LED Lighting Made Simple - LED Illuminations |

LED Lighting Made Simple

LED light strips are a relatively new and incredibly versatile form of lighting. They come in a vast variety of forms, they mostly, however, share the following characteristics.

  • They consist of multiple LEDs which are mounted on a narrow and flexible, long printed circuit board
  • Operate on lower voltage DC power
  • Are available in a range of adjustable, or fixed lighting options of colour and brightness
  • Can be cut at regular cutting marks to a specific length to fit your application
  • Includes double-sided adhesive for mounting to a clean surface

An LED strip is usually between 8 -12mm wide and up to 5 meters in 12Vdc or 10 meters for 24Vdc in length. The strip can be cut to any length you like with just a pair of scissors if cut along the cutlines, which are located typically every 3 or 6 LEDs.

Individual LEDs are mounted along the strip, quite often at densities of between 30 – 240 LEDs per metre. The colour and quality of the LED strips are determined by the individual LEDs.

The underside of an LED strip includes some pre-applied double-sided adhesive tape. This can be used by merely peeling the backing away, and then mounted vertically onto any clean surface. The circuit board, because of its physical size, is very flexible, and LED strips are available with side-emitting LEDs or on a ‘Z’ shaped PCB to enable you to install them on curved and irregular surfaces.

The strip brightness is determined by lumens. This is different to incandescent bulbs, as LED strips can have different levels of efficiency. This means that the wattage rating is not always a good indicator of light output. LED strip light brightness is often described in lumens output instead. High quality LED strips come also with a high colour rendering index (CRI). This is important when lighting different food types or diamonds!

LED strip brightness is determined by three factors:

  • Light output and efficiency per LED emitter
  • The number of LEDs per meter.
  • The power draw of the LED strip.

Beware of an LED strip light without a brightness specification in lumens. Watch out for budget LED strips that are offering high brightness or data that sounds too good to be true – it usually is.

LED Density and Power Draw

LED strips are typically 12 or 24Vdc which will require a suitable low voltage transformer.  The transformer should have enough capacity plus 10%.

The density of LEDs per metre on a strip can determine whether or not there are going to be visible hot spots where a patch is much lighter than other areas. Normally there will be 60LED/m but anything above 120LED/m will form a good line of light. Be sure to account for the LED density when choosing your lighting.