LED cupboard

Ever had a cupboard somewhere in a dark corner? Cant see what is in your cupboard at night? The solution is easier, faster and cheaper than your think. A quick DIY project to last you long and provide an elegant solution.

The project is very straight forward, no electronic background is required, it is simple to do, does not cost an arm and a leg.

Convert your cupboard to work like a refrigerator, as soon as you open the door the light comes on and you can see what it going on on the inside.

What you need

All the required tools and parts you can obtain from an electronics shop, here is a breakdown

Sundries

  • 3v LEDs (20000mcd 20 degrees)
  • Battery holder (takes 2 x 1.5v batteries)
  • Terminal connector (from battery holder to the electrical cable)
  • 0.5mm ripcord (electrical cable)
  • 2 x 1.5v batteries
  • Micro switch
  • Glue sticks
  • Screws that fit the micro switch
  • Insulation tape

Tools

  • Soldering Iron
  • Side cutter
  • Glue gun
  • Screw driver
  • Sharp pointed object to pierce cable, big enough of LED pins but small enough not to damage second wire in cord

All and all for 4 cupboards the cost was under 15USD (130 ZAR)

Overview

You will align the micro switch with your cupboard door to switch on or off when the door opens and closes. Once the door is open th LED lights will light up and when it closes the LED will not shine any more.

  • Measure the required amount of cable (ripcord) you will need.
  • Solder the terminal connector to the one end of the ripcord.
  • Cut ripcord track that is connected to the red / positive terminal, strip the wires and solder to your micro switch on the NC (normally closed) and the C (common) pins.
  • Secure the micro switch once aligned with the door, ensuring it is making a good connection and does not impair your cupboards' usage.
  • Strip about 1 cm (0.4 inches) off the one end of the ripcord. You will use the striped plastic as a sleeve over the pins of the LED to prevent any possible short circuits. Once you have stripped the track, CUT OFF the exposed wire.
  • Pierce the ripcord, one on the positive and one on the negative track, just big enough for the exposed LED pins to fit through.
  • Place LED into the pierced holes, short LED pin on negative and long LED pin on positive, if you do this incorrect, the LED will NOT emit light.
  • Bend the LED pins in opposite directions of each other but in line with the track, use a small strip (4-5 cm [ up to 2 inches])of insulation tape and place diagonally on the exposed LED pins, then securing the tape on over the pins and across the ripcord.
  • Glue the wire neatly and remove excess cable.
  • Gently bend the LED on the sleeve to adjust as you require inside your cupboard.
  • Enjoy.

Battery life

It all depends on the amount of LED's you are using, as well as how ofter you open the cupboards, and how long the light is shining. As you use your new cupboard lights you will get a feeling how long the battery life is for your setup.

Conclusion

This is a pet project, all relevant caution should be taken to ensure there is no risk to you or your home.

Parts required
Parts required
The cupboard, before
The cupboard, before
Battery holder terminal, securely soldered to the ripcord
Battery holder terminal, securely soldered to the ripcord
Cut one track of the ripcord, solder to pin marked NC (nomally closed) and one to C (common). Align and secure micro switch with cupboard door.
Cut one track of the ripcord, solder to pin marked NC (nomally closed) and one to C (common). Align and secure micro switch with cupboard door.
Carefully pierce the ripcord, one hole per track
Carefully pierce the ripcord, one hole per track
Create sleeves for the LED pins from stripped ripcord.
Create sleeves for the LED pins from stripped ripcord.
Once correctly in place the LED will emit light, bend the exposed pins AWAY from each other and in line with the ripcord
Once correctly in place the LED will emit light, bend the exposed pins AWAY from each other and in line with the ripcord
Neatly use the diagonal insulation tape and secure the LED onto the ripcord
Neatly use the diagonal insulation tape and secure the LED onto the ripcord
Test everything before you start neatening up with the gluegun
Test everything before you start neatening up with the gluegun
Voilà! Light emitting cupboard
VoilĂ ! Light emitting cupboard
In action
In action

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