Author Options:

Installing LED strip lights under deck railing using batteries. Answered

Hello! I would like to install roughly 5.5' Of LED strip lights beneath my deck railing for nightime use. Can anyone recommend an LED strip lighting system with the appropriate specs to light the deck beneath and the battery set up needed for such a system (preferably using C batteries or smaller)? I am completely new to this, but am excited to try it out!


Ok, just to sum it all up:
If you want to stick with LED strips avoid chinaware, do some digging and opt for something from a reputable manufacturer / company that has a good warranty.
In case you are on a budget take a china strip but with super bright LED's that you run on under 12V as Iceng already pointed out.
Good thing here is that super bright LED's still offer more light output on a lower than rated voltage as standard ones on full 12V - plus they last a lifetime this way.
I used a superbright LED in my projection clock after the original failed.
Running on 18 instead of 26mA now for 8 years 24/7...
As for the connection and battery supply:
I would suggest to use a battery pack offering 15V, so 10 C-cells in an easy to access tube or similar.
As a cheaper alternative go for 18V and 3 lantern batteries - they use 4 D-cells in each battery and are quite easy to solder together.
If you want to safe size and get an easy rechager option then take two 7.2V rechargable batteries as used in RC cars or boats - the higher the amp hour rating the longer they will last.
To get the brigthness you desire and the correct voltage you use an efficient and adjustable step down converter.
For the strips you get ready made connctors with two wires that you can solder on.

You might wonder why I suggest such high supply voltages, so let me try to explain:
Your LED's require 12V for full brightness but we want to go lower anyway.
Selecting a matching battery voltage means the brightness will decrease quite quick and the batteries become useless as they can't supply the power they had when full.
Going up with the supply and using a step down converter (or for smaller power levels maybe just an adjustable voltage regulator) allows to use the batteries until their combined voltage drop is below what the step down converter can handle.
So you can use the batteries until depleted without compromising brigthness ;)
This is especially helpful when using rechargable batteries as they should not be used below their minimum voltage.

Okay, I think I'm close. I'm thinking to use the LED strip depicted below [http://www.ebay.com/itm/5M-SMD-5050-RGB-LED-Strip-Waterproof-300-LEDs-Light-Flexible-60-M-IP65-12V-US-/201059509897?hash=item2ed014a689:g:OvYAAOSwxH1T~9Xp] and the above step-down converters with pictures below. I want to try running the 12V LEDs on batteries: alkaline C batteries at 8x1.5v = 12v and also NiMH C batteries (5,000 mAh) at 12x1.2v = 14.4v. Any thoughts or warnings for me? :-) Do you think I should use more batteries in both cases?

Wow! Thank you so much for your insight. Both you and iceng have been more than helpful. I will see what I can put together with such great advice!

Kind of strange that it published the unedited version of what I wrote. I deleted the "taken" and changed the dor to for but it ignored my changes. Twlight Zone stuff.

The robot was made in the Zone...

Hey Vyger, thank you. That really is helpful.

I can not really recommend standard LED strips, especially if waterproof and even less if off Ebay.
I had several different brands and lenghts for various uses.
No strip so far had still all LED working after the first year.
IMHO the better option is to use these LED disk lights as used for under kitchen cabinets.
They are available in waterproof too and often you can choose between 12V and 240V.
12V would be fine for outdoors and you only need a suitable 12V downlight or LED transformer to run them.
Best part is that if one light would fail it is quite easy to replace, while a LED strip is a pain in this regard.

Thank you for your insight! That is also a great idea. For my purposes, I prefer the look that the LED strip lighting gives. Perhaps I can find a higher quality brand...

That's scary failed before a year :( ... I did buy a blue strip from Radio Shack 4 years ago for a costume, it is still running but at 9Volts instead of 12v...

There are 34 groups of three leds, each group uses 20ma which means 680ma or o.68 amps at 12 volts.

If you want run it for a 12 hour single night you will need about a 10 amp-hour 12 volt battery... And that works out to 8 NiMH D cell batteries in series...

I would recommend a simple12 VDC 1A wall-wart or a small car battery with a solar panel re-charger.

Thank you for your response and ebay link! So, if I used C batteries instead due to the size of the recess under my railing, would I need 10 C batteries? Also, what would be an easy way to connect battery power from the batteries to the LED strip?

Thanks again!


1 year ago

There are waterproof led strips that run on 12 volts.

What color ?

Warm white would be great.