LED strip lights are a great way to add light to a room, but wiring them can be a little complicated. First, you need to understand how the LED strip is wired and what type of power supply it needs. If you have the wrong power supply, you’ll get undervoltage or overvoltage which will damage the LEDs. Then, you need to decide whether to use solderless connectors or solder the wires together.
Using Solderless Connectors
If you’re using an adhesive-backed LED strip, the red and black wires may be loose. If so, you can use screw-on connectors to cover the wires and ensure they’re secure. This is particularly useful if you’re using the lights on a wall or other surface that’s oily or dusty.
Cleaning Before Wiring
Depending on the type of LED strip you’re working with, there are several things that you need to do before you can start connecting it. Among these are clean the surface you’re attaching it to, and make sure that it is dry and smooth.
Cut the LED Strip to Size
If your project requires you to cut an entire section of LED strip, it is important to do so with care to prevent damaging the strip. Many people prefer to use cut-to-length LED strips, but you can also opt for tapes that are designed to be cut by hand.
Applying the LED Strip to the Surface
Using an adhesive-backed LED strip is easy, but it is still recommended to clean the surface you’re attaching it on. This will prevent the lights from sticking to oily or dusty surfaces and help them last longer. You can use a damp cloth to clean the surface before adhering it, and a dry one afterward.
Then, position the LED strip lights along your chosen surface and peel the backing a small amount at a time until they are adhered to the surface. Don’t rush the process or you’ll end up with a bunch of air bubbles that will make it difficult to stick the strips to the surface.
Connecting the Strip to the Power Supply
Unless you’re working with solderless connectors, most LED strip lights are wired with copper pads on the ends of each segment. The goal is to connect the positive (usually red) wire of your power supply to the (+) copper pad, and the negative or ground (usually black or white) to the (-) copper pad.
Refer to the following chart for a breakdown of how this works. Once you’ve determined which type of connection you need, follow the diagram to determine how to hook up each section of your LED strip to the power supply.
Once you’ve connected the LED strip to your power supply, you’re ready to plug it in. But before you do that, make sure the power supply is rated to meet the strip’s voltage and capacity. If it’s too low, you’ll end up with a dim, weak, or even no light at all. And if it’s too high, you’ll burn out the LEDs.