I’m getting ready to install cabinet LED strips in the kitchen. I purchased a big enough power supply to run them all (this one to be exact http://www.meanwellusa.com/webapp/product/search.aspx?prod=LRS-200). My kitchen has a 1.5ft tall opening above the top cabinets and I was planning on just setting the power supply up there. Even though the contacts are exposed, no one can get up there without a ladder and the only one getting up there would be me. I was thinking about it some tonight and I’m wondering if I should get an enclosure to put the power supply in just to be safe or if it’s fine to just set this up there. Searching the forums and looking at other people’s projects, it doesn’t look like anyone uses enclosures, but I want to make sure I do this right. Any thoughts?
Lots of people use enclosures, and it’s always a good idea for anything not actually inside a box in the wall. They’ve been discussed in a number of different project reports. These are often called “project boxes” and any electrical supply house will have them. Or you can get one on Amazon or at Home Depot.
Here’s an example of a thread with a project similar to yours I think:
I like Hammond boxes, but there are lots of different brands
And here’s one for a gate opener project:
If nothing else, they help keep dust from settling on the connections, and mice from chewing (or peeing) on them.
And, yes, I’m serious about the mice. The Illinois public health department estimates that 25% of all fires from “unknown causes“ were caused by mice chewing on electrical wiring or gas lines or matches.
It is estimated that 25 percent of all fires attributed to “unknown causes” are probably started by rodents gnawing on gas lines, electrical wiring and matches.
NYC requires BX for electrical (as opposed to Romex) for just that reason.
Heat dissipation would also be a consideration—particularly if you’re drawing anywhere near the capability of the supply. That perforated cover is there for that very purpose. The power supply specs probably address the necessary cooling requirements…
Yes. By my calculations, I’m going to be at 78.75% of the power supply rating with the LED strips and the Fibaro controllers. I’m still hunting for a case that will fit in the space and be big enough for the components. I’m thinking about possibly cutting a hole in it and sticking an 80mm fan in there to keep air circulating. I should be able to add that and still remain <80% of power supply capacity.
You convinced me. I kept going back and forth on the best thing to do, but I’ll definitely get a box for it.
@Barkis ’ point about heat dissipation is important, too, but project boxes are meant to have holes drilled in them. Then screen them to keep the mice out. You can probably even screen an entire vertical side. Or they do make project boxes with heat sinks. You might just take the device you want to enclose to an electrical supply house and see what they suggest. ( i’m a network engineer, not an electrician: I would certainly defer to the experts on stuff like this. )
The enclosure is to prevent anyone or anything from accidentally touching the terminals. For low voltage and current, you’re likely to get only a slight shock. For household current, you can get a nasty burn and a life-threatening shock. A bug or pet shorting the terminals can cause a fire. That’s why the electrical code is so strict: safety. Use an enclosure.