Top Ten Questions About LED Strip Lights Answered – LED Hut

Author: Evelyn

Feb. 04, 2024

Lights & Lighting

1. What are LED strip lights?

LED strip lights are slim strips of tape featuring tiny SMD chips that emit light. They're versatile and can be attached to pretty much anything, with lengths varying between one metre and five metres. They can also be cut to length to suit your needs and are available with a waterproof casing, so you can use them in a wide variety of locations. Most commonly they're used on banisters, under kitchen counters, bathrooms, behind home entertainment systems and as accent lighting.

2. Are LED strip lights dimmable?

They are indeed, but you also need to make sure you have a dimmable

3. Do LED strip lights need a driver?

While we’re on the subject of drivers, if you’re not using plug and play strip lighting kits, you will need a driver to power your strip lights. When finding the LED transformer you need, the wattage of the driver needs to cover the wattage of the strip it will be powering, plus 20%; so a five metre length of strip lighting with 60 small LED chips equating to 25W would need a 30W LED driver.

4. Are LED strip lights safe?

LED strip lights are as safe as any other electrical light source when installed and used correctly. We always advise you to consult an electrician when installing mains-wired strip lighting.

5. Are LED strip lights cheap to run?

Yes. LED strip lights are incredibly cheap to run. This is because LED converts 90% of its energy into light, making it the most cost-effective light source around. For example, the cost to run a typical 10W LED strip light is approximately £10 a year. Take an equivalent incandescent light source and you can expect to spend £60 a year in energy costs!

6. Are LED strip lights bright enough?

This depends on where you want to use them, but you can expect your new LED strip lights to be just as bright as any other light source. They are also available with different lumen (brightness) values to give you greater flexibility.

7. Are LED strip lights waterproof?

You can get non-waterproof, splashproof and waterproof strip lighting.

8. Can LED strip lights be cut and/or joined together?

Strip lights come with handy little markers that allow you to cut them to length, so if you have a five metre length of strip but only need four metres, you can cut it to your needs. The remaining metre won't go to waste either and can be used elsewhere in your home. You can also connect different lengths of strip tape very easily. The best method for this is by using strip light connectors that don’t require any soldering. You do need to make sure you use the right sized strip connector for the size of strip you're using. There are three different sizes to choose from: • 8mm connector for single colour 3528 (small chip) strip lighting • 10mm connector for single colour 5050 (large chip) strip lighting • RGB connector for multi-colour 5050 (large chip) strip lighting Then you just insert the two ends of strip into the connector and clip it shut. Simple as that! Just remember not to exceed a total length of five metres.

9. Why are my LED strip lights flickering?

Your LED strip lights might be flickering because of the power supply you're using. LEDs require a Direct Current (DC) power supply, while most mains electricity in the UK is an Alternating Current (AC) power supply. To get around this you need a good-quality LED driver, and the total wattage of the driver needs to cover the total wattage of the strip tape it is powering, plus 20%. Another reason could be the length of the strip lights. We always recommend that you keep each length of strip lighting you are using to five metres or less. This ensures that enough power is available through the entire length of the strip, preventing flickering or dimming of the lights.

10. Can LED strip lights be bent?

Yes and no. You can bend standard, non-waterproof LED strip tape around corners – as long as you bend them at the 'cut' line. Alternatively, for trickier angles, you can cut the LED strip light and solder a wire between the separate lengths to carry the power supply. However, this method is less subtle to the eye. Waterproof LED strip lights can't be bent. This is because they're coated in waterproof silicone that isn't flexible enough to bend around corners, so you'll have to cut and solder the adjoining lengths.

Looking to add a bit of contemporary style to your surroundings? Then you can't go wrong with LED strip lights . LED strip lighting is stylish, versatile and cost-effective. It is available in a range of vibrant colours and you can get quick-and-easy plug and play strip kits as well as mains-wired strip lights. This article answers some of the most common questions we get from customers about LED strip lighting. Don't see yours below? Then drop us a question in the comments section and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.LED strip lights are slim strips of tape featuring tiny SMD chips that emit light. They're versatile and can be attached to pretty much anything, with lengths varying between one metre and five metres. They can also be cut to length to suit your needs and are available with a waterproof casing, so you can use them in a wide variety of locations. Most commonly they're used on banisters, under kitchen counters, bathrooms, behind home entertainment systems and as accent lighting.They are indeed, but you also need to make sure you have a dimmable LED driver (unless you’re using plug and play strip kits of course). This is because LED strip lights rely on a constant current source which can only be supplied by a driver that switches an AC power supply to DC.While we’re on the subject of drivers, if you’re not using plug and play strip lighting kits, you will need a driver to power your strip lights. When finding the LED transformer you need, the wattage of the driver needs to cover the wattage of the strip it will be powering, plus 20%; so a five metre length of strip lighting with 60 small LED chips equating to 25W would need a 30W LED driver.LED strip lights are as safe as any other electrical light source when installed and used correctly. We always advise you to consult an electrician when installing mains-wired strip lighting.Yes. LED strip lights are incredibly cheap to run. This is because LED converts 90% of its energy into light, making it the most cost-effective light source around. For example, the cost to run a typical 10W LED strip light is approximately £10 a year. Take an equivalent incandescent light source and you can expect to spend £60 a year in energy costs!This depends on where you want to use them, but you can expect your new LED strip lights to be just as bright as any other light source. They are also available with different lumen (brightness) values to give you greater flexibility.You can get non-waterproof, splashproof and waterproof strip lighting. LUMiLife waterproof strip lighting is tightly sealed within a silicone tube, so they can be used safely pretty much anywhere you please.Strip lights come with handy little markers that allow you to cut them to length, so if you have a five metre length of strip but only need four metres, you can cut it to your needs. The remaining metre won't go to waste either and can be used elsewhere in your home. You can also connect different lengths of strip tape very easily. The best method for this is by using strip light connectors that don’t require any soldering. You do need to make sure you use the right sized strip connector for the size of strip you're using. There are three different sizes to choose from: • 8mm connector for single colour 3528 (small chip) strip lighting • 10mm connector for single colour 5050 (large chip) strip lighting • RGB connector for multi-colour 5050 (large chip) strip lighting Then you just insert the two ends of strip into the connector and clip it shut. Simple as that! Just remember not to exceed a total length of five metres.Your LED strip lights might be flickering because of the power supply you're using. LEDs require a Direct Current (DC) power supply, while most mains electricity in the UK is an Alternating Current (AC) power supply. To get around this you need a good-quality LED driver, and the total wattage of the driver needs to cover the total wattage of the strip tape it is powering, plus 20%. Another reason could be the length of the strip lights. We always recommend that you keep each length of strip lighting you are using to five metres or less. This ensures that enough power is available through the entire length of the strip, preventing flickering or dimming of the lights.Yes and no. You can bend standard, non-waterproof LED strip tape around corners – as long as you bend them at the 'cut' line. Alternatively, for trickier angles, you can cut the LED strip light and solder a wire between the separate lengths to carry the power supply. However, this method is less subtle to the eye. Waterproof LED strip lights can't be bent. This is because they're coated in waterproof silicone that isn't flexible enough to bend around corners, so you'll have to cut and solder the adjoining lengths.

Environment

Are LED Lights Considered Good for the Environment?

Yes, LED lights are better for the environment than traditional light sources as with proper heat management they can last much longer. LEDs deliver the same amount of lumens as traditional luminaires, but with less energy consumption. For example, a 400W HID luminaire can typically be replaced by a 150W LED luminaire and still deliver the same lumens.

Efficiency

Do LED Lights Burn Out?

Yes, all light sources will eventually burn out. However, LED sources typically last much longer than traditional light sources. They usually have a longer L70 rating. For example, a quality LED luminaire will have at least an L70 rating of 50,000 hours, while an HID luminaire may only have a rating between 6,000 to 15,000 hours.

Do LED Light Bulbs Save Money?

Yes, LED lights save money on energy consumption. They produce a higher rate of lumens per watt, meaning they are much more efficient and use less energy to produce the same amount of light.

What Does L70 Rating Mean?

L70 is a means of measuring lumen maintenance.  The L70 refers to the point when an LED lamp source is producing 70% of its initial lumen output.  For example, the RDA NTH-LED20 initial lumen output is 2089, its L70 rating is 100,000 hours.  So at 100,000 hours the luminaire will be producing roughly 1462 lumens.

Why is this rating important when considering a luminaire?

This rating allows you to know how long you can depend on a luminaire to produce an acceptable amount of light.

Concerns

Do LED Lights Produce Heat?

The short answer is yes, LED luminaires produce heat. The long answer is that while LED diodes produce heat, it isn’t where you might think. The heat is generated at the back of the LED chip.  So, the back of the diode gets really hot, but the front/exterior of the luminaire remains cool to the touch.

In order to obtain long life, it is crucial to manage the internal temperature (junction temperature) of LED diodes.  This can be accomplished in a variety of methods, one of the most common being the implementation of heatsinks to pull the heat away from the LED diode and disperse it.

What Color Temperature (CCT) is Best for Your Eyes?

Ideally, the best light for your eyes is that of natural light, which would be around 5000K and higher. Natural light boosts your vitamin D and has a tremendous effect on your circadian rhythm. In the absence of natural light, it is best to design the light to the needs of the space. For example, in an environment such as a doctor’s office or surgical room you would install a luminaire with 5000K or higher CCT for bright blue-white light – something crisp and clean. On the other hand, In a recovery room, you may want to step down to something 3000K to 2700K, that is more calming and cozy.

What luminaire is the right luminaire for my application?

This is all relative.  In order to figure out the right luminaire for the application you have to consider the following:

  • Budget

    – What is the budget for this application?

  • Rebates

    – Are there rebates available to offset the cost of the initial purchase of materials and labor?

  • Time

    – How soon is the project going to start?  When does it need to be completed?

  • Usage

    – What is the usage of the given space?  Is it a manufacturing plant, a supermarket, an office space?  If work is being conducted, what type of work, is it a machinist shop where detailed work is being done or is it a warehouse?

  • Demographic

    – What is the average age of the people occupying the space?  Is an older demographic that will need more light, brighter light?  Is it a young demographic that will not need as much light and would benefit from a warmer color temperature?

  • In some applications, more than one luminaire might be needed to properly illuminate space.

Key Benefits

Are LED Lights Dimmable?

Yes, LED luminaires can be dimmed provided that:

  1. The driver controlling the LED is a dimmable driver.

  2. You use the right dimmer.

For example, some LED luminaires have a 0-10V dimming driver which would require a 0-10V dimmer.  Others work off of ELV (Electronic Low Voltage), in this application you would use an ELV dimmer.

  1. You size the dimmer to the application. LED luminaires have a much larger inrush current (amount of power it takes to turn something on) than traditional light sources. In order to compensate for that initial inrush current, you have to upsize your dimmer.  

Can I use LED lights outdoors?

Yes, LED luminaires can be used in outdoor application ratings provided they have the appropriate IP or UL rating.  For outdoor applications, the appropriate IP rating could be anything from IP44 to IP68.  IP65 rating should cover most outdoor applications.  When using UL as a guideline for outdoor use, look for a damp (think lighting under canopies, soffits, etc.) or wet location rating.  When in doubt, contact a professional for help selecting the right luminaire for the job.

Should I change my light bulbs to LED?

Yes, the benefits to switching to LED from traditional light sources have been addressed ad nauseam over the past 15 years. LEDs are more environmentally friendly, and typically have a longer lifespan than traditional light sources. They also save on energy and labor costs, and are easier to control than some traditional light sources, like HIDs.

Top Ten Questions About LED Strip Lights Answered – LED Hut

Lighting 101: Commonly Asked Questions About LED Lights

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