I recently moved into a new apartment, and finally decided to get a pair of display cabinets. My figure collection has been growing steadily, but I never really expanded the display areas. So I made a trip to Ikea to get two of their Detolf display cabinets.
Figure collectors are probably intimately familiar with them already.
Another goal I had was to light the cabinets, as they can look a bit dark with just the lamp in my room. I picked up two packs of Ikea's Dioder LED strip lights. For $30 a pack they're a pretty good value as far as LED lighting goes. You get four strips to a package along with all the wiring and hardware you need to power and mount them. Ready-made solutions like this from online stores can easily run $100+ so there's really no reason not to go with Ikea.
The Dioder system is pretty flexible. Each bank of LEDs has a male connector on one end and a female connector on the other. You can connect the strips together in series either directly or with a strip-to-strip connector.
I decided to run the lights down the side of my cabinets, one strip for each shelf. Unfortunately, the strips aren't long enough to make it all the way down. So I connected them in two groups of two. This helps to minimize the wire mess as well.
Setting up is as easy as plugging a bunch of stuff together. You then fit an end cap onto any open female connectors (so stuff doesn't mess with the electrical contacts), then plug in a power cable to each group of lights. The power cables go into a splitter which supports four plugs, and that's wired to the transformer and light switch. Everything is easy and intuitive. The transformer only outputs 5W so I wouldn't recommend connecting more than four light strips.
Detolf cabinets have metal skeletons, which provide convenient mounting points for the lights. I just used zip ties to hold the lights on, and they seem to be holding pretty well. You have to finagle it a bit to get the lights to stay at the right angles. Finally I routed all the cables down and out of the cabinet through the gaps between the door and the sides. I zip died the excess wires (there will be a lot) and hid them behind the cabinets. Thin wires make for easy routing, so that's nice. Now it's time to turn the whole thing on!
Here's the before shot...
Here's the after shot!
I used the same camera settings for both shots to give an idea of how much difference the lighting makes.
Overall I'm happy with how it turned out, but I do have some complaints. First, the lights are very warm (color-wise, not actual heat output). Ikea lists them at 2700K which is about the kind of light you'd get from an incandescent bulb. I would have liked a purer white, around 4500K for just a slight bit of warmth.
The Dioder lights are also not terribly bright. If you have just a single cabinet, you may want to run each strip across the top of each shelf.
My last complaint is that the housing around the LEDs is clear. I would have liked a frosted housing to diffuse the light a bit. The actual light is still pretty soft, but it leads to funky shadows as you have several pinpoint light sources shining on an object.
Aside from those relatively minor complaints, I like the Dioder system. It was easy to work with, and with LEDs, you don't have to worry about heat or UV rays (the natural enemies of PVC figures). So if you're looking to light your Detolf cabinets, Dioder is definitely worth your consideration.
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