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Friday, September 25, 2015

LED Pixi flat panel light replaces under cabinet fluorescent light over kitchen counter desk area

LED Pixi flat panel light replaces kitchen under cabinet fluorescent light

PHOTO: My kitchen counter desk's under cabinet fluorescent light was recently replaced with a LED Pixi flat panel light to help me see a little bit better. Except for having an "A" at the end of the model number and being a little bit brighter, externally this Pixie light looks nearly identical to the one installed in the adjacent laundry room ceiling light fixture that originally used a 60-Watt incandescent light bulb. (See previous post LED Pixi flat panel light replaces my laundry room light (4/10/15) for links to the manufacturer's data sheet and a photo of it installed in my laundry room.) Also seen in this photo is the replacement phone I recently had to buy because my twenty-years-old Northern Telecom phone started to have some electrical problems. I found it hard to find a new phone that was low vision accessible -- with large print key labels and with a caller ID display I could see. If I go any blinder, this new phone will also announce the calls via a built-in computer speech synthesis program, which amazingly works, most of the time, but not every time, because sometimes it speaks names with a strange pronunciation. (See previous post LED and CFL bulbs hard to see with blue-orange-yellow color blindness due to their higher color temperature (8/1/15))

I am enjoying my new kitchen counter desk light, but it wasn't easy to install because meeting both safety and electric code requirements required installing a UL-rated electrical box to be added inside of the kitchen cabinet. Surprisingly, the Pixie light fixture doesn't include a standard electrical box conduit clamp like the old fluorescent light had to safely run the 120VAC power wire into it, probably because the Pixie light designers wanted to make the fixture thin as possible. The manufacturer could have solved this problem with some optional spacer plates, which would also solve the other installation problem I ran into with the ground screw and power plug connectors being too thick to flush mount it to the ceiling with having to ding the drywall a tad.

As a side benefit, the new Pixie light is more energy efficient than either the previously used incandescent bulbs or the fluorescent lights. Everybody loves the bright light the Pixie puts out in the laundry room and how it looks aesthetically. However, normal vision people say my kitchen under cabinet light is much too bright for a kitchen desk area. In an attempt to solve this issue, I experimented using a dimmer switch in place of the existing simple wall switch loop. The manufacturer says a standard Leviton dimmer should work, but online reviews suggest some dimmer switch models work better than others at reducing any humming noise when it is dimmed. I also found the humming noise to be an issue and the manufacturer's list of approved dimmers overlaps, but not completely, despite the model number of them being identical, except for a "A" on the end of it.

The only other unknown issue I worry about is if the LED lights will last the 50,000 or more hours promised by the manufacturers, because there is no easy to replace bulb if the light burned out, and the whole fixture would need to be replace, which inovles the hassle of unwiring the 120VAC connection, which would require the services of a licensed electrician.