Sunday, December 7, 2014

I Can See Clearly Now

Since nearly all of the lights in the Scamp are mounted below the upper cabinets, seeing what's in the upper cabinets often involved Braille or a flashlight, especially in those cabinets filled with a bunch of small stuff.

I ended up buying a 5 meter roll of waterproof led strip lights from Amazon. My thought was that I might use some of it for external lighting. These lights are 12 volt, some strip lights are other voltages.

The strip can be cut about every three inches. Waterproof strips have the LEDs encased in a clear silicon bead.

The roll came with a connector pigtail on one end for LE's 110 volt transformer supply. I cut the plug off, and soldered 16 gauge wire into the remaining pigtail. The strip was wired with 24 gauge wire. I couldn't use crimp connectors because of the mismatch in sizes.

Futzing around with the soldering iron and shrink tubing added a bit of time to the project, but I'm sure that I have good connections.

The strip comes with an adhesive backing. I wiped down the inside of the cabinet face frame with isopropyl alcohol and then stuck the strip in place along the top edge of the cabinet face.

Amazing what a little light will do! Now I can figure out what spices I'm reaching, etc. In this installation, I used 36 inches of led strip to light up the two cabinets over the stove and sink.

I didn't want to have a switch on the cabinet face, so I inset a switch on the bottom of the cabinet, hidden behind the face frame. It's easy to reach if you know where it is located.

While much more efficient that incandescent lights, the 36" strip does draw 6 watts. It draws 3 times more power than one of our LED reading lights (but just 1/3 of a single incadescent,) but this light won't get used for long periods.

Using additional short strips was a bit challenging. The silicon bead had to be removed from the backing in order to install a connector. The non-weatherproof type strip would not require that surgery.

The small connector was designed to connect two LED strips together. I should have ordered some connectors with pigtails attached, but who wants to wait for the brown Santa when you have a soldering iron handy?

All this extra effort so I could add a light to the cabinets that holds our games and my personal "stuff" on the other side of the trailer.


  1. Brilliant! (No pun intended.) :)

    1. It really helps a lot in those overhead cabinets. If I were going to do it over I'd get the non-waterproof version since it's so much easier to install the connections on short sections.

  2. Now that you've practiced on your cabinets, you can plan to do ours. We can't see a thing in that pantry/closet!

  3. You should be a Scamp Design Consultant.

    1. I know a bunch of people that would like to suggest product improvements to Scamp, but they don't change anything rapidly leaving lots of opportunity for people to individualize their Scamps.