7 Things to Know Before Buying and Installing 12V LED Strip Lights

Flexible LED strip lights are used all over the world in various industrial, commercial and residential projects. LED strip lighting is popular among many Architects and Lighting Designers due to the improvements in efficiency, color options and brightness. The biggest draw is how easy they are to install. Their flexibility, low-profile and helpful accessories make them the most popular LED strip for the at home DIY types. With these LED strips, a homeowner can design like a professional with the right supplies and just an hour or two.

LED strip lights have many options, and there is no simple "one size fits all" standard. This LED light resource guide will educate novices and experts on finding the best LED strips for work and how to use them while overcoming common installation obstacles.

This guide will educate novices and experts on finding the best LED strips for work and how to use them while overcoming common installation obstacles.

LED strips: what makes them so special?
LED strip lights, also known as LED strip lights or LED strip lights, are known for their low size and flexibility. The efficient leds are mounted on a 10mm wide circuit board and are between 3 and 16.4 feet in length. Flexible LED strips have many features that make them easy to use in a variety of situations:

Cut size - because of the cut line on the strip, cutting the LED strip is very simple. There is a black line at each cut point and a brazing pad on each side. The brazing pad makes each strip addressable even after cutting. This allows the LED strips to be connected together or to different areas of the home.

Flexible LED strip with adhesive - LED strip with 3M adhesive backing provides easy installation options. The thin flexible strip has a stripped backing that exposes 3M adhesives for easy stripping and pasting installations.

Waterproof or not - LED strip lighting is not limited to interior engineering. The waterproof LED strip is rated IP65 and is made of silicone material to protect the strip parts from dust and moisture. Waterproof LED lights are a bit expensive, but are a must for any outdoor or near water projects.

12 volt LED - LED bars require 12VDC power input to operate. This will require an AC/DC transformer for home use, but will make it safer for the strips to pass through the house. The battery also outputs dc power, so it is easy to make battery-powered LED lights from these flexible strips.

7 things to know before installing LED strips
LED flexible strips are suitable for various projects, but sometimes it is difficult to know where to start. If you don't know where to start, follow this seven-step guide. This guide shows various LED bar options and plans to make your home LED bar lighting a success!

LED strip density = brightness

The density of the LED strip means how many leds are in the set area. For LED flexible strips, the density is measured as "LED per meter". Standard density strip with 30 LED/M, while high density strip with 60 LED/M. Higher density strip equals higher quality and brighter light. The following table shows the difference between standard and high-density bands. Note the lumen output and the difference between each cut length and the maximum run length.

Density LED number lumen wattage
Maximum clippable (per roll). run
Stents. (SD) 30 / m 540 / m 27 w / 4 "32.8 ft
High (HD) 60 meters / 1,080 meters / 40 watts per 2 "16.4 feet
Lumens are measures of brightness perceived by the human eye. Because of incandescent lighting, most of us use watts to measure the brightness of a light. For leds, lumens are the new standard for describing light output. Lumen output is one of the most important parts of selecting an LED strip because it will determine the type of light you will receive.

Be sure to keep track of lumens when comparing LED bar brightness. In the table above, the bands are labeled lumens per meter. To find the total lumen output, just find out how many meters you will run.

Lumen output is one of the most important parts of selecting an LED strip because it will determine the type of light you will receive.

Different projects require a certain amount of brightness to achieve their goals. My advice is to always choose the brighter option and add a dimmer. Here is a useful guide to lumen requirements:

Accent or mood lighting - 100-300 lumens per foot.
Under cabinet lighting - 175-360 lumens per foot.
Mission lighting is further away from the source - 300-450 lumens per foot.
Bedroom, bay lighting - 180-500 lumens per foot.
Color: RGB multi-color, UV, color, white CCT range
The color of the LED strip depends on personal preference. For those who like a variety of colors and color effect, RGB LED light bar is a good choice. RGB bar lamp is become angry strip, suit the key illume in the home very much. They use red, green and blue diodes so that they can be mixed to produce many different colors. If you are using an RGB ribbon, be sure to use the 3-channel controller in the dimming section of this guide.

Available in Ultra Violet (UV) versions. This is a great way to apply uv or make your own black light!

Bands are also available in monochrome: red, green, blue, yellow and white (3000-6500k CCT).

CCT stands for related color temperature, which is the color temperature of light in kelvin (K). The rated temperature of the LED strip directly affects the appearance of the lamp. Please check the photos below for reference. Warm white is what we call 3000K, which has an orange or yellowish appearance. When we increase the degree of kelvin, the color changes from yellow to white to natural white, and then to blue to white, which is called cold white.

So which color do I choose? Use warm white, neutral white and cold white stripes to see the room below. Notice how the color temperature of the bar light affects the appearance of the entire room. It all depends on personal preference and overall style, and want the room to vent.

Warm white LED strip in the kitchen
Warm White hotel creates a Warm and comfortable atmosphere. It is usually used in a room (living room, bedroom, dining room, etc.) where everyone is gathered to visit or relax.

Kitchen neutral white LED light strip
Neutral or natural white creates natural daylight. This is the best-selling ribbon because it mimics natural light and can be used comfortably anywhere in the home. This is our most popular cabinet LED strip.

The kitchen adopts Cool White 6500K LED light bar
Cool White combines modern and modern styles to create a bright and fresh color. Cold white is great for task lighting because it's a brighter, more focused light. Use the brightest, coolest colors in your bathroom, kitchen, and workspace.

The length of the belt
It is best to outline the entire project and see how many feet of tape you will use. This gives you an idea of what to buy and how much it will cost. LED lights come with a length of 3 feet. Increase all the way to a full reel (16.4 ft.). It is important to determine whether to purchase reel lengths and cut them to size, or if it would be beneficial to cut smaller lengths for you.

At this stage, draw your project. Planning requires the location of the ribbon lights, how they are connected, and whether they will all return the same power supply or have a separate power supply. This step will be helpful as you complete the next few steps.

LED light bar chart layout
LED lamp with power and power supply
What type of power supply does the LED strip need? LED bars always require 12 v dc input.

This is the easy part. The next step is to find the wattage. As shown in the figure below, this should not be too bad if you have selected the stripe density and total length.

Detailed wattage table of 12V LED light bar
Length (feet) length (meters) 30 LED/M
Wattage: 60 LED/M
1 0.3048 2.4 4.8
2 0.6096 4.8 9.6
3 0.9144 7.2 14.4
6 1.8288 12.15 20.8
9 2.7432 17.1 27.2
12 3.6576 22.05 33.6
16.4 (full volume) v 27 40
If you are running multiple power supplies, note the length of each power supply to find the power supply size you need.

LED power options:

Plug-in adapter - plugs directly into the wall to power the LED strip.
Hard wire power supply - connects directly between the line voltage line and the LED strip.
Adjustable light source - want a regular residential dimmer like Lutron or Leviton? This is your strong choice!
Battery - find a 12V battery pack or use an 8-cell battery holder.
Wiring and connecting LED strip
This is where the previous sketch will come in handy to start thinking about where you will run all the strips. Plan to run all the strips for a long time? If the total length you need exceeds the maximum running length of the strip (SD is 32.8 feet, HD is 16.4 feet), then you need to connect the parallel power cord to a separate strip.

As our sketches show, sometimes you want to plug a power cord from a different direction into a common power supply. In this case, you will have run parallel lines.

Wiring LED strips can be difficult when you are dealing with multiple rolls, but we have a power supply and wiring guide that you can follow to draw LED strip Settings.

Wiring accessories: LED light bar connector and wire splitter

Any strip project requires a connection to the LED strip. We have some useful accessories and guides to complete any LED strip connection.

Solder wire and your own connection? Please be sure to follow our welding guide. The recommended strip wire can be found here.

How to connect LED strip without welding? Our EZ Click Strip connector is ideal for end-to-end connection strips, running between LED strips or in narrow corners. Our guide to all-led strip connectors shows how to use these connectors to provide convenient connections for any strip item.

Connect the LED strip to the power supply
How to connect multiple LED strips to a single power supply? LED bar splitter can easily plug multiple strips into a single power supply! Strip separators may provide two, three or four output channels.

Dimming LED light strip
LED strip lamps are usually dimmed by an on-line pulse width modulation dimmer. These dimmers operate on the 12-volt side of the system and are connected between strips as shown.

PWM dimmers are popular because they can be used with any transformer or battery power source and they do not need to be listed as dimmable. PWM dimming provides smooth control of Settings from darkest to brightest. PWM LED strip controller is reasonable in price and easy to install. It is the first choice for LED strip dimming.

Some homeowners have equipped their areas with central dimming systems. In these cases, the owner wishes to use the AC dimmer they have installed to control the light. If you want to use such an AC dimmer, you will need an adjustable light source as described in this article.

3-channel LED controller
RGB bar controller - if you have a color-changing RGB LED bar, then you need a 3-channel RGB controller. These controllers control the red, green, and blue channels to blend colors and create a color change effect for the stripe. If you do not have this device, your RGB LED bar will not work properly, so if you are using multi-color LED bar, please be sure to buy.

Install LED strip

The adhesive on the LED strip is useful for installation, but sometimes more is needed. Like most adhesives, it does not adhere well to certain surfaces and may require reinforcement over time. In these cases, use one of the following options:

Extra tape - 3M tape placed on the surface before the tape to double the adhesive.
LED strip mounting clip - strip mounting bracket

For those who want a professional look, installing tracks is another good option. These aluminum extrusions can accommodate your light bar and have everything you need installed. LED strips are attached to the bottom of the track, with a uv lens that slides on top to scatter light.

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