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Guide to LED Strip Lights 23 Apr 2019

LED strip lights can be used virtually anywhere to introduce powerful lighting in a variety of colours and brightness. Flexible and versatile, LED strips provide an effective lighting solution for a range of applications.

– How do LED Strip Lights Work?
– How to Choose
– How to Install
– How long do LED Strips Last?

How do LED Strip Lights Work?

A strip light is a flexible circuit board populated with LED lights. Also known as LED tape or ribbon lighting, it usually features an adhesive backing. LED lighting has been around for well over 50 years and the technology used has evolved over time. Traditionally LED strips have been used predominantly in accent and decorative lighting applications. However, the enhanced performance of today’s products has ensured a far wider reaching use.

The strip itself is available in a variety of lengths and depths. Many products are narrow and flexible enough to be used to great effect in awkward areas, such as under cabinets and around doorways. Strip lighting can also be cut to length and purpose. The strong tape on the back of the strip allows users to peel and stick the lights to several different surfaces. As with all LEDs, strip lights boast low energy consumption. From single colours to colour changing options, LED strip lights can be used cost-effectively to create a wide range of different lighting effects. Furthermore, if used in conjunction with a suitable transformer or controller, almost all LED strip lights are dimmable.

How to Choose the Right LED Strips

From application and installation to colour scheme and power supply, it’s important to consider several factors when choosing LED strip lights.

For a simple solution, plug and play LED strip light kits may be the appropriate choice. Depending on the size of the area, it may simply be a case of cutting the appropriate length, peeling off the adhesive backing and securing the strip in place before plugging in and switching on.

However, for larger areas and more permanent installations, mains wired LED strip lighting offers more versatility. When installing mains wired LED strip lights, a compatible LED transformer is required. LED lighting consumes significantly less power than traditional lighting. As such, a compatible transformer is required to provide the appropriate level of power needed. When choosing a transformer, it’s crucial to consider the total wattage required by taking into account the length of the strip to be powered and the size of the LED chips on it. An additional consideration is whether the transformer needs to be dimmer compatible.

The intended application will influence the choice of length and colour of the LED strips. Similarly, an indoor or outdoor application will have an impact on the decision-making process.

LED lights are available in a range of different colour temperatures, allowing the user to create different shades of light. From warm to cool tones, LED strip lights can be used to create different ambiences depending on the surroundings in which they are to be installed. Dimmable LED strip lights offer complete control over lighting, allowing the interior ambience to be changed according to mood.

Some LED strip lights also offer multicolour options that allow the user to switch between a range of colours. Red, green and blue (RGB) lighting enables the creation of millions of different colours of light, all generated from these three primary colours.

When considering LED strip lighting for outdoor use, it’s important to ensure the product has a highly durable PVC body which is outdoor rated and impact resistant. LED strip lighting is also available in splash and waterproof coatings. The intended application will dictate the required Ingress Protection (IP) rating of the LED. This rating determines the lighting’s level of protection against both solid objects, such as dust and its protection against moisture.

How to Install LED Strip Lights

Once decisions surrounding strip colour and length and transformer type have been made, installing the lighting is the next step. Installation processes can vary depending on the location of the installation and whether additional support from an electrician is required.

Mains wired lighting involves connecting the LED compatible transformer to the mains and then connecting the transformer to the strip lighting. If necessary, the strip should be cut to length. Once the adhesive backing has been removed, the strip can be fixed to the desired area.

Installing RGB LED strip lights involves a slightly different process. A remote unit needs to be connected to the transformer and the strip light to allow the user to change the colour of the lighting via remote control.

From awkward corners to particularly large areas, in some cases it may be necessary to attach multiple lengths of strip lighting together. Strip connectors can be used to resolve this issue and often don’t require any soldering.

How long do LED Strip Lights Last?

LEDs boast a general life expectancy of 50,000 hours. This equates to around six years of continuous use. Over time, LEDs slowly and gradually lose their light output and 50,000 is the number of hours it generally takes for LED lights to diminish to 70% of their original light output.

There are however many factors that can influence LED life. The quality and durability of the materials used for manufacture can play a part. Reputable manufacturers perform tests on their LEDs and reputable suppliers can provide the relevant test reports to verify claims of brightness and longevity. While LED longevity is much discussed, there are other factors that can affect the lifetime of the strip. Over time, the adhesive backing can degrade, leading to failure of a different kind.

LED strip light installations need to last their intended lifespan, be safe in the setting and require minimal maintenance. As such, SERA Technologies only stock and supply LED strip lights that represent the highest quality available on the market today.

We offer a high-quality selection of LED Strip Tape by Acclaim Lighting.

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