Under Cabinet and General Lighting Strip How-To

This post will discuss the process on how to put together a lighting assembly. I’ll walk through the step by step process on how I set up lighting for my cubicle.


Take a moment to daydream how you want to utilize LED lighting. Here are some examples:

  • Do you want to use it in your kitchen to accent your backsplash?
  • Do you want to use it in the arm within a sewing machine for task lighting?
  • Do you want to use it for ground effects on a wheelchair?
  • Do you want to use it within a utility vehicle to give extra light?
  • Do you plan on using it as a night light?
  • Do you want a certain color or brightness?

Consider how you can provide power. Do you have access to an outlet, or will you be relying on a battery of some sort? Do you want something easily accessible or out of reach?

Now consider the length. Using a 4" strip to backlight a picture will require a different set up than lighting 20 feet of cabinets.

For my particular situation, I wanted to light up almost 2 feet underneath my overhead cubicle cabinet with a warm colored light. I have easy access to my power strip # TL486-ND. I have the capability to run to the lab to solder components, but truth be told I really wanted something plug and play so I could assemble it at my desk.

Now that we have a defined goal of what we want to accomplish, let’s start investigating parts…

Bill of Materials:

LED strips (Jump to respective 12V / flex strip options here or read on for further instructions) -

In the LED Lighting - COBs, Engines, Modules category, I selected the following parameters from the respective selection boxes:
Color: White, Warm
Type: Linear Light Strip, Flexible.
Forward Voltage Parameter: 12V

Lastly, I checked the “In Stock” status button and applied all of these filters. For those who are interested in browsing to see what is available, I recommend only applying one filter at a time and bypassing any filters that are not crutial (for example, if you’re open to a 24V design or cool white over neutral light, then by all means alter those filters as needed or leave them blank to see all the options).

I arrived at part # 1647-1019-1-ND. The manufacturer datasheet notes that this particular part uses 12V and consumes 1.5W per foot (1.5 Watts divided by 12" = 0.125W per inch). The Digi-Key description on this item notes that each piece is 1.85". That means each 1.85" section will be 0.25W in power.

The length I need is 22.5 inches, which means I need to order 12 pieces for a (total of 22.2") or 13 pieces (24.05"). When ordering 12 pieces of this part, I was delighted to receive the parts all in a strip - no soldering required to jumper from one LED section to the next.

Power Supply - I knew I needed 12VDC. For my current design I would need a minimum of 6 Watts (12 pieces x my wattage of 0.25W = 6Watts). While looking through our AC/DC wall adapters, I came across part # 1647-1064-ND which is a 12W output at 12V. This is a center positive power supply with a 1.3 ID x 3.5 OD power plug.

Connecting the Supply to the LEDs - One could solder positive and ground wire leads directly to the pads of the LEDs, but manufacturer Inspired has made it really easy to forgo soldering any components. One of the options is a barrel jack soldered to a breakout board (part # 1647-1010-ND). It should be noted that when you order quantity 1 of this part number, you will actually receive two breakout boards with their own jack. All you need to do is snap the boards to create two individual boards.

Hooking it all up

Prepare the barrel jack boards by snapping the boards apart to create two individual boards. Pull the dark brown latch out from the body of the connector.

Peel back the adhesive on the LED tape. Note orientation and slide the LED strip on top of the dark brown latch into the connector. Press the dark brown latch back into the connector housing.

Plug the barrel connector into the jack and plug the power supply into your AC supply.

Ta-Daaaah! Lights!

Helpful Notes

  • Let it be known that there are constraints with distance on these LEDs. It will be noted in the datasheet if such constraints are present. You may need to use a terminal block to create two strips in parallel.

  • If you need to connect more than one strip of LEDs, you can use barrel jacks like those above and a cable such as one of these to jumper strips together.

  • You’re not stuck with barrel plugs if you don’t want to be… you can solder directly to the pads of the LED strip or you can utilize a wide range of other connection options (take a peek at our TigerPaw Connector options specific to these particular LED strips for making power to LED connections)

  • View more Accessory Options by Clicking Here. Some fun things included in here are plug and play options like a motion detector, in line switches or dimmers, and mounting tracks.