LED tape lighting

Old 01-29-17, 07:09 AM
Geochurchi's Avatar
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LED tape lighting

Hi All,I have never installed this type of lighting although I understand the technology, looking for recommendations on which products to look at, pro's and con's etc.
Old 01-29-17, 08:59 AM
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I like the type that adheres to optional metal channel with optional snap on diffuser because it protects the strip and diffuses the light, and the metal channel acts as a heatsink to keep the LEDs cooler. But depends on your application an whether or not area is protected.

I bought mine from Lee Valley but I'm sure there are less expensive options.
Old 01-29-17, 09:40 AM
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I find the LED strips (tape) to be quite nice as long as you get the right stuff.

Be sure to check on the color (K) of the strips. For inside a home for general lighting, under cabinets I find 3500K or less is better. The higher range is better for a work area or inside a gun safe. (ask me how I know )

Standard/cheaper strips will have LED that are fairly spaced out and smaller (3528) LED chips. For most applications I like to get strips that are closer together and larger (5050) to provide more light. I always look closely at the lumen output (if available) and LEDs per foot. More led = more light.

Each LED strip, or group of strips, will require a driver that converts 120 volts AC to 12 or 24 volt DC. It is best to locate the driver in a cabinet, basement, storage room and then run 18/2 stat wire to the LED strips.

Places I have purchased from are:
Superbright LED
LED wholesaler
Inspired LED <- I have bought from them the most then have nice connectors to connect the stat wire to the LED strip. I suggest the ultra bright or mega bright. You can always dim it down on the secondary side of the driver.
Old 01-29-17, 05:07 PM
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I have done a lot with LED strips. The industry is constantly changing and improving so quite often the products I used 6 months ago are no longer available.

In general I like SuperBrightLEDs mainly because they are one of the few sites to offer real specs on their products. I have always received what I ordered and their prices are OK. I have also ordered from other suppliers but it can sometimes take more investigating to get specs on light output and power consumption.

One thing I like to do is have my power supply working at about 50%. So if I have a string of LED's that need 500 mw I'll go with a power supply rated for about 1 amp.

Keep in mind that 12v DC does not like going through wires for much distance. So, try to keep your power supply as close as possible to your LED lights. Using heavier gauge wire (smaller gauge number) can carry the current over a longer distance with less voltage loss. I also try to avoid stringing my lights out in one long continuous line as the lights at the very end can be noticeably less bright. A series of shorter, independently fed strings can provide more uniform light output.

Tape light strips are incredibly easy to work with. Their big weakness in my opinion are the clip on electrical connectors for the ends of the strip. Sometimes they work great but sometimes they can be very finicky. Direct soldering wires to the strip is the most reliable connection and is surprisingly easy.
Old 01-30-17, 07:20 AM
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I have used Superbright before for vehicle lighting,I just checked out the tape LEDs and they do have plenty of info on that site.

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