LED strip lighting is extremely useful and simple product to use for a wide range of lighting requirements, and once you understand how best to wire up and install 12V LED strip lights it does make the design in installation process a lot easier.
Please note that in ALL cases 12V LED striplights need to be mounted on a metallic surface to ensure sufficient heat dissipation. Striplights installed on wood etc will run a lot hotter and shorten their life span considerably
1. Standard Wiring
When running approximately 5 meters or less then the installation is very straightforward as pictured below. Your 220V source into your 12V power supply into the dimmer (optional) and finally wired into the strip lights.
2. Wiring in Parallel
Once you start requiring longer strip lengths then you need to wire these up in parallel, this is required as you will experience a considerable amount of voltage drop the longer the runs get. This means the end of 10 meter strip may only be getting 10V instead of 12V causing the strip to operate much dimmer than the first few meters or causing it not to operate at all.
So whether you are running side by side or back to back it is HIGHLY recommended to have each length of strip connected back to the power supply or back to a trunking cable to ensure voltage is constant and all the strips operate correctly.
3. Double Ended Power
In some cases it may be easier to join 2 x 5m sections and then power it from both ends as is pictured below. Once again this is to avoid voltage drop from occurring and ensure an even light output across all 10 meters.
- Always heat sink your strips using a metallic surface or aluminium extrusion
- To avoid voltage drop issues power each 5m length independently by wiring it back to the power supply / trunking cable
- Make sure your power supply can handle the total wattage of the striplights i.e. total wattage = meters x strip watts - it's best to operate your power supply at 80% of rated output. Running it at maximum or near maximum will reduce lifespan