LED Strip Lights are quickly replacing older incandescent lights as the effects lighting of choice for business and homeowners who want to stylishly rethink the way they light their interiors without compromising on quality. Installing them now will mean that you save up to 90 per cent on the running cost of your lighting, which, with large scale installations like those used in pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels, is very important. What you will find is that each diode on an the strip will use about a tenth of the wattage as an equivalent incandescent, which means you will be able to run your lighting very affordably. They also last considerably longer, up to 20 times longer in fact, with the average life span of an LED being anywhere between 30,000 and 50,000 hours.
One of the defining features of LED Strip Lights is their ease of use. They are made with a user friendly ethos in mind, which makes them incredibly easy to install. However, there are a few things worth considering before you buy. This article will give some practical advice on ordering LED Strip lights for the first time and getting started.
All LED Strip Lights are made to measure. As such, it is a good idea to measure the space in which you intend to install them. This will make sure you get the right length of LED Strip necessary for the project.
Check the Load
Determine the power requirement of the LED Strip Lights. This is a variable figure, depending on the length of the light strip, the number of LEDs per strip and the size of the LEDs. The manufacturer should provide all the specifications you need to help you work out what sort of power source you will need. Always check the specifications of the strip light controller. The controller dictates the performance of the strip light it is connected to. If you have a 100W controller and your strip light performs at 5W per metre, then you will be able to run 20 metres of that particular strip light on a single controller. If you need more then you can use an amplifier to boost the signal of the controller.
Sometimes you might find you have to cut your LED Strips. Thankfully, if they are the wrong size, you won't have to send them back. These lights are fully customizable and cutting them is very straightforward. They have small cutting points along their length which can be cut with a good pair of scissors, so as not to damage the circuit board. Always make sure you cut the LED Strip at the end away from the transformer. Once they are cut they are ready to go!
LED Strip Lights don't usually need any mounting. You will find that most come provided with a 3M high quality adhesive backing which means they can be stuck straight down to a surface.
Hooking up to the power
These Lights run straight off the mains power through a 12V transformer, similar to the ones you find on laptop chargers. This simply steps the voltage down from the 240V mains power to 12V for the LED Strip. Your manufacturer will provide you with all the necessary connector leads to get you going, which usually includes a length of wire that connects the LED Strip to the transformer and a power cable connecting the transformer to the socket. Always find out how long the connector cables are before you begin your project. If they aren't long enough you can always use an extension lead.
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