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How to Wire LED Strip Lights to a Battery

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Wiring an LED strip to a battery is not as frustrating as it sounds. With the right tools and knowledge of what to do, you will have your LED lights set up in no time. If you don’t know where to start, we are going to take you through the process of how to wire an LED strip to a battery using an easy-to-follow procedure. 

How To Wire an LED Strip To A Battery

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to wire your LED strips to a battery on your own, do not worry. This simple procedure will show you everything you need to know plus some safety precautions to keep in mind. 

What You Need 

  • Wire stripper or knife
  • Soldering guns and solder
  • 12 volts battery and battery clip or connector
  • Extra wires
  • LED strips
  • On-off switch
Connecting wire LED strip lights to a battery

Step One: Strip The Wire

Strip both ends of your wires. Begin with the LED strip wires, then the extra pieces of wire, and lastly, the cables from your connector. 

Step Two: Connect The Battery Clip With The Switch

The switch will help you control the turning on and off of your LED strips. Without it, the strip will continuously glow until you disconnect it manually. 

Connect the positive wire (red) to the one terminal on the switch and the solder. Then, connect the remaining terminal with one end of the red line (positive) from the extra pieces of wire. Twist the black wire from the connector to one end of the black cable from the additional wire piece. 

Step Three: Connect To The LED

Before you do the connection, ensure that the switch is off. Then connect the two ends of the wires from the connector to the LED strip’s positive and negative cables, respectively. You will notice a color code of the LED strip to help you identify each terminal accordingly. 

Step Four: Connect To The Battery

After making all the connections above correctly, it is now time to clip the system to the battery terminals. Ensure that the wires and the battery clips are compatible.  Attach the red wire to the positive terminal, and the one with black wire to the negative terminal. 

Step Five: Try Your Connection

Turn on the switch and see if the LED lights accordingly. If you followed the steps above correctly, the LEDs should work correctly. 

Primary Requirements For Connecting An LED Strip To A Battery

You need to equip yourself with some basic scientific knowledge before you try these connections. These include.

  1. The voltage requirement for your LED must match that of your battery
  2. The battery supply capacity should be enough to sustain your lighting system
  3. The connectivity method between your battery and LED should match

How To Select The Right Voltage For Your Connection

Voltage determines how strong the power that comes from your battery is. The higher the voltage, the more substantial the stream. For this reason, it is important that you get the voltage right before starting the connection.

Having a power source with a voltage level above that required by your LED strip can damage your LED. However, having a power source with an under-voltage will not necessarily hurt the strip yet it can reduce the brightness, or make the system not light at all. 

The most common combination between LED strips and battery voltage is the 12-volt DC unless otherwise. Other varieties include 9 volts DC. Each AA battery has 1.5 volts, so you can always combine eight of them in a handy battery holder to create a 12-volt power supply. 

How To Calculate The Power Capacity For Your Connection

Capacity determines how much current your battery holds in milliamps per hour or watts per hour (Wh). It also indicates the number of hours your power source can supply the electrical current system before it dries out. 

LED strip lights

You need a basic understanding of mathematics to calculate the duration a fully charged battery can power an LED strip. Here is how to do it:

To begin with, determine the power requirement of your LED strip. In most cases, you will find it in the specification sheet of the LED product within the package- expressed in watts per foot or per meter. 

If the information is in Amperes (Amps), convert it to milliamp (mA) by multiplying the number indicated by 1000. However, if the figure is in watts, divide it by the voltage, for example, 12 V, then multiply the outcome by 1000. Below is a mAh rating for some of the most common battery types out there; 

  • AA Dry Cell gives 400-900 mAh
  • AA Alkaline gives 1700-2850 mAh
  • A standard car battery has a 45,000 mAh capacity

After converting everything to milliamps, divide the battery Milliamp per hour value by the LED strip milliamp value. The outcome you get in this final step gives you the expected battery capacity in hours. 

What Types Of Batteries Can I Use To Light My LED Strips?

There are three common types of batteries in the market that can effectively power an LED strip. They are: 

1.5V AA Or AAA Battery

Whatever the voltage and current requirements from your LED light strips, you can always combine them to have a sustainable capacity. The nominal voltage of these cells depreciates with their usage until they entirely run dry. 

One AA battery has 1.5 voltages and 24 mAh. Therefore, to get 12 voltages, you need eight of them. If your LED demands nine volts, then you need six of these batteries to light your system. 

3.7V Rechargeable Battery

The rechargeable batteries come in several capacities, we use the 3.7 voltage or 2000 mAh battery in this article. They are common in easy takes away gadgets like flashlights and lanterns

One advantage of this power source is that you do not need to replace them now and then. Once you buy them, you only need a few minutes to recharge and get them back to functionality. 

To get an ideal power supply for your LED strip, you need three 3.7 rechargeable batteries arranged in a series circuit, translating to 11.1 voltages.

DC12V Battery or Car Battery

The standard car battery is the biggest one you can use in this connection. The battery is also rechargeable so that it will give you many years of service. It can power any LED with a DC 12-volt input and lasts longer than AAA, AA, or the 3.7 rechargeable batteries.  

Entertainment room with LED lights

They come in five different types depending on construction:

  • Flooded Batteries
  • Sealed Batteries
  • VRLA Batteries
  • AGM Batteries
  • GEL Batteries

How Long Will a Battery Power my LED Strip?

Some factors determine how long your battery will sustain your LED strip lighting system. Some of them are, 

Battery Capacity

The common analogy here is that the bigger the battery, the larger the capacity. Therefore, you should get a bigger battery, preferably the DC 12 V battery, if you want a more sustainable power source. 

Length Of Time You Light Your LED Strip

The duration you leave your light on will determine how long the battery lasts. For example, a power source that operates 12 hours a day will depreciate faster than a battery that lights the same LED only 4 hours a day. 

Age Of The Battery

This factor mostly applies to the rechargeable types, DC 12 V and 3.7 rechargeable batteries. After a long service life, batteries tend to lose their ability to retain power for long. Most of it is because of the wear and tear on the cells and terminal. 

If you are using a wet cell battery, you can boost the power by either changing the battery acid or topping up with battery distilled water. However, if you are using any other type like sealed batteries, then the only solution is getting new ones if it can’t hold enough power after recharge. 

Under What Circumstance Can I Connect My LED Strips To A Battery?

There are some places where you will not have access to the AC22OV or cabled electricity connection easily. Such situations and places include camping sites, cabinets, and vehicle lighting systems. The only option you will have here is to buy a portable power source for your LEDs. 

In all this case, you need to check the voltage and capacity requirements and see if they are compatible with the power supply. The most common combination is the 12-volt battery to LED strip wiring

The connection process applies the same wiring tips we have above, and the installation procedures are simple DIY processes. If you are not sure what to do with the wires, we recommend that you reach out to a technician, especially with the vehicle wiring system

Bottom Line

You do not necessarily need electricity connections to power your LED strip lights. Batteries can correctly do the job provided that you use the power supply meets the LED power spec. The above simple steps will guide you whenever you want to wire your LED strip to a battery.