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How to Hardwire LED Strip Lights

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The installation of LED strip lights is a simple process that does not require any technical know-how and you can do on your own. You only need LED strip lights, the ability to follow clear-cut instructions and you are good to go. If you don’t know where to start, this guide will help you learn how to hardwire LED strip lights. 

How to Hardwire LED Strip Lights

Below is a step-by-step process to follow when hardwiring your LED strip lights:

Step 1: Obtain the Required Materials

Knowing what you need for this particular job is essential. You require only a few things to hardwire LED strip lights. These include: 

  • A LED power adapter
  • An alternating current (A/C) power cable
  • Several male barrel plugs. 
Ready to hardwire LED strip lights

Step 2: Connect the A/C Power Cable to the Adapter

When you have everything set, the next thing is to connect the A/C power cable to the adapter. Here, you wire the A/C power cable’s brown wire to the live port on the adapter. 

You will then attach the cable’s blue wire to the neutral port on the adapter. Some power cables have a striped wire that you connect to the adapter’s ground port.

Step 3: Connect the Male Barrel Plug

By connecting the male barrel plug, you are connecting DC power to the adapter. You connect the male barrel by getting the red wire and attach it to the V+ port on the adapter. Next, pick the black wire and connect it to the adapter’s V- port.

Step 4: Test the Lights

Once you have connected all the cables, you are already in the final step- testing the lights to check if they work. If it seems that the lights do not turn on, you will try to flip the switch to various power options. 

How to Wire LED Strip Lights into Mains

First, you need to understand that LED strips require an LED transformer to be able to connect to your mains. The reason behind this is that 12 Volt LED lights (what you are using) require significantly lower voltage. 

There are different types of LED transformers out there. Whatever transformer you pick will depend on certain factors like watts per chip, total voltage, and the length of your LED strip.

For example, if you have 60 small LED chips, you will require a 30W transformer, and if you have 120 small LED chips, you need a 60W transformer.

How to Wire LED Strips to a Switch and Connect LED Strips to a Power Supply

Whether you install your LED strips in your office or at home, you do not want them to be on all the time. You have to wire your LED strips to a switch to enable you to turn them on and off whenever you want to.

This part of our guide will help you understand how to wire your LEDs to a switch and a power supply. 

Light switch

What You Need 

Step 1: Prepare Everything 

Before you begin, first note the manufacturer’s stated amp and the volts on your LEDs. It is helpful to help you determine the amount of current you need to get optimum effectiveness from the lights.

You begin with calculating the value of the resistor to determine what is ideal for your circuit. The standard formula is; Number of ohms = (volt of the source (V) -drop voltage of the LED) ÷ amps of the LEDs.

This calculation will also help you determine the resistor value. Get a resistor with whose value is close to the number of ohms you got in above.

Step 2: Solder the Terminal

After you have collected all you need, determine the positive and negative wires of the LEDs. Then solder the LED strip’s positive wire (anode) to the resistor. It is always the longest wire in a LED.

Step 3: Connect to Switch

Turn the switch off and solder one end of copper wire to the other end of the resistor and solder. Then connect the remaining end of the wire to one terminal of the switch. 

Step 4: Connect to the Power Supply

Now take another piece of copper wire and connect one end to the remaining terminal of the switch and the other end to the positive terminal of the power supply-solder properly. The positive terminal should have the ‘+’ sign to direct you.

Step 5: Connect the Cathode

Take another piece of copper wire and connect the negative terminal of the power supply and the cathode of your LED and solder them together.

Step 6: Test Your Connection

Finally, if you followed the above steps correctly, your lights should work properly. 

Strip lights

How to Use Your Hardwire Adapter Outdoors

If you want to use your hardwire adapter outdoors, weatherproof and waterproof LED power adapters are always the option to consider. If you can’t find an LED power adapter designed for outdoor use, you can still use your regular adapter. 

You will have to keep the adapters in covered areas or protected places to ensure that they give you the best service. The weatherproof wiring boxes will help you a great deal. Your main concern will be to make sure that the power adapter can be operated outside.

The light strips and driver you buy must have a rating of 67 and above. This means that they are waterproof. For this scenario, waterproof LED light strips work the same way as the non-waterproof lights, meaning that the process of installation is the same.

How to Choose the Right Tape for Your Job

Different factors will determine the type of LED strip you want to install, as discussed below.

Consider the Color and Brightness

There is a variety of colors to pick from when buying your LED tape. If you do not want to stick to one color, you have the option of choosing color changing strip lights. There are also different wattages for your LED tape. 

They range from 5 to 25 watts, and this is what determines the brightness of your LED lights. Depending on what you are looking for, there is a wide range of LED strip lights to select.

Consider the Width

When choosing the LED strip lights you want to install, considering the width of the tape against the width of the area you need the strip installed is essential. Another point to consider is the number of LEDs per meter. 

The number of LEDs per meter determines whether the light will be evenly dispersed or otherwise. Although the tape that has a greater number of LEDs per meter may be expensive, it will not produce any unwanted spotting in your lighting.

LED strip lights about to be hardwired

Consider the Surface You Want to Install Them On

When switched on, the LED light strips warm up slightly. They, therefore, have to be installed on metal surfaces to be able to dissipate the heat generated.

If you are not installing on metal surfaces, placing them in a profile is our high recommendation. After that, you can mount them to the surface using brackets.

Installing Your LED Strip Lights on a Wall or Ceiling

For styling your home, the LED strip lights will look great on your ceiling or walls. LED strip lights on your wall or ceiling are also perfect when you want to show creative task lighting or the architecture of drop-down ceiling or coving. 

To install the LED lights on a ceiling or coving the right way, ensure that you have them behind a lip. 

For instance, you can put them at the edge of a drop-down or the top of a molded ceiling. Installing the LED strip lights behind a lip hides the tape yet gives you the full lighting effect you desire.

Safety Tips for Hardwire LED Strip Lights

As we have shown above, it is easy to hardwire LED strip lights. The technique is also useful in hardwiring LED strip cables under cabinet lighting, car lighting. Moreover, you can use it for any other lighting system that can contain LED strip lights.

Ensuring you are safe is an area of emphasis in the whole process. Generally, we can say that this process is relatively safe. However, as it is said, it is better to be safe than sorry. 

The first safety step is to ensure that there is no power flowing in the wires when handling them. You also need to ensure that you turn off the adapter so that no current is flowing through it. 

Conclusion

Like we have discussed in the steps above, the process of hardwiring LED strip lights is an easy one. The most important thing is to match the colored wires to the various ports on the LED power adapter. You also need to consider the safety steps we have provided.