How LED strips work and install

Easy to assemble and connect and versatile in applications, led strips are also a practical as a central lighting system.

So here is a practical guide on cutting, installing, and correctly connecting the LED strips. These are relatively simple operations that can be performed at home with a minimum of familiarity in DIY.

How LED strips work

Before moving on to the instructions for assembly, let’s clarify what they are and how they work led strips.

Also known by the name of led strip, they are formed by a series of chips that are mounted on a strip of copper or aluminum.

In addition to the chips, i.e., the led lamps that are generally present in a number that varies from 30 to 120 units per meter, in the strip, the resistances allow the strip to work perfectly and other components that increase the effectiveness and durability.

Once connected to a power supply, the LED strips will receive the impulse from the electric current, which will allow the strip to be able to illuminate the chips.

These have a semiconductor inside them that will illuminate the chip as soon as the electric current is received.

Features of LED strips

At first glance, LED strips are skinny and light, so much so that many people wonder if they can illuminate.

The width is typically 10mm or 12mm, making them easy to place in any corner of the house.

Thickness also never exceeds 3mm, making them easy to hide to illuminate rooms dramatically.

Thanks to their extreme flexibility, they can adapt to any curve or corner of the house, but be careful not to place the LED strips in turns with a radius of less than one centimeter.

Below this threshold, you run the risk of irreparably damaging the LEDs that may even stop working.

Energy efficiency is also one of the points in favor of LED strips: with an average brightness of 1,600 to 3,000 lumens per meter, their average consumption per meter is only 5 watts.

For comparison, a 5 meter LED strip with 1,600 lumens per meter will light up precisely like a 500-watt bulb while consuming only 25 watts!

How to cut a led strip

Cutting a led strip does not require special tools, but you must be careful when doing this operation.

In led strips, generally, some cutting points (usually every 5cm), even with the naked eye.

You have to cut the led strip just in these points: cutting in other matters. You risk ruining the entire strip and prevent it from working correctly.

Before proceeding to cut, however, you must take the piece of a strip that is useful for your needs.

To cut the led strip, all you need is a pair of scissors with a sharp blade; after taking the measurements, you will need to hold the scissors firmly and cut along the point of cut.

Once cut the led strip, only one part will be immediately used as it has the output wires, but using connectors for led strips, you can use the other part or connect the two portions.

First, I want to share some basics about led strips and understand what you will deal with. After that, please do not go randomly but read my guide carefully. If you have doubts, reread the steps several times, and you will not make mistakes.

A LED strip is usually sold in Roll 5m long and is similar to a ribbon soldered of light-emitting diodes. On LED strips, the number of LEDs and the distance between them is never the same but varies depending on the light output you want to obtain. If you need to shorten your led strip because you do not need all 5 meters available, you can follow my instructions carefully.

Finally, it would help if you considered that a led strip is a lightweight solution designed to decorate, mark, and offer the opportunity to bring light into a room even where there is only one light point. Thanks to its conformation obtained with a series of LED chips in sequence, it illuminates taking the form of a line of light, which offers numerous opportunities.

LED strips, which to choose?

The purchase phase is perhaps the most difficult because there are dozens of different models on the market, all valid and efficient.

Understanding how to choose the LED strips is necessary, however, to achieve what we have in mind, so here are the three main criteria to be considered in the purchase phase:

the number of LEDs per meter

the color temperature

The length of the LED strips

Choosing LED strips based on the number of LEDs per meter

Those familiar with the field will know that an LED strip is composed of many small LEDs side by side.

Their concentration will, of course, determine the type of lighting, brighter and more homogeneous or – vice versa – more fragmented.

Our advice is to rely on LED strips with a minimum concentration of 50 LEDs per meter because below that threshold. You may experience a certain lack of homogeneity of light once turned on.

If the LEDs are too far apart, they will form distinct cones of light and not a single strip of light.

How to install LED strips?

Once you have chosen the most suitable LEDs, it is time to install the LED strips in the desired locations.

Take the coil and unroll it: you will see that there is a cut point every 5 mm or so.

These sections are made so that they fit perfectly on any surface, cutting out the exact size with almost millimeter precision.

This feature, combined with the fact that the LED strips can be applied even where other chandeliers and light points cannot be installed, makes them extremely practical for creating custom lighting effects.

Installation is easier than you might think because the LED strips are sold with adhesive.

Once you have selected the most suitable location for the installation, gently peel off the protective film placed on the sticker and apply the LED strip as you go.

To make sure the strip sticks appropriately, you need to apply some pressure, pressing firmly without damaging the LEDs.

Once the strips are in place, it is necessary to connect them to a two hundred and twenty to twelve-volt transformer (or, if otherwise specified, rely on the instructions provided).

In this step, you must pay particular attention or, if necessary, have a specialized technician handle the operation.

In any case, wear an electrician’s gloves and rubber shoes to protect yourself as effectively as possible.

In performing this step, it is necessary to connect the electrical wires to the correct polarities because short circuits are dangerous.

Depending on the length and layout of the LED strip, it is necessary to choose the connection point.

In a 10 meter strip, it may be necessary to place it in the center, distributing the energy evenly and constantly.

Conversely, this would create areas where the brightness is more pronounced, and others would be weaker.

How to install on a surface the led strip

Installing led strips is not complicated, but the first thing you have to worry about keeping an eye on is the surface on which you will be installing them. Behind your led strip, you will have to use an adhesive part to attach it to the surface on which you want to place it. If you wish the adhesive to not come off the surface where you have connected it, make sure you clean the base well.

Get rid of dirt and imperfections or if you’re not sure, buy an aluminum profile that will prevent problems over time. The adhesive won’t last long if you ignore this detail

As soon as you have finished carefully cleaning the surface on which you will stick the adhesive part, attach it carefully, making it stick well. If you can, get a small aluminum rail (there are many on the market) to ensure a flat surface without imperfections. At this point, it’s time to connect it to the power and to do so. It would help if you had a power supply or driver.

As for the polarity of your LED strip, remember that companies ‘series’ often indicate this detail on the strip itself. Go to the end or beginning of the strip led, and you will find the signs + and -,. With this indication, you can not go wrong. On the power supply, you will find the same thing!

As for the connection to the general system, equip yourself with a switch to join to the one that already exists through an electrical bridge through a blue cable. On the brown cord, do the same thing by connecting to the switch that will serve as the on/off switch of the strip.

Adhesive Strip Led

Led strip: the adhesive strip on the back must be of good quality to avoid it coming off quickly.

Power a led strip in total safety

The time has come to equip yourself with a soldering iron to join the led strip with another one. Imagine, for example, that you want to make a light path longer than 5 meters. In this case, you will need to connect two of them. To do this, you need to mark these two very significant elements. First, do not exaggerate with the length because, beyond 10m, the LED strips begin to emit no more homogeneous light but tend to decrease.

Second, be careful not to be guided in the purchase only by how much it costs or how cheap is the LED strip you want to buy. The excellent quality of a led strip will allow you to have a line of light illuminated homogeneously and regularly. You won’t have spots where some Led chips make a light and others look like a different color.

If you do get a light effect that doesn’t seem to be even across the length of your LED strip, remember that a power supply placed too far apart may not give you constant current across the distance. Need to create a light line longer than 5 meters? Then place the driver in the middle of your path, and you’ve solved the problem. The voltage drop will be significantly reduced.

If you have followed my instructions now, you have to turn on the switch and see the result. If you haven’t purchased your LED strip yet, now is the time to do so, and be careful what you buy. Have a good light!

Installing LED strips in your home is a simple operation and within reach of all, giving great satisfaction immediately.

LED strips can adapt to the most diverse domestic structures, creatively illuminating the environments.

Positioned in characteristic corners or shaped to follow architectural profiles, they give character and vitality to any environment.

Try placing them along the wooden beams of the ceiling or install them under the kitchen cabinets: they will give a unique and distinctive design touch.

Let’s see how to install LED strips quickly and easily.

Installation and mounting of the led strips

Once the led strips have been cut, it is time to install and mount the led strips.

The installation and assembly are pretty simple: generally, in fact, the LED strips have an adhesive on the back that, once removed, allows you to attach it to a profile or any other surface.

If, however, this part should be absent, do not panic since it is enough to use the glue to mount them.

Given their characteristic of flexibility, the mounting of LED strips can be done on “difficult” surfaces such as corners of ceilings or curved surfaces. Thanks to their aesthetically pleasing impact and reduced thickness are also suitable for mounting on the surface of furniture, showcases, walk-in closets, under cabinets.

Mounting LED strips with aluminum profiles

To further enhance their use, it is recommended to use aluminum LED profiles: these are used more frequently because they have several advantages.

One of them is the simple fact that these profiles are easy to assemble and, above all, they are very durable and able to adapt to any wall and object.

In addition, aluminum tends to protect the led strip from dust and other elements that could damage it. Aluminum also has a heat-dissipating function, so the led strip will last longer than this medium.

Connecting the led strips to a power supply

The connection of the led strip to the electrical system instead is slightly different but not too complex: connect the wires of the ribbon to the power supply, remembering, of course, to respect the polarity of the cables.

What is needed to connect the strip is a 220 to 12V power supply.

The power supply must be connected to the center of the strip and the two sides, thus avoiding creating overloads or having only part of the strip light up perfectly.

You will then need to add a switch by joining the blue and brown wires so that you can turn the strip on and off.

Finally, if you want to get a strip more than 5 meters long, you will have to connect the strip pieces between them, creating a bridge with the electrical wires, which will connect the various parts of the strip.

At this point, the strip will be ready and working to be used.

How to cut the led strip without damaging it

You may need to cut your led strip because it is too long. How to do it? Can it be done? I will answer directly to these two questions, revealing that you can do it but only in specific points of the led strip, and it must be done only in the absence of current.

To know where you can cut your led strip, look carefully on the electronic circuit and find the scissors symbol printed on the led strip. That is exactly where you can cut. Keep in mind that some led strips can be cut every 5cm, others every 20cm, and even every 30cm. It’s not all the same, don’t forget that.

But I want to cut them to the size I want! If you do that, you will ruin your led strip, so don’t do it. When you buy the product, ask for this information as well. Ask how often you can cut them so that you can get the light line you want once positioned. Is that clear?

The symbol that indicates where to cut a strip led

One of the most appreciated features of the led strip is undoubtedly its flexibility and ease of installation. With a led strip, you can create plays of light, luminous grooves, and cuts in walls or ceilings decorative. But you have to pay attention to one thing. Not all LED strips are equal, and then the choice in the purchase is essential.

There are several years that there are LED strips on the market, which has made it more difficult to disentangle the purchase. If you ignore what you buy, you could end up with a led strip that is not very bright, with a reduced duration in time, and that overheats quickly. Today, the led strip can be installed both inside and outside the house, but you must learn to buy products that give you a certain degree of guarantee over time to do it safely.

Length of LED strips

One of the main advantages of LED strips is their versatility.

Generally, flexible LED strips can be found in reels of 5 or 10 meters, but before you go ahead and purchase them, equip yourself with a tape measure and note down the necessary measurements.

Want to install LED strips under your kitchen cabinets? Mark the perimeter and calculate precisely the size you need.

This is very important if you don’t want to end up with new meters or, on the contrary, missing strips.

Choose LED strips based on color temperature.

We’ve already talked about it, but we’ll never get tired of saying it: choosing the right color temperature is necessary to create a comfortable environment that lives up to our expectations.

A color temperature of over 5,000k will be cold and suitable for lighting modern and technological environments. In contrast, a warm light (between 2,000k and 3,000k) will be perfect for giving warmth to the rooms.

Are you in doubt whether to choose a warm or cool light? In this case, you can’t go wrong if you select the essentiality of natural white light.


Ena Leung

Ena Leung

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