Cutting, Connecting and Installing LED Strip Lights

By LED Lighthouse

Installing our LED strip lighting couldn’t be easier. With various LED ‘clip-on’ connectors available, fitting your new LED lights is easier than ever. Even though we offer a wide range of LED strip connectors, we’d always recommend soldering the LED tape where possible. Soldered connections are much more stable and will offer a more ‘maintenance-free’ installation. Forward planning is always best. Deciding how to first-fix the installation prior to actually fitting the LED strip can save time and money.

Working with LED Strip Lighting

How to Cut an LED Light Strip? 

Yes, LED strip lights are cuttable. Low-voltage LED Strip lights are much safer and easier to cut compared to mains voltage ones.

Simply by using a pair of scissors, cut at the designated cut point marked on the LED Strip, in intervals ranging from 25mm to 100mm, depending on the LED strip chosen. Except for IP67 and IP68 LED Strips, once the end is cut, no further work is required.

How to Connect an LED Light Strip?

Where possible, we’d always recommend soldering any connections to the LED strip. Soldered connections are less likely to come loose over time and will provide more permanent fixing to the LED tape. If soldering is not possible, we sell a wide range of ‘clip-on’ connections for most of our LED strip lights. These include connecting 2 LED strips in a straight line and on a 90-degree bend.

How to plan the installation of LED Strip Lights:

Preparation is always key! The more thoroughly thought out the first fix, the easier the second fix will be. Multiple pieces of LED strip can be powered from one driver and controller, cutting costs and keeping the installation simple. For example, when planning a rectangle installation in a ceiling or around a wall, we would recommend putting a supply cable in opposite diagonal corners (bottom left and top right or whichever suits).

This way you would connect 2 LED strip lights to each supply cable creating an ‘L’ shape. These would all be controlled together, giving the idea that it is one single piece of LED strip lighting the area. The number 1 issue we usually face from customers is bending the LED strip around corners. Although this can be done using soldered connections or ‘clip-on’, this should be a last resort. The ‘clip-on’ connectors will not fit inside the Aluminium Profiles so this can be an issue.


How to Install LED Strip Lights?

All our LED lights come with a self-adhesive 3M backing. Simply peel off the protective paper coating and stick the LEDs to the required surface. Preparation is key here, ensuring the surface is clean and dust-free will help the LED lights securely to the surface properly.

Heatsink is no longer an issue thanks to our revised PCB’s (printed circuit boards) where the LEDs are mounted. The only consideration to make is if the surface may in time, dry the glue on the sticky tape. Surfaces such as timber and plasterboard would benefit from either our Aluminium Foil Tape or Aluminium LED Profile to ensure the LED lights stay securely fastened. 

How to Correctly Setup Your Cabling for LED Strip Lights?

Another issue we come across too often is the cabling used for LED strips. We often have customers enquiring about using RGB or RGBW LED tape lights in their homes when they are partway through building works.

They may have a mains cable run to various locations wanting to connect different lengths of LED tape to each location. This can be done but is far from the best and most cost-effective way of doing the installation. Mains cabling typically has 3 channels- brown, blue, green/yellow.

RGB and RGBW LED lights use 4 and 5 channels respectively. This would mean that each location would need a driver (steps down the power from 240v to 12v/24v) and some form of control (usually a wireless receiver).

If only installing small amounts of LED strip in each location, this will be much more expensive. Using careful planning, we can control and power 10-15m of LED strip from one driver and controller, depending on the LED strip required.

Cutting LED Lights Cables

Choosing the correct cable for your installation: 

Below are the different cables required for each of our LED strips-

  • Single colour (red, blue, green, pink, orange)- 2 cores.
  • White- 2 cores
  • Adjustable White (cct)- 3 cores
  • RGB- 4 cores
  • RGBW- 5 cores

Using a cable that is .75mm per channel is fine for most installations. As a general rule, you have 10m of low-voltage cabling to use before thinking of using a larger-diameter cable. We do not recommend using CAT6 cabling for LED strip lighting.

Wiring simple circuits of LED Strip Lighting

Single-colour LED strip installations (as above) are relatively straightforward to wire. Simply connect each LED strip light with a driver using the cables on the end of each strip. Multiple LED strip lights can be added to one driver up to its maximum power capacity.

Larger installations involving dimmers or colour controllers take a bit of thought, we specialise in advising and planning all types of LED strip light installations with a wealth of experience.

Need help planning an installation? We help many of our customers plan LED strip light installations ensuring the simplest most efficient and robust installation possible. Call or email us today to start planning your own installation!

Many of our customers email a professional or hand-sketched plan which can be useful (but isn’t compulsory). If you email a plan we’ll use it as a guide when designing the LED strip installation.

home floor plan used for planning led light strip installation

Choosing the right LED Strips

Which LED Strip Light is right for your installation?

1.) Choose your Colour: First, decide on the colour of light: there are different shades of white, or you could choose red, green, blue, orange, adjustable colour (RGB) or adjustable colour plus white (RGBW)

2.) Choose Brightness Levels: Next, decide on the brightness. Five watts per metre of LED strip is good for accent/background lighting, 14 Watts/m is ideal for primary or task lighting.

3.) Pick a Power Supply: Our LED strip lights run on 12V or 24V DC, so they require a suitable LED Driver to power them.

4.) Dimmer Capabilities (Optional): To dim single-colour or white strip lights you’ll need a dimmable power supply or a 12V dimmer. See our Dimming section.

5.) Colour Controls: RGB and RGBW strip lights need a LED Colour Controller to select different colours/effects.

Our Flexible LED strip lights have a 3M self-adhesive backing and are waterproof, so they are easy to install in a variety of places. For an even more professional look, install LED Strip inside one of our Aluminium Profiles.

How many LED Strips do I need for a room?

It can be difficult to estimate how many LED strips are required for a room when using them for the first time. LED Strips are available in different brightnesses and colours.

First, decide on the exact locations of the LED strips, and measure the length of each LED strip required. Then decide on the colour and brightness of the LED strip required, based on the light output (lumens) per metre stated by the manufacturer.

Multiple Types of LED Strip Lights

How do you connect two LED Strip lights to one power source?

There are two ways of connecting two LED Strips to one power source:

  • Connecting two LED Strips in Parallel. Both LED strips are connected directly to the power source by wire, the wire can be shared or not by the two LED Strips.
  • The second (inferior) option is to connect them in series. This involves connecting the second LED strip to the end of the first LED strip, either directly or by wire. The first LED strip connects directly with the power source, the second LED strip is powered via the first, resulting in a voltage drop.

Wiring diagram series vs parallel

Interested in finding the right LED lights for you? See our full range of LED lights here.

LED Driver Calculator

By LED Lighthouse

Try our LED Driver calculator to work out the size of the LED power supply required for your LED installation.

More Resources

By LED Lighthouse

Below are a few useful guides to helping you choose the right LED lighting for you project. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

About LED Lighthouse

Specialist supplier of quality LED lighting

Established in 2011, we are dedicated to supplying quality LED lighting at an affordable price. We offer LED Lights and components from some of the best manufacturers including Integral, Samsung, Epistar, Meanwell and Ltech.
Due to customer demand, in recent years we've grown to specialise in LED Strip Lights and associated parts, developing many of our own products.