Banish Dangerous Shadows Under Kitchen Cabinets

[nebulous] has a lot of problems with his kitchen cabinets. Aside from a noted lack of micro-controllers, he was especially suspicious of the dark spaces under them. Anything could be hiding there.

The core of the project is a $10 Arduino-compatible esp8266 board from digistump. The board is powered by the five volt regulator of an L298N motor driver module hooked to a power-supply. All this controls a set-of LED strips adhered to the underside of the cabinets with the traditionally bad adhesive strips with which they come standard. We can predict an hour spent bent awkwardly cursing at them, a hot-glue gun in one hand, in [nebulous]’s future. The whole set-up is housed in a SparkFun cardboard box above the microwave. You can barely tell it’s not a commercial product.

We’re not certain if we like a future where even our cabinetry has an IP address. However, this is a good weekend project that could make all our cabinetry brighter, safer, and more connected.

30 thoughts on “Banish Dangerous Shadows Under Kitchen Cabinets

  1. Having a similar problem in my kitchen I took the easy route and just connected the led strip psu to light switch in the cooktop range hood.

    I also added segments of LED strip to the under side of each shelf in the pantry connected to a 12V SLA via a micro switch on the door.

    I don’t have wifi control or dimming functions – maybe a project for the future

      1. I don’t think I missed the point of the article, it’s a great article. But not everyone has a spare controller laying around and not everyone wants as much control as this author wants. I posted a link to my article to show that there are low cost alternatives for basic under cabinet lighting.

    1. You should rename that Instructable to “How to kill yourselve for under 30$”. The SMPS has a PE terminal which you *might* want to consider using. Then there is that thing with screw terminals and bare copper braids.
      AC mains is no joke.

  2. (sarcasm) This is way more impressive than thousands of other projects littering (/sarcasm)

    P.S. – We desperately need to be able to use greater than and less than symbols in the comments. I haven’t bothered to test brackets or html symbols, but the one time I tried the actual characters around the word “sarcasm”, the “tag” was dropped.

    Testing brackets: [ ] [sarcasm] ] [
    Testing html character codes for gt/lt: <sarcasm>

  3. I have a similar system. Even down the packaging! The difference is that I am looking at using changes in the WiFi RSSI to detect local (people) movement and I syncronise the time daily with a ntp server so it is off overnight / during the day and active when it’s “needed” morning & evening. A bit of an overkill but it doesn’t cost any extra.
    The RSSI people detector side of things isn’t very reliable so far and I really need an outside light sensor or something as some days it’s needed earlier than others. I’m also having issues with the ESP8266 resetting itself about 1-2 times a day & am trying to track that down.

      1. Uh yes?

        I think it would be rather hard to have a toilet measure its own weight, though. You can’t use the volume of water in the bowl; it’s a floater or a sinker, and the specific gravity of urine can change a lot. You can’t use any sort of force sensor, because it’s effectively sitting on a block of wax (and bolted to the floor).

        It’s a tricky problem.

    1. I got some double sided foam tape from 3m.
      It’s got plenty of sticking power.

      there were a few places where I needed to put in wires to accommodate non-90 degree angles… those got plastic wire staples…

    2. @nebulous
      I feel your pain. Many are the problems that have made me desire to liberally apply a staplegun. In my case, though, few are the problems that would actually be *solved* by a staplegun.

  4. The flickering might be because a motor driver is being used to drive LEDs. While a motor has substantial inductance that limits current inrush, LEDs don’t. You need to add an inductor in series with the driver output, and probably need to increase the PWM frequency. Motors usually are driven at 10s of kHz, LEDs are driven at 100s of kHz or more (so that only a small inductor is required).

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