LED strip lighting has transformed the way we light our homes. Their flexibility means they can be installed practically anywhere. They are able to light areas normally left in shadow by ceiling lights, such as cabinets and kitchen worktops. LED strips are also a perfect way to add mood lighting to your room as they come in a range of RGB colours and different colour temperatures. Some can even be changed by remote control to suit different purposes.
Do you want to learn how to install, cut & connect LED strip lights? This LED strip lights guide will tell you everything you need to know about cutting, connecting and installing LED strip lighting.
Can You Cut LED Light Strips?
One of the biggest appeals to LED strip lighting is its adaptability. By cutting strips you can continue your stream of light around corners. While it will depend on the brand you choose, most LED strips can be cut. Some will have a cutting line or scissor icon at each space where the lights can be safely cut without damaging the circuiting. These are generally earmarked by a pair of copper dots at the end of the LED.
How Do You Cut Led Strip Lights?
LED strip lights are designed to make cutting easy, so all you will need is a pair of scissors. Either follow the cutting line (that sometimes also has a scissor icon on it) or cut between the pair of copper dots that show up at the end of each LED unit. Cutting anywhere else will potentially damage the circuitry and render your reel of lights useless.
Before you cut, always make sure the power is disconnected. It is important to cut a straight line, and not a diagonal as this will damage the connection and might result in the lights failing to work when you try to connect them to another strip.
Can You Connect Led Light Strips Together?
You can connect LED light strips together. You might want to do this if you need to go around corners or obstacles with your strip, or if you need to connect two reels together for larger rooms. Whilst you can do this with a soldering iron, not everyone has one to hand, so you will need to purchase connectors with your reel.
How Do You Connect Led Light Strips Together?
There are various ways to connect LED light strips together. You can use a soldering iron or purchase connectors that are easier to use if you are not confident in soldering. It is possible to connect to a range of power sources with LED strip lighting.
- How to connect LED strip lights to mains? LED light strips can be connected to a mains power source through a driver. Ensure the red and black wires match the polarity of the driver. Then do the same with your driver to the mains and you will be fully connected.
- How do you connect two or multiple LED strip lights together? One way to connect different strips together is to solder them with wires. They are designed to make this process as easy as possible.
- First, scrape the plastic cover off the end of your LED strip with a sharp knife or box cutter. This will expose the copper dots that you can connect two pieces together.
- Scrape the blade across to clear any plastic debris from getting in the way.
- Then, take your soldering iron and make small puddles of metal on top of the copper dots, making sure they cover them completely.
- Repeat this on the end of both strips you are connecting.
- Take your connecting wires and cut them to the length you require leaving approximately half an inch extra on each end. This extra length is so you can strip the casing off the ends of the wire, ready to connect to the LED strip.
- Once the wires are exposed, twist them and coat each one with solder.
- Now, all you need to do is match the wires to the strip and attach them. Make sure your black wire goes to the corresponding ‘-‘ icon and the red to the ‘+’ icon.
- Reheat the puddles you made previously on the LED strip and hold the wire in place until it solidifies.
- Once you have connected each wire, you are ready to use them.
- How to connect the remote to LED strip lights? If your LED strip lights can be remote-controlled, the strips will need to be connected using a receiver between the LED tape and the driver. This will mean you can change colour temperatures or RGB colours with a remote or phone app.
- How do you connect LED strip lights to light switches? Connecting your driver to a light switch requires a little more expert hardwiring knowledge. You need to match the wires on the lights to the corresponding wiring in the switch. If you are unsure, consult a professional.
- How do you connect RGB LED strip lights together? If you are using RGB LED strip lights, the soldering process is exactly the same as with standard LED, but instead of a black and red wire, you will have black, blue, green and red wires. The black will need to go on the ‘+’ icon, the blue on the ‘B’, green on the ‘G’ and red on the ‘R’. Alternatively, you can find an RGB connector if you do not have a soldering iron.
- How to connect LED strip lights to the battery? You can connect to a battery by a driver installed between the LED strip lights and the power source. Make sure the polarity of the wires matches the battery for a complete connection.
- How to connect LED strip lights without soldering? You can find quick LED strip connectors that make it as easy as possible to set up your LED strip lights. Make sure they are the same width as your LED tape. For example, if the tape is 10mm wide, you need a connector 10mm wide to make an effective connection.
- To bring two strips together, open the covers at the side of the connector.
- You can then insert the ends of the tape, with the copper terminals exposed, into the fastening clips.
- Check that the polarity matches and close the clips to protect the connection from any damage.
- Connectors can also be used to attach your LED strip lights to their power source via a driver. If you are using multiple strips, they will all need to be connected to the driver to stop them from dimming from one strip to another.
- How to connect LED strip lights to plug? You will need knowledge of plug wiring to be able to connect your driver to a plug. If you are unsure, consult a professional to make sure the connection is sound.
How to Install LED Strip Lights?
One of the best things about LED strip lighting is that you do not have to be an electrician to install them. You can find starter kits that will provide you with everything you need to make the process as easy as possible. Always plan before you get started. Make sure the LED strips are the right length for the space and that you can reach your power source easily.
The strips themselves are usually backed with a strong adhesive. First, clean the surface you are sticking your lights to. Make sure it is free of dust and dry so that the strips will connect to the surface. Then you can peel away the adhesive covering and press them to the surface inch by inch, making sure no air bubbles are formed between them.
- How do you install LED strip lights on the ceiling? To make the most of the lighting’s effect without showing the LED strip itself, try to place them behind a lip or groove. This will allow the light to fully brighten the space while keeping your decor looking neat and tidy. On the ceiling, try to attach it to the edge of a drop-down ceiling or at the edge of moulded carving.
- How to install LED strip lights on carpet stairs? It is best to attach strips to smooth and stable surfaces, like ceramic tiling, marble, wood, plastic or metal. If you intend to attach them to a carpeted surface, like on staircases, then small plastic fixing clips can be used to screw the strips into the overhang of the stair.
- How to install RGB LED strip lights? RGB LED strip lights have the same installation process as a regular LED strip, but they may require more space depending on the width of the strip.
- How to install LED strip lights in the kitchen? LED strip lights look most effective when the strip is hidden away and only the light shows through. This could be underneath shelves, cabinets or worktops for maximum effect.
- How to install LED strip lights inside cabinets or shelves? Most cabinets or shelves in the kitchen are already intended from the edge of the worktop surface. This means you can place the strips under this edge to install the lights. If you are putting them inside a cabinet, you may want to look at flexible connectors that will wrap the wiring around corners.
- How to install LED strip lights with a remote? Your strip lights may have a remote or be able to connect to a mobile app. The manufacturer will include instructions to guide you through connecting to your remote controller.
- How to install waterproof LED strip lights? If you are installing your lighting outside or in a bathroom, you will want to make sure they are waterproof. Most LED strips have a casing to protect them from water and steam. It is best practice to ensure they have an IP rating of at least 65 to ensure they can hold up against splashes of water and that they will not damage the LED lighting underneath.
- How to install LED strip lights in the shower? Make sure your bathroom is completely dry before you install strip lights into your shower. If the surface is wet, the adhesive will not take to the surface beneath it. Always use fully waterproof strips if they will be exposed to water regularly.