with certain dimmers. You can Hook up the system prior to installation for a test run if possible - switch(es).Things to look out for
1. There is no buzzing/ humming sound from the transformer when everything is hooked up and powered on.
2. All lights are equally bright, especially at the ends.
3. No flickering
4. No problems when dimming.

Tips specifics to this type of environmental lights type lightbar:
1. Its a waste to buy the long length 3 prong interconnects. Just cut the interconnect wires and attach to a disconnect.
2. Two adjacent prongs are actually connected to the same DC line. The third is connected to the other DC line.
3. The right angle interconnects are probably more useful for connecting bars set at an angle to each other.
4. You could use flat wire under the cabinets as it comes with double side sticky tape. Some DIY work would be necessary with a soldering iron + heat shrink tubing.
The flat wire is useful in situations where you do not like to see standard low voltage wiring.
5. The plug disconnects would be used to connect the in-wall low voltage wiring to the lighting power cords which connect the lights. It would also connect the in-wall low voltage wiring to the transformer. This way, if you ever decide to change out all the lighting bars to another make, it would be a simple matter of disconnecting from the plug disconnects and perhaps the transformer.

Thanks to davidtay for this information! Be sure to watch both parts of the DIY video below. Its shows how to wire these to household current.

Here is a link that might be useful: UCL Install Video


clipped on: 03.17.2012 at 12:40 am    last updated on: 03.17.2012 at 12:40 am

RE: LED undercabinet lighting for new construction (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: davidtay on 12.07.2011 at 12:16 am in Lighting Forum

Direct wire bars will be larger in thickness, but could be much brighter.
1. Much larger conductors
2. Bigger heat sink
make it easier to drive the LED elements harder.

If you intend to have very long sections, that would bias the choice towards direct wire. If the sections are fairly short (< 5 ft) and not too far from the DC power supply (frequently misnamed transformer), low voltage is feasible.

Currently the eW profile bars are the best for direct wire.

Have you paid environmental lights a visit? They have the maxlite bars (for direct wire).

I did not like any of the UCL solutions from WAC or Juno, other traditional vendors.


clipped on: 03.17.2012 at 12:38 am    last updated on: 03.17.2012 at 12:39 am

RE: LED undercabinet lighting for new construction (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: davidtay on 12.07.2011 at 12:19 pm in Lighting Forum

It wouldn't hurt as they have both DC and AC LED bars.

I would prefer the eW profile.

I would split the kitchen into 3 sections.

If you have a cabinet maker, ask for the dimensions and make sure that the cabinets have flat bottoms without intervening fences.


clipped on: 03.17.2012 at 12:38 am    last updated on: 03.17.2012 at 12:39 am