November 26, 2014 by Sarah Longfellow


led strip lightingOf the number of LED products available in the market today, LED strip lighting or ribbons stand out as one of the most popular. They have not only replaced incandescent ribbons but also fluorescent tubes while offering numerous options for advertisement and decorative purposes. With the speed of the development of LED technology over the years, there are now LED lights available for very many purposes ranging from home to commercial to office use. It is therefore important consumers know the main characteristics of LED strip lights to guide them in making the right choice. The following features can help you decide on how and what type of LED strip lighting to get, depending on your intended purpose.

– The size or type of LEDs
– The number of LEDs on a metre of the strip
– The LEDs colour or colour temperature

– The flexibility of the strip
– The direction of LEDs on the strip
– Carrying capacity
– IP rating
– dimmers and controllers

led strip lightsThe type and size of the LED are probably the most important factors of all the factors mentioned above. They both determine its brightness and performance. Another factor that determines performance is the number of LEDs in the strip. High number of strips are brighter, however high numbers within a meter usually make use of special technologies such as double width strips- where the LED are placed in rows of twos or threes next to each other. However this kind of strips require you monitor them as LEDs emit a lot of heat and when placed so close to each other, can shorten the strips lifespan.

LEDs now come in an infinite color range, since the RGB technique can create any colour type. Two or three shades of white are available: bright or cold white. The cold white is a bluish and very bright version of white, the yellowish white like the sun called the warm white and the natural white-which combines the two in varying degrees. White color temperature is measured in Kelvin. The temperature of the cold or bluish white colors are high (from about 500k) and that of the warmer white colors are lower (2700 ?3000K).

These days single color LEDs come in almost all colors, but the RGB LED strips can emit a large variety of colors. RGB strips however use a controller to operate and decide between what colors along the strip should be, whether constant or changing. Special pixel RGB strips are the ones that change colors in a row, creating a beautiful run down effect.

How flexible the LED strips are is also a determining factor in their application. Rigid strips are great for replacing fluorescent tubes for example, although flexible strips afford a wide range of uses other than this. Rigid strips are easier to work with on flat surfaces like ceilings or walls. Strips are usually flexible to one dimension only, which is the reason LED directions are important. The most common strips have their LED lightings upwards, so if for example you wish to enlighten a wheel, then side mounted or side view strips will do good as you can shape them the in right direction.

12v led strip lightsThe carrying capacity of strips are generally very low. Heavy duty strip lights are sold for commercial use in factories and on ships for instance. Profiles are the common solution for home use where carrying capacity is important.

If you wish to install strip lights at wet or humid areas, outdoors or even in water then you need partial or completely waterproof materials. Materials with IP rating of 68 are 100% waterproof items. IP rating of LED strips or electric goods are two  numbers that indicate the degree of from the intrusion of solid objects, accidental contact, dust and water in electrical enclosures.

The variety of moods or atmospheres an LED strip lights can create are incredibly large and effective and they also depend on the accessories used with them, like controllers and dimmers. Although the largest variety of RGB effects are created with panels, where there is no limit to the effects used other than our imagination. Applying complex controllers like DMX can allow you to set the rhythm of color change to a particular music. Dimming is always easily achievable, although most LEDs come with a dimmer specially manufactured for this purpose.


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