Advise on LED Strip and Fitting It

I have been asked to put together some general advise on LED strip so if you are interested please read on.

LED Tape
Voltage Selection

The first thing to consider is the length of the runs that you are planning to use and the wattage of the LED tape. As a rule of thumb if you are using 14.4W/m strip then it if you go above 5m runs then it is always best to use 24 volt strip. The reason for using 24 volt over 12 volt is quite simply because the current is halved and as a consequence the voltage drop along the strip is reduced. The net benefit is that the strip will be brighter.

Joining LED Strip

LED strip can be cut to almost any length by cutting through the strip at the marked points with a sharp pair of cutters or knife. Once cut if you want to join to pieces together then you can either use the connectors for IP20 strip or solder on short linkage wires. If you want a 100 percent  reliable connection then I would always recommend soldering. now when connecting there is a note of caution that you connect the correct wires together. This means that you have to ensure that you cut the strip at the correct end otherwise your linkage wires will need crossing. This methodology applies to both single colour 2 wire strip and RGB 4 wire.

led-tape_connector_5050rgb_1pair

RGB Strip connection wire colour convention

An easy mistake to make with RGB tape is to connect up the wires incorrectly. So the black is positive or live and then the 3 additional wires are Red, Green and Blue. Do not mix up the Blue and Black!

led-tape_connector_5050rgb_end_15cm

Sticking Down LED Strip

LED strip does come with a sticky back but this cannot relied on in all situations. For example is you are sticking strip upside down on a horizontal surface then always use some clear silicon to bond the strip to the surface. This will avoid the strip falling off a few days or week later. The other good tip is say you are putting LED strip in the groove around the underside of a kitchen work surface then do not stick the strip to the top of the groove stick it to the outside vertical surface and this means it will hold better and also that it will wash light rays effectively down the cabinet doors.

Dimming  and Colour Control of Long Lengths of Strip or 

If you have a long length of strip which is say single colour which you need to dim and too long for a single driver then the best way to join it is using data repeaters. By using the data repeater you can use an additional driver at the junction point and also ensure that the identical signal in the first length is passed to the second length. This means that when you dim the tape the whole length will dim together. The other useful tip here is that if you are using a 4 channel data repeater then you can link together the RGB outputs and this will mean that the data repeater can take 3 times the load.

For RGB the principle is identical and the data repeater will ensure that the same signal is passed between the strip lengths and what ever shade or colour sequence you have on the first length will be repeated for the next. This principle applies to whatever control method you are using for the RGB tape whether that is simple colour wheel control or DMX.

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