LED strip lights are a dream of every fan of fancy DIY projects and interesting forms of illumination. Why? Because LED Strip Lights are a surprisingly functional, convenient and visually attractive solution that can add enormously to the atmosphere of your home. Let’s have a look at some technical aspects of LED strip lighting. What’s the anatomy of an LED strip? What about its basic characteristics? And, most importantly, what types of LED strip lights are available? Stay with us to find out.
A brief introduction to LED strip lights
Each LED strip consists of many tiny LED emitters that are responsible for the astonishing visual effect. Those emitters are mounted on a flexible circuit board at various densities — usually, there are 60-120 LEDs per meter, but you can buy lower density LED lights as well.
The colour and quality of light emitted by an LED strip depends on the colour and quality of individual LEDs. LED strips are configured in such a way that they operate at 12V or 24V direct current (DC), which means you need to make sure that your power supply matches the voltage of the chosen strip. Also, LED strips lights vary in terms of the degree of brightness which is determined by the lumen output. In order to increase the light output and make the lights more reflective and brighter, it’s worth choosing high quality LED strip lights which you can find here: https://lucasled.ie/led-strip-lights.
Installing LED strip lights is exceptionally easy because they are designed to be stuck to virtually any surface. This can be done thanks to a self-adhesive backing each LED strip is equipped with — the only thing you need to do is simply peel off the securing tape and place the strip whenever you desire. The flexible LED tape can be bent so that you can adjust it to curves, corners and other shapes. The unique functionality of this form of lighting lies also in the fact that you can cut LED strip lights in order to make them fit the desired location (this is why LED strips have special marks — “cut points” — that tell you where exactly you can cut the strip without damaging it).
Types of LED strip lights
There are various types of LED strip lights currently available on the market. Usually, you can be baffled by the plethora of ambiguous symbols and codes, so it’s vital you know which information in really useful in terms of making a purchase.
If you have ever wondered why LED strips are marked with 4-digit combinations, you may be interested to know that these codes refer to the width (2 initial digits) and length (2 final digits) of the LED package. To put it simply, an LED package is just a plastic casing covering an LED chip — that emits blue light — and phosphors whose role is to absorb some of this blue light and convert it so that consequently white light is emitted.
You may have come across such combinations as 3528, 5050, 3030 and 2835. So, for example, a 2835 LED package is 2.8 mm wide and 3.5 mm long. How is that important? Basically, the size of an LED package usually determines how bright the chip is, so the greater the size, the more power the chip is capable of handling, which results in the light being brighter. However, 2835 LEDs are more advanced technologically than 3528 chips, so they can offer greater brightness and increased efficiency, despite having the same surface dimensions.
Choosing the proper type depends on what you actually need or want. The least bright 3528 strips are perfect for accent lighting thanks to which you can create amazing visual effects in your kitchen (by installing the strip under your kitchen island) or subtly enhance the romantic look of your bedroom (by placing the strip along the headboard of your bed). In turn, 5050 strips are three times brighter than 3528 strips, so they may be a better option if you need task lighting to be provided. You can install LED strip lights of this type under your kitchen cabinet or along the stairs.
When it comes to the colour options, you can buy LED strip lights in different shades of white or in various colours.
White light remains the most popular choice for indoor use. White doesn’t always look the same though; two white LED strips may differ in their colour temperatures, which significantly influences the atmosphere of a given room or area. Colour temperature (CCT) is a means of describing how “warm” or “cool” the light appear. Warm white is considered to be more atmospheric, so it works well wherever you need to create a relaxing ambiance. Cool white, in turn, is more conducive to learning or working, so such LED tape lights are typically installed in offices and schools.
If you want to make use of the power of colour, you can go for a coloured LED strip light. This gives you an opportunity to make use of the stunning palette (blue, green, red, amber, violet, pink, orange, you name it) and create sensational effects.
Again, you can choose between a single colour and a colour changing version. As the name suggests, a single colour type emits one colour only, whereas a multicolour LED strip allows you to switch from one colour channel to another (via a remote control) and go for the option that best suits your current mood. As for the colour components, the most standard type of multicolour LED strip involves red, green and blue channels (RGB). With some types of LED strip light you will even be able to tune the colour temperature and RGB hues.
The degree of protection
Before purchasing an LED strip, it’s vital to determine what the target location of your lights will be. If you plan on installing your strip outdoor, you need to pay attention to the IP rating (Ingress Protection) to make sure your electrical product will be well protected against moisture and dust. Choosing the IP65 option is a safe choice in case the strip is exposed to splashes of water; however, if you want fully waterproof LED strip lights that give extra protection even against submersion, going for the IP68 rating is advisable. Limiting the use of LED strip lights to indoor space usually means that the IP20 rating is sufficient, provided the lights are not affected by moist or dust.
A light source with potential
With LED strip lighting you can not only pursue your aesthetic objectives, but also aim at getting the most out of your home’s design. How? Possibilities are endless, from backlighting your TV screen or kitchen cabinets, through creating spectacular, colour changing effects in your bedroom and providing ambient lighting in your relaxation area, to simply giving your white walls a new lease of life. You are the one who decides how to exploit this great potential.