Led Strip Accessories: Must-have Kits for a Led Strip Project
They come with great promise of saving on cost with improved performance and efficiency. There are different types of LED lights that give an amazing opportunity for people to explore and find what suits them best.
The led strip light is one of the most used LEDs in the market. They are relatively easy to install and also offer the convenience of having different colors. If you’re considering the possibility of installing LED strip lights on your next project, there are a few accessories you should invest in.
These accessories are meant to make your work easier and ensure that the installation is done right. Some of these accessories include:
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When it comes to dealing with modern lighting, you need to factor in the dimming aspect. People want to have the ability to control how bright their lights should be.
Including a dimming controller allows for a better user experience and offers more flexibility. Different dimming controllers can be used. They include:
This is the simplest way to incorporate the dimming aspect in your led strip lights. Using a potentiometer is a cost-effective option. It attaches to the dimming wires with ease making it very easy to install.
It however comes with a few issues that may prove to be a problem and a major drawback. On one hand, the ability to control your lights and the dimming effect may be a bit shaky. This means that it may not be a reliable option.
The potentiometer will also not integrate fully into the frame plate used for the led strip. This means it won’t complement the design and aesthetic you’re aiming for.
0-10 V or 1-10 V Connector
These connectors are attached to the dimming wires to alter the signals of how bright your light will be. The common voltage in these connectors is 10 volts which means the light is at its fullest 100% brightness.
This voltage flows from the dim(+) to the dim(-) line. The signal is only at 100% brightness when the wires are left untouched with no interference from the dimmer meaning they are at 10 V.
When using the dimmer if it’s reduced, the lights will dim accordingly. For the 1-10 V, the light will only reduce to 10% meaning you’ll need a switch to completely power off the lights. On the other hand, the 0-10 V decreases to 5.7% before turning off the power completely.
PWM Dimming Controls
When using PWM to dim your Led lights, you’ll be working with a dimming switch that can emit this signal. The signal will control the output of light through the dimming wires.
Your choice of switch or controls will feature a wire that will be connected to the dimming wires. When the duty cycle is reduced, the controller signal will lower the lights output. This will result in the dimming of lights as desired.
Making the right connections with your led strips is very important. It will help you avoid all the frustrations and disappointments that come with a poor connection. Some of them being, flickering lights, lights turning on and off uncontrollably, or the lights not working at all.
These are all problems that can be avoided by ensuring you have the right knowledge when it comes to connectors. Knowing which connectors will work best for a certain goal is important.
These goals may include connecting two led strips to make them longer, connect power leads to your led, or make connections around corners. Different connectors will help you achieve this. Here are the most commonly used connectors.
2-Pin Led Strip Connector
These connectors are used on single color led strips. When working with an led strip that only involves one color, you only need a connector with two ports. This is because these led strips only require one positive and one negative connection.
4-Pin Led Strip Connector
Given that led lights offer the advantage of dealing with different colored lights, there are connectors meant for this particular purpose. The 4-pin led strip connector comes in the same size and shape as the 2-pin connectors.
They feature a connection similar to the connection points on the RGB led strip lights. These connectors come with a common positive terminal and connection points for each of the red, green, blue color led strips. This allows them to be controlled separately to achieve different colors when needed.
IP67 Led Strip Connectors
These led connectors are great if you’re dealing with waterproof led strip lights. Remember that these strips come with a protective silicon layer making them a bit bulky.
Using these IP67 led strip connectors, is a perfect choice because they fit taller and can easily accommodate the silicone.
End to End Connector
These connectors are also referred to as strip to strip connectors. They are mainly used to connect two strip lights from end to end to achieve a longer run of an led strip light. However, this should be done keeping in mind the maximum run limitations.
LED Strip to Wire Connector
These connectors come in handy especially when you want to connect your lights to a specific place but have a gap between your target areas. The wires are used to fill the gap where the light will not be needed.
These connectors connect the led strip and incorporate the wires where the gap starts and later add in another led strip when the gap ends using another connector. It works great under cabinets and any other places that may prove difficult because of the spaces in between.
For most led strip lights projects, the strips are connected in a series to ensure they fit the project and light the required areas. However, when the strips get to their maximum run and you still need to add more, you’ll need to find an alternative.
Here’s where your splitters come in. They are used to make it possible for the led strips to run parallel, opposite of each other, or side by side. This is done to facilitate the sharing of a power supply even though the strips are more than one. Two main types of splitters can be used in an led strip project. They include:
This splitter is used on led strips that only have one color. This means it is a single color splitter and wouldn’t suit any other led strip lights. The splitter comes with a plug that can either be connected directly to the power adapter or a dimming controller that is connected to a power adapter.
4 Pin Y-Splitter
The Y-splitter is mainly used to connect led strips in the RGB category. They cater to led strips that come in different colors during installation.
They are made specifically for the color changing led strips to ensure they work as they should. This splitter comes with a 4 pin connection to ensure that each led strip has a point of connection also including the power adapter.
The led strip jumpers work like extension cables only difference is that they cater specifically to led strip lights. They are used to connect the end of the strip light to the power supply bridging any gaps that may have been there. These jumpers also come in a single color and multiple color options to ensure you have options for the type of led strip you have.
For the single color led strip, the jumpers come with a 2-pin connection. The cables come with both ends featuring a 2.1mm plug adapter that can be used on any single color led strip and dimming controllers.
On one end of the jumper, you’ll find a 2.1 mm female connector that will plug into your power supply adapter. On the other end, you’ll find a 2.1mm male connector that is used to plug into the led strips. These jumpers come either in 1 meter, 2 meters, or 3 meters giving a variety in terms of the range of application.
When it comes to the color changing led strips, the RGB strips come with a 4 pin design that allows them to better attach to the jumper. The jumper used in this case also features a 4 pin design that comes in a female connection that attaches to the male connectors from the led strip.
This helps ensure that the lights are connected right to the power and also facilitates color changing. These jumpers come in 30cm, 50cm, 1 meter, 2 meters, 3 meters, 5 meters, and 10 meters long.
Given that these cables are mainly used to connect the led strips to a power source, they can also be used to connect two led strips. This especially comes in when your maximum run is almost up. It is also a good idea to use in combination with your splitters, especially for the long runs. It will make getting power to a certain strip easier.
As discussed earlier, strip-to-wire connectors are used to connect wires to prolong the led strip and also cover any gaps that don’t need light. Additionally, these wires come in handy, especially because the jumpers used in led projects come in limited sizes.
This means that if your project requires you to have longer runs, the jumper won’t be helpful. Having your wires will come in handy and help you fill the spaces you need without having to compromise on performance. Like any other accessory, these wires also come in different types. They include:
2 Conductor Wire
A 2-conductor wire comes with two bonded wires that include red and black. These wires are meant to cater to the single color led strips. They are made to perfectly fit the single color 2-pin connectors and work with the led strips without any issues.
4 Conductor Wire
The 4 conductor wires work best with the color-changing RGB led strips. They come in different colors to help you align them as they should be to ensure the connection is done right.
They are a perfect fit for the 4-pin strip to wire connectors making them the best fit for RGB led strips. However, when working with these wires, you may find the need to splice two of them and use them as one. Some tools and connectors will help you achieve this goal. Just be sure to stick to aligning the colors right if you want to have any good results.
A toggle switch is a great addition to your accessory tool kit. It gives the users the option to either switch on or off the led strip lights. With such convenience, you find that you’ll have to include this.
The toggle switch comes with a standard 2.1 mm female and male connection point where you can easily attach. To the female point attach to a 12 V power adapter while the male point can be attached to your led strip lights.
With this, you can easily switch on and off the lights whenever you want to. It comes in handy especially if your dimming controller doesn’t completely dim the lights to 0 volts.
Led strips feature different types and densities meaning the power supply may differ. However, the most commonly used LEDs work with a 12VDC input. With this, you need to focus on determining the wattage of your led strip to help you get the right power supply.
Once you determine your wattage, your power supply will have to feature a cushion. Ensure that its value is a bit higher compared to the value on your wattage. There are two power supply options that you could choose from. They include:
Plug-in Power Brick
These are plugins like the wall wart or desktop power supply that go directly into your wall to supply power to your desired device. Once plugged in, you can switch the line voltage down to 12VDC for the strips. This is a great option if you have a way to conceal it and gives you the convenience of not having to deal with too many wires.
When it comes to connecting your power supply to your led strips it’s quite simple. It however changes depending on the power source you use. For the plugin power supply, it comes with a male 2.1mm plug while the led strips come with a 2.1 mm female plug. This makes it easier to make a connection and have strip lights that work.
Hardwired Power Supply
This power supply features a connection to the 120 VAC lines and in turn outputs a safe low DC voltage that can be used by your striplights. They come in a better shape and are discrete and can easily be hidden away. This option offers a more professional look and leaves the strip lights working well.
The connection here is a bit different given that the power supply comes with wires and not a direct plug. Using a screw-in terminal connector will help you make the connections between the power supply and your led strips.
For every led strip project you take on, there are a few must-have kit essentials that you should always have by your side. This kit is meant to complement the led strip accessories you’ll be using for your project. It will help make your work easier and ensure you get to your desired outcome. Some of the things you should have include:
Wire strippers are useful especially when it comes to stripping and cutting your wires. They come in handy especially when you want to combine two wires or reduce the length. They make it easier to install your led strip lights using the different accessories.
Having a screwdriver that will help you during your installation process is very important. You’ll be in a position to take care of any tightening or loosening of screws with ease.
The best way to determine your electrical potential and whether you’re on the right track is by using this handy tool. If you encounter any issues with your connectivity, it will help you get to the root of it and resolve it.
Electrical Tape or Heat Shrink
Given that there are connectors that work better when installing led strips, there are also other options that can be used. Having them as a backup plan in case your connectors run out is a great idea. Electrical tape and heat shrink can also be used to connect your led strips to produce light.
The most sturdy and solid way to keep your connection of led strips secure is by soldering. If you don’t want to use any other connection methods, having a soldering iron is important. Given it takes up more time and requires you to have the skill, having this is essential.
Mounting Tape or Clips
Having a plan on how you plan to mount your led strip light and keep them secure is important. For this, you have the option of using a mounting tape or mounting clips. Go with what works best for you. However, having both is also a great idea in case you’ll need to change them up.
As you know, led strips feature a maximum run of how long you can connect them. Also, according to your needs, the length of the led strip you’ll need will vary. Having a measuring tape will help you sort this out and have a better measure of where your strip should end.
After measuring your led strip, you’ll need to cut it at the specified cut line. You’ll need to have sharp scissors to help you make the best cuts and ensure your led works well.
Installing led strip lights requires you to invest in the necessary accessories and kit essentials to help you achieve the best results. Always double check your kit to ensure that you have everything sorted before commencing your led strip project. Take your time with your installation to achieve better results.