DIY LED Strip: How to Cut, Connect, Solder and Power LED Strip

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Introduction: DIY LED Strip: How to Cut, Connect, Solder and Power LED Strip

Beginners guide for making your own light projects using LED strip.

Flexible reliable and easy to use, LED strips are the best choice for a variety of applications.

I will cover the basics on installing a simple indoor 60 LED's/m LED strip, but the instructions will apply in most cases with other types of strips of LED.

Step 1: Cutting LED Strip

Most LED strips come with pre soldered wires or special connectors. But if you want to use only a specific length of the strip you will have to know where you can make cuts.

All LED strips have specific points where you can make cuts. Those points are usually marked with a line across the strip and some copper connections (on some strips you can even see a scissors symbol).

The LED strip can be cut using basic scissors.

DON'T cut anywhere else but the marked line. If you cut the strip in another place you can end up with some LED's in the cut area not working.

LED strips are self adhesive. Peel off the protective layer on the back and you can stick it on glass, metal, plastic, most finished wood surfaces.

Step 2: Connecting the LED Strips

LED strips can be connected between them with soldered joints.

Measure and cut the wires (standard colors are RED for positive and BLACK for negative).

Strip the wires on both ends with a cutter, or a wire stripper if you have one.

I would recommend pre soldering both the wires and copper connections before making the final soldering.

Now solder the red wire on the positive (+ symbol) copper connection and the black one on the negative connection (- symbol).

At the end of the circuit solder two longer wires for powering the LED strip.

Step 3: Powering the LED Strip

For powering the LED strip you will need a Power Supply that can provide enough power for the length of LED strip you will light up.

Power supplies are usually rated in AMPS while the LED strip is rated in WATTS. For converting them you can use this formula: A (amps) x V (volts) = W (watts) or W / V = A.

My LED strip is rated at 24W/5m. 24W / 5m = 4.8 W / m.

So if you want to use 8m of strip that would mean 4.8W x 8m = 38.4 W

Using the conversion formula i can find out how much Amps i nead. W / V = A --- 38.4W / 12 V = 3,2A

It is recommended to use a higher power rated Power Supply than what is actually needed (10% - 20% higher)

For my example i would use a 5A Power Pupply.

In my project i actually use a 20 AMP Power Supply with mechanical connections (3 connections for 220V input and 2 sets of 2 connections for 12V output).

The input connections are for GROUND (green/yellow), N and L (brown and blue wires).

The output connections is where the two long wires from the LED strip go (RED on positive and BLACK on the negative).

FINISHED !!! Plug in the Power Supply and enjoy the lights :).

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    2 Comments

    0
    IanB427
    IanB427

    Question 2 months ago on Step 1

    Hello Max, I wish to make up a high mount brake light (RED) strip for my classic car. Also wish to know if sequential operating turn signal (Amber ) is possible.?
    Ian (61 chev bubble top impala; has large rear glass; Likely make a channel to attach at top inside car).

    0
    LifeHackerMax
    LifeHackerMax

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Hello Ian, I would advise you to do a bit more research on using LED's on your car as anything electronics I tried to use on my car has all sorts of interference / noise and I think you will need some sort of protection circuit between the cars battery and the LED's in order not to get them fried. But with enough research I think it is possible.