Introduction: Cutting and Reconnecting Hue Light Strip Plus Segments

Picture of Cutting and Reconnecting Hue Light Strip Plus Segments

In the shop they told me it couldn't be done: I wanted to use a Hue Light Strip and cut it in pieces in order to reconnect it according to my own wishes.

In this case I wanted to replace two TL-Tubes that were end-of-life with up-to-date (color able) Hue Light strips plus. These would nicely blend in with the rest of my lighting. And taking a shower with colored light proved quite entertaining.

The LEDS needed to be bright and because the Hue strips produced 1600 Lumen they did qualify. It proved more than enough light for replacing two 56cm TL tubes. And as a bonus, these strips can nicely produce warm white, cold white and all comfortable colors in between. Really relaxing.

But now my problem: for it to work I would need to split the 2m strip into parts and reconnect those. Cutting is supported, as well as extending, but according to the Philips sales person and website, you need to throw away the cut-off part. This implied I would need to buy 6 times 2m of strips and use only 33cm per strip and throw away these 6 times 167cm "unusable" strips. Also it would imply 6 power connectors. What a waste....

Well you don't need to throw away anything and as you can see in the lighted examples: it still works!

Not for the faint hearted and you have to be confident with your soldering iron skills.

I am quite curious to find out how many people actually have cut the Hue Lightstrips Plus successfully. So.... if you did it, leave me a comment, that would be great!

Step 1: Preparing the Cut and Split the Strip

Picture of Preparing the Cut and Split the Strip

Remove the plastic at the place where the soldering pads are visible.

We will split where the soldering is and not where the cut marker with the scissors are displayed!!!

I started with the last segment of the strip, just in case when it wouldn't work, I'd still have 5 working segments left...Chicken, I admit...

Now comes the second advice: do not cut!!!

By applying heat to the soldered connections, you can split the strip into segments, without cutting anything... By doing this, you end up with the maximum area for re-soldering cable to it! If you were to cut, you would have less then half the length of the soldering pad left, mechanically not a good idea...

And... if you cut where the cutting line is displayed, then you render the remaining part useless, just like the manual says. Not so economical if you ask me.

The picture shows the split strip, just after de-soldering it. I used a reflow heater for this, but a soldering iron also works. Remove the tin, you will apply new tin and create nice and shiny new soldering connections.

Step 2: Connect the Segments

Picture of Connect the Segments

Now it is time to reconnect: I used an CAT5e network cable for this. This has 8 wires, I only used 6 of them.

Initially I aligned the cable like on the pictures, using a clamp to fix the position of the 6 network cable wires. Lateron I just soldered the wires one-by-one, this allowed me to work cleaner. Use a "third hand" , or better use two of these to align the tinned wire with the pad, then apply a small amount of new solder and let it flow nicely.

Important: cut, strip and tin all 6 cables that you use to the same length and match the stripped length of the cable with the soldering length of the soldering pad on the strip. Around 3 mm or so.

Also... Align the segments "as if they were still attached" and make sure the pads are connected as they were originally. Do not mix up / cross over wires. They must all be connected as they were originally, use the color coded wires to make sure! I always combined the two outer pads using a twisted pair of the network cable, I thought these were "ground" and "plus" but do not take my word for it... Needless to say, the segments are "direction" sensitive. They have an incoming and outgoing end. Always connect the "in" side to the "end" of the previous segment. Start with the segment where Philips connected the controller unit. The other end of that segment is your first "end". Mark your segments with a marker if you find it hard to orient them.

Alternatively (when you do not want to solder cables), you can buy pins and headers on ebay or aliexpress. Make sure you go for the 2mm separated headers and not the more common 0.1inch headers. These are the same ones the Philips uses for the extension strip, so you can connect en reconnect individual segments easily, without needing to solder then. (Only for attaching the headers obviously).

The result is a cable connected segment. After making the photo I cleaned soldering pads with a flux remover, so it looked even better.

Take your time for the soldering, do not rush, and make sure you do not introduce any shortcuts. If you do, remove all the soldering tin from the faulty connection(s) and start again. Use as little tin as possible, but make sure it flows properly.

For connecting 6 strips, you need to solder 2x5x6 = 60 connections, so you will learn on the job!

I already mentioned I started with the last strip... I was curious to learn whether it would work, so I first soldered a 3m network cable in between the separated segment and the strip with the remaining 5 segments... Pffffff.... it still worked, my soldering skills were confirmed and 70 euro was not wasted!

Step 3: Mount Strips to Your Convenience

Picture of Mount Strips to Your Convenience

Now the idea proved to work, I installed 3 strips next to each other, slightly shifted to use all the space where the 56cm TL tube used to be. The HUE controller was at the back and I made two units that were connected to each other.

So... I managed to split all 6 segments of a 2m Hue strip and reconnected them in two units with one meter bridged by network cable in between them.

I "broke" one strip in bending it after soldering, this strip is now at the end. I can still use it, but not extend it at that end (only at the beginning of the strip, but in my case this is not necessary).

I did learn that you must be careful manipulating the soldered strip. They are quite thin and not wrapped up in their protecting sleeve.

Oh... and do not start this, unless you are confident that you can calmly make these needed tiny soldering connections (6 on one cm). I found out that if you have a short, the light will work, but not display the desired color. In that case inspect your connections and fix it where you have the bridge between two pads. I had to redo a few that I made in a hurry, and when it was getting late. Better to work on this when you are relaxed and... work one segment after the other and check after connecting each segment. If you find an error, you know it is with your last soldered segment.

I am pretty sure it will void your warranty for the five segments that you attach in this not supported manner. Your only option to claim a faulty unit, is to "cut off" after the first segment (including "your" soldering) and prove that the HUE controller with only one clean strip segment attached is faulty.


parris50 made it! (author)2017-12-05

Very good instructions. I had a problem where I wanted to use two 1m strips under the kitchen cupboards but not pay for two sets. To get the existing solder joints undone, it helps to pull on both sides of the joints whilst applying the soldering iron. Each joint moves a little until eventually, the whole thing pulls apart.

When remaking the joints, I inadvertently made a short circuit causing the warm white light to come on whenever red was commanded. The picture is a bit blurred but the short circuit between the green and brown wires can be seen.

This was easily rectified by breaking the tiny bit of solder, bridging the two pads, using a pin. The light strip now works perfectly! In case it helps anyone, I found a pin designation diagram online which helped me diagnose my error.

Very pleased with the end result!

ruedli (author)parris502017-12-07

Well done, good tip on the desoldering. Good to see that you eventually got everything to work as intended and could use you 2x1 meter strips without any issues.

Kurt S (author)2017-05-10

Has anyone used a Hot air "reword" station on a light strip to remove the solder? If so, what brand? I've heard they are really nice , but I'm worried that it might melt the plastic backing.

I'm planning on trying this trick, but will need to do it several times.


Kurt S.

ruedli (author)Kurt S2017-05-11

Well... I have. I used an 852D SMD hot air SMD rework / soldering station. Google it and find many deals under 90USD send all the way from the eastern friends to your home... I think I got mine from eBay, but Aliexpress, Banggood and dealextreme are all willing to serve you here.

It worked splendidly. Having said that, it doesn't depend in my opinion on the specific station: any will do, I think it is fairly uncritical.

MartijnD (author)2017-04-14

Nice instructable, keep up the good work! Now I know how to split them already as I just ordered them. Another option for your project would have been to completely cover the inside of the box with tin-sheet-tape and stick the lightstrips to the side as deep as possible, this would give a more diffused light vs shifted separate strips, less hassle and less chance of defects.

ruedli (author)MartijnD2017-04-22

Hi Martijn, thanks for the feedback. In the box, the strips are already as deep as possible and provide quite good lighting. The existing diffuser scatters the light sufficiently, I doubt you can even notice the shift. I needed to cut the strips, as I could not make the tight u-shape turns and there was simply not more space then 40 cm or so. Shifting the individual strips seemed the nicest way to mount them, it was not more (or less) hassle compared to mounting them next to each other, but I felt it looked better that way.

Good tip on the tin-sheet-tape for reflecting and scattering the light, that can come in handy. Succes met je eigen project in ieder geval!

Gary and LarryB (author)2017-03-27

I want to buy a base 2m kit (with 2m lightstrip, power supply and controller) and run the lights to the right. Then buy two 1m extension kits connected together and run those to the left of the power connection (run both right and left sides off the same power supply and controller). I'm thinking I could create a "Y" cable that goes from the controller to the right and left side strips. Would that work? What "sex" (male or female) connector would I need at the controller and what "sex" connectors to hook to the right and left side strips?

ruedli (author)Gary and LarryB2017-03-28

I noticed your diagram, with the need for an Y. Personally I would run the cable (extended by an CAT5E cable) along one of the strips and then hook up everything in series.

Having said that: there is a person selling Hue Plus Y splitter cables on eBay, so I assume it is technically feasible. He even connected both cables from different ends: one from the female part and one from the male connector: all hooked up with an Y-cable to the adapter in the middle. This is really confusing me, as I thought there was a sort of "input" and "output" of the strip. If this is indeed NOT the case and it technically really works, it doesn't matter much how you hook them up: in series or with an Y-splitter, since then the LEDS are always electrically in parallel to each other and the box feeds all the individual strips.

The only thing I can imagine, is that Philips made a feature to multiplex the signal over multiple extended strips. They need to reduce the power consumtion per strip when multiple are connected in series, as obviously the adapter is not configured to deliver as much as 5 times the power if you were to connect 10 meters of strip. They mention in the manual that the amount of light per strip is then reduced. Possibly you defeat that by running the strip in parallel, so you would stress your adapter. This is why I would go for a serial solution -or- (in your case) buy two kits: and run them both from "the middle" where you have your single adapter with the foreseen Y cable now (then you also have more light compared to running in series).

Note that you always have the option to solder the connections yourself - or - use 6 pin male and female headers, that you solder on one end and then just plug in the (unmodified) strips. Make sure you only "connect" the pins that were meant to be connected and do not "cross" the wires.

Hope this helps....

Gary and LarryB (author)ruedli2017-03-28

Ruedli, Thanks for the quick reply. The "Y" splitter cable on eBay( does seem to do exactly what I'm looking to do. A base kit on one side of the controller with extensions on the other side with the controller in the middle. So I guess I'll give it a try!

ruedli (author)Gary and LarryB2017-03-27

Well, I unsoldered the connectors, so gender did not matter after that. Having said that: they are connected using data and clock connections, so a Y-cable is not trivial. Cannot say from experience, but I doubt that an Y-cable works. There is no need for a split when you just solder a cable at the end of your first 1m strip to the second one. When I tried this, I used a 5 meter network cable. No problem at all: all the LEDs light up. You are just looking at about 1m extra cable.

Gary and LarryB (author)ruedli2017-03-28

Hi ruedli,

I wasn't planning on unsoldering connectors or trying to split lightstrips. I need to put the power into the middle of 4m worth of lightstrips, so I was considering running a separate 2m (the one included in the base kit) to the right and then a separate run of two 1m extensions to the left with the controller "Y'd" into both the separate right and left parts.

See attached diagram. I only have access to AC power in the middle, not at the ends.

Are you suggesting that I just create one 4m lightstrip (connecting the base 2m strip plus two 1m extensions) as a single run and connect the wires from the controller to the solder points in the middle of the lightstrip instead of at the start of the lightstrip? I do want the left and right sides to be pretty much butted up against each other and controlled as a single strip. I just need a way of running power into the middle instead of either end.

Legacy777 made it! (author)2016-10-02

Well I tried to do this, but was unable to get the solder to melt. I needed 3 meter sections for my project and what I ended up doing is cutting the heat shrink off the 6 meter section and the connector came off so I ended up getting two 3 meter extensions.

Also, I found these extension cables handy. I was going to cut one in half and solder the wires to the LED strip so they could be connected & disconnected as needed.

RyanA28 (author)Legacy7772016-12-29

Were you able to connect the power supply to another section of the strips after removing the heat shrink? I'm considering doing the same in order to connect power to a 1m strip and keeping the 6m strip as the last in the series.

ruedli (author)RyanA282016-12-30

Yes, you can, but you can only cut at the place where they are connected. These 30+cm strips can be connected in series in any combination you want Only: they are directional: they have an incoming and outgoing side AND the power+signal from the Hue adapter must be connected to the first strip and the rest then follows in series. On one of the pictures I used a 5 meter cable between first 5 segments and the last. No noticable difference in brightness.

In your setup the power goes to the first meter and then you solder between extension and the other 5 meters. If there is a power input on the 6 meter strip, you need to remove this power header or build (or reuse) a connector, that you can plug it in the existing power input. Likewise for the "exit" your one meter strip: you solder a cable or plugin a suitable build (or reused) connector.

When you add more extension strips to the same adapter, the light gets slightly dimmer: my guess is that Philips does time division multiplexing, as to keep the power from the adapter within limits. Therefore I would personnaly not attach 10 meters to one adapter, but use 5 adapters and power each time 2 meters from one adapter.

Any Hue strip users who have experience with 10 meters to one adapter? How is the brightness then? Is a brightness difference allready noticeable with 4 meters? 6 meters?

Kokose (author)ruedli2017-01-09

Apart for 10m of hue is going to cost a fortune your best bet is to use the Philips hue controller and then get some generic strip lights 5 or 10m and wire it up to the controller there are full instructions here

The new hue light strip is limited to 1600 lumens total length be it 2m or 10m

For Salei (author)ruedli2016-12-30

OK, guys, I haven't soldered since 9th grade (or possibly earlier), but I've got a new soldering iron, with 20W or 40W power selection. I have tried twice to desolder the lightstrip soldered connections, and they just don't come apart. Any advice? I've got the basic lightstrip kit, the extension kit, and many extending connection cables to span a bunch of under-cabinet angles. But I JUST CAN'T get the soldered connections to come apart. <disappointed frustration> Eventually the ribbon just gives out after repeated tries with heat. I tried using desoldering wick, too, to no avail. Please help with any advice. Thanks in advance.

ruedli (author)For Salei2016-12-31

Just to make sure: you mention "basic lightstrip kit". Are you referring to the same one as mine? The lightstrip plus? This is a second version of lightstrips of Philips, produces much more light and it has 6 wires.

If it is the same, it is possible that there is now also a mechanical connection. Mine were just soldered and I initially used a desoldering heatgun, but also was succesfull with my soldering station: it has 80watts and I used the highest temperature setting (480°C). Post a picture if you can.

Legacy777 (author)For Salei2016-12-30

This was my problem too. I tried multiple solder irons and couldn't get the solder to even puddle, which is why I went with the solution I did. I wish I had a better suggestion.

Legacy777 (author)ruedli2016-12-30

I believe RyanA28 was asking about what I did and removed the heat shrink from the power supply wiring. I did not end up cutting the strips, but just rather removed the heat shrink around the power connector going to the strip and relocated it to a shorter separate strip.

ruedli (author)Legacy7772016-12-30

Yes, correct. Thanks for pointing this outI assumed Ryan28 wanted to obtain a one meter strip by cutting it from a 2 meter strip. However, you can also buy one meter extension pack and then use it directly and use the same soldering (or clipons/connectors) as Legacy777 explained. As long as you respect front and end of the strips Ryan28 shouldn't have any problems.

The question on brightness when powering 7 strips from one adapter remains.

Legacy777 (author)RyanA282016-12-29

Yes I was able to do that, and you shouldn't have a problem doing what you mentioned.

criticaldefect (author)2016-09-24

You can buy various solder free connectors for coupling wires onto the ends of the generic RGBW strips, does anybody know if the solder pads on the hue strips would line up these or is the spacing different? If so it would halve the risk of damaging the strip, by only needing to desolder and tin the joints then clip them on

ruedli (author)criticaldefect2016-09-24

Thanks for the comment, clip ons are indeed an easier to use solution, although you still should desolder to keep the best length for the contact. I looked for those, but could not find any suitable 6 pin clip on connectors. Also the spacing is 2mm and not the more current 2.54mm. I did find and order 2mm spaced header, both female and male. These can be used for making detachable connections, but they took langer from China to arrive than I wanted to wait. If you're confident soldering it is very doable. In my case I did not want to move the strips, so soldering was the most reliable solution for me.

If someone found fitting 6 pin clip ons, it seems 2mm spacing, drop a link here.

kluzz made it! (author)2016-09-01

I used this method to connect two disjointed sections of kitchen cabinet top lighting. Total length was 5 meters, and I split one of the 1 meter segments in two, and connected the segments using Cat5e cable.

I was a bit worried for a while when one of the solder joints appeared to get warm during operation, but it turned out to be one of the SMD chips on the strip. A similar heat spot was found on the same chip on each of the segments along the strips.

For others worrying about overheating; the following site has a calculator that will let you determine the voltage drop (and subsequently the power dissipation) over a length of wire:

The hue strips run on 12VDC, and has a power draw of max 1A per meter (guesstimate, since the power supply is rated for 10A, and the max length of a LightStrip Plus is 10 meters). Each wire in a Cat5e cable is AWG24, or AWG23 for Cat6. Now go forth and calculate, lest ye burn down your houses. :)

Yes, those terrible 12V halogen spots are going to be replaced with something receptive to Hue bulbs as soon as I get around to it.

razorbake made it! (author)2016-08-14

I just did your tutorial and it works like charm.

As it was my first time with a soldering iron, the connections may not be perfect but it gets the job done. Though I had some concerns about unsoldering the two layer of strip. I thought if I applied the tip on all the soldering point at the same time it will mix up the tin and bridge the connections but that was not the case. Using that method the two layer separate very easily without making a mess.

Otherwise using an Ethernet cable is a great idea :)

(Sorry for possible English mistakes)

ruedli (author)razorbake2016-08-15

Well done and congratulations with the result!

Thanks for sharing.

After de-soldering you can get rid of the tin with a tin suction device if necessary. In fact mine is shown in the first picture with the overview showing the 6 disconnected strips. You might also be able to heat it up and shake it off. Start soldering using new tin with as much of the old tin removed as possible. The flux of the new tin helps making better connections.

Jimichan (author)2016-05-28

As far as, "you must be careful manipulating the soldered strip. They are quite thin and not wrapped up in their protecting sleeve", you might want to try using shrink tube and/or silicone caulk to cover those. It would reinforce and protect the solder connections.

ruedli (author)Jimichan2016-05-28

You are correct, thanks for pointing this out. Once soldered the strips are more vulnerable when manipulated. In my case, this was not too much of an issue, as I mounted them where they needed to be and I never intend to move them anymore. So I just isolated the connections. If you do not mount them, then yes, reinforcement with shrink tube is a good idea. I'd even recommend adding some thin wood / carton before shrinking it, then you prevent the connection from being bent even better.

jsprenkle (author)2016-05-27

You might want to change the word 'shortcut' to 'short' in your text. That's the usual term for an accidentally bridged connection

ruedli (author)jsprenkle2016-05-28

Thanks for the comment, I now fixed the text at step 3 and used " short" instead. Being Dutch, the translation of "kortsluiting", originally inspired me to using shortcut.

jsprenkle (author)ruedli2016-05-28

You're welcome. Good instructable! I've had problems with those too

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-05-24

These would make great accent lights. I need to add a few of these to my kitchen.

They indeed work great in the kitchen, 1600 Lumen is enough for most, in fact you might want to dim it, not a problem either. I was inspired by to try and cut all segments by this person, who also installed it in the kitchen and cut the strip into two pieces. You can checkout his pictures of kitchen stuff. Note that he didn't desolder, but cut through the soldering pads. Desoldering the pads works better in my opinion.

rafununu (author)ruedli2016-05-25

Desoldering or cutting, it's up to you. You'll have to clean the pads anyway. I don't understand the manufacturer policy (Philips here), I'm used to cut Leds ribbons for years now. You must take care of the resistors places and cut where it is allowed, that's it. Brilliant job indeed.

ruedli (author)rafununu2016-05-26

Thanks for the comment, I couldn't agree more. On "cut where supposed to" the manufacturer put a scissors symbol and a line, but you should NOT cut it there, this might be confusing to people, so it is why I wrote the instructable with the pictures.

Probably Philips targeted consumer end users and cannot justify instructions at the level of disassembling / assembling their product. The only alternative would have been to have connectors between all segments, but I can foresee reliability issues when people bend these loosely coupled segmented strips.

Anyhow, through this instructable the interested persons can decide for themselves what they want to do. I Hope this helps others with similar requirements. Despite the manufacturers dubious cutting advice, the lights are really great in terms of colour options and amount of Lumen!

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-05-24

These would make great accent lights. I need to add a few of these to my kitchen.

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