A light-emitting diode, LED, is a semiconductor device that converts electricity into light. They were first used in the 1960s, but continue to increase in popularity. Each diode operates at about a tenth of a watt. Installation of LED strip lights provides inexpensive, recessed lighting in hallways, stairways and under cupboards and counters. LED strip lights make excellent night lights and outdoor landscape lighting. They last considerably longer than incandescent lighting and don't burn out, but gradually decrease in light output. They are resistant to thermal and vibrational shocks and are available in a waterproof variety.
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Things you need
- LED strips
- Tape measure
- Switch power supply whip
- Soldering gun
- Silicone sealant spray
- Clear acrylic spray
Measure the intended area for LED lighting in order to determine the number of LED strips necessary for the project.
Check the load on the power supply in watts and milliamps per strip according to the LED manufacturer's package information and verify the strip can be used with your power source.
Temporarily fit the strips at the project site to determine the exact lengths needed, cutting the strips to make a proper fit. Lines are marked on the strip indicating where cuts can be made safely.
Solder the power connector wires between LED strips, using a soldering gun, following the manufacturer's instructions. Verify the positive and negative polarity of all connections.
Attach the LED strips to the project surface, using the mounting holes on the strips. Some strips come with brackets and screws for mounting.
Connect the LED strip to a switch power supply whip and then plug the other end of the whip into the 120V power outlet.
Put silicon sealant on any cut LED ends to prevent corrosion. Allow the sealant to dry four to six hours.
Spray a clear acrylic coating over the LED strips to seal electrical pads and connections, while also helping to prevent damage from moisture and corrosion. Let the coating dry thoroughly overnight.
Tips and warnings
- Adhesive may also be used to secure the LED lights to the project surface. Only apply the adhesive to clean surfaces to establish a strong bond.
- The input of the strip is typically DC12 OR DC24V but the output from your electrical usage power is AC 120V, so you need a switch power supply or switch driver to change AC power to DC power. Switch power supplies are available at electrical supply stores, home improvement centres and online.
- For those who are energy conscious, LEDs can last for over 50,000 hours of useful time, resulting in three times longer use than fluorescent lights and thirty times longer than standard incandescent bulbs.
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