Types of LED Light Strips
LED light strip is a generic term used to describe the many different types that come in strips. Depending on how you plan on using the LEDs, you may actually need one type over another. For example, coated models (encased flexible LED light strips, or LED rope) are better suited for areas like bathrooms because they are generally waterproof. Self-adhesive LED strips make application simple and hassle-free. For purposes where flexibility of the LEDs is irrelevant, rigid strips (LED light bars) are another option.
When looking for the correct LED lights, it is important to look at the IP rating, or”Ingress Protection” rating. The IP rating determines how a light strip will respond to the elements: the first number tells the light’s ability to protect itself from solid objects, such as dust; and the second number tells the light’s ability to protect from liquid, such as water. The first digit goes from 0 through 6, with 6 being most protected from dust.The second digit goes from 0 through 8, with 8 being the most waterproof. For example, an LED light strip defined as IP65 will be dust-resistant and protect against water, and it would be great for a hard-to-reach part of the bathroom.
LED Strip Light Color
LED strip lights come in a wide range of colors as well as strips that can change colors. The most basic LED strip lights are called “non-addressable” and will only emit one fixed color of light. They are cheap to purchase and generally easier to install.
A second type of LED light is called “non-addressable RGB strips.” These LED lights can display any red-green-blue color. These are different than “addressable RGB” LED strip lights. The difference is that addressable LED strips have a small controller between each LED that makes it possible to control each LED on an individual basis. Addressable LED lights are more expensive and usually not necessary for most home needs. Again, this will come down to personal preference and what qualities consumers require in light fixtures.
Installation of the LED Strip Lights
Never buy LED strip lights without first considering how you will install them. If you are buying a flexible strip of LED lights with adhesive backing, then this may be as simple as sticking the lights where you want them to go and plugging them in. In other cases though, such as complex installations where strips must be cut and programmed, the installation can get complicated. In regards to installation, always be sure to consider the following factors:
Required length of the strip/number of strips needed
Power and voltage requirements
Direction of the LEDs on the strip
Flexibility of the LED strip lights
Whether components, such as connectors, are needed
Whether the strip needs to be programmed
Wattage of LED Strip Lights
Before buying any LED strip light, you will need to look at the wattage. First, you need to make sure your power outlet can handle the energy demands of the LEDs. This is fairly simple to calculate by doing some basic math.
Find out how much power your power supply can handle. For example, a typical power outlet can handle 15 amps before it will short out. At 120 volts, that comes out to 1800 watts. It is advised that you never surpass 80 percent of the total capacity, so you wouldn’t want to put more than 1,440 watts. On the product specifications of the LED strip lights you want to buy, look for the wattage. Note that wattage is sometimes listed per reel, per unit of measurement, or per LED. If wattage is listed in units or per LED, then calculate how many feet or LEDs will be used in your total project and multiply that by the wattage. This will let you know whether your circuit can
handle the LEDs.