Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)Below we have listed the most common questions we receive on the subject of LED installation. If your question is not included or the answer is not satisfactory for you, just contact us.
Furthermore, we have created very many topics and questions in our blog very clearly and with example pictures. Often you will find the right answer here quickly and directly.
LED strips in general
Can I buy LED strips by the meter?
Usually LED strips are traded on 5m rolls. In the store, we offer the sale by meter for some, selected LED strips. In principle, we can sell all IP20 LED strips (those without silicone protection) by the meter. However, we may have to charge a surcharge for small quantities. LED strips with higher IP protection (with silicone cover) are generally only sold as a complete 5-meter roll, because we can no longer use the remaining pieces economically.
Are all LED strips dimmable?
Yes! With the appropriate drivers, all our LED strips can be dimmed from 0 - 100% brightness. So also to 0 = off.
What is the lifespan of the LED strips?
You will not find any information about the lifespan (or more precisely "nominal lifespan") of LED strips, as we consider this information to be unreliable.
- With a statement like "Lifetime: 50.000h" the customer usually expects that after 50.000h all LEDs still shine with an acceptable brightness. In reality, however, this information means (if nothing else is written): After 50.000h half of the LEDs still shine with min. 70% brightness. The other half shines darker or has failed completely! This is the so-called "L70/B50" standard specification" for LED lifetime. Mostly, the addition "L70/B50" is simply omitted from the service life specification. Many customers would not be able to classify it anyway. So what is the point of a statement like "Lifetime: 50,000h" anyway? Nothing for you personally! But it does mean higher sales for the dealers.
- Unlike ready-made LED luminaires, the service life of LED components (such as LED strips) depends to a large extent on how they are installed. If an LED strip is only glued to wood, plasterboard, plastic, etc., for example, the service life is massively shortened! LED tapes should always be glued to metal (preferably an anodized aluminum profile) so that the LEDs can dissipate their heat loss. Other influencing factors are the power supply and of course the ambient temperature.
However, one can state: If high-quality LED strips are mounted on a good aluminum profile and operated with high-quality power supplies & drivers, very high lifetime values are realistic in a normal environment (<30°C) 20,000h and more with continued very high brightness are typical in our experience (20,000h results in almost 7 years with a daily operating time of 8 hours). This makes the LED many times more durable than all other lighting technologies. However, 50,000h, for example, is a pure marketing value that should not be used by serious dealers.
Installation of LED strips
How to lead or connect LED strips around the corner?
LED strips should never be bent! If a large radius is given, you can carefully guide them in a bend around the corner. However, it is much better and more durable to simply cut the LED strips before and after the corner, and then make the corner connection with a short piece of cable soldered to it.
Are there quick connectors or plugs for the LED strips?
These are a dime a dozen and they are all highly unreliable. We have therefore discontinued anything of the sort and recommend soldering only.
Why are the connectors so unreliable? The typical systems there work with small, mechanical spring clips or pins that try to press on the solder contacts of the LED strips. This sometimes works better, sometimes worse. If there was solder on the solder pad before, it usually does not work at all. Every 50cm all LED strips are connected via solder anyway due to production reasons. There you will not get any connectors on it. The contact area between spring terminal and solder pad is, if it exists at all, tiny. If there is only 1m DIY LED tape hanging on it, that may still work. But if 5m high quality LED tape with e.g. 20 Watt/m is connected, there are already more than 4 Ampere current on the tiny contact area. That is highly risky! Over time, the metal surfaces also like to oxidize, which hinders conductivity as well.
How difficult is it to solder the LED strips?
With pure white LED strips, there are only 2 contacts. Plus and minus. Anyone who has held a soldering iron at some point in their life should be able to do this just fine. Also Tuneable-White (CCT) LED strips are quite easy to solder with 3 contacts. RGB strips (4 contacts) and RGBW LED strips (5 contacts) become more difficult. The contacts are increasingly tight here and therefore you should already be somewhat skilled with the soldering iron. Or know someone who can help.
Can I run several LED strips in a row to form a long chain?
Over the length of a LED ribbon there are always voltage drops. With some LED strips this is so large after 5-6m that the LEDs here no longer shine with full brightness or even remain completely dark. (So-called "5m rule"). LED strips with built-in constant current sources ("CCS" or "KSQ" in german) can often be installed a little longer (8m, sometimes even more). For larger LED installations it is mandatory to realize several voltage feeds over the length of the strip. It often makes sense to simply use the corners of the room for additional voltage feeds, since the LED strip should be cut open here anyway and routed around the corner using a cable bridge. A new voltage feed can also be laid there at the same time.
Power supply for long distances: For long distances (a 10m wall, for example) you can also simply feed the voltage at the beginning and at the end. So 5m are supplied from the front and the remaining 5m from the back. A central supply, so that in one direction 5m LED tape are supplied and in the other also 5m, works of course also.
Which cables do I need for the power supply?
For simple white LED strips 2-core cables (PLUS & MINUS) are sufficient, for tuneable white (CCT) 3-core, for RGB 4-core and RGBW then 5-core. Why 5 cores for RGBW? Because the current also has to return. So besides the connections for R, G, B & W there is also a common PLUS. In the store we also have special cables for RGB and RGBW, which have an extra thick PLUS wire.
Depending on the connected power and length of the cable, a suitable cable cross-section is needed. For the cable calculation we have provided a small online tool. In general, cables can never be too thick, but only too thin. However, cable cross sections >0.75mm² are difficult to solder to LED strips. You can then either taper the thick cable at the front (cut off individual copper strands) until it is easy to solder (a viable solution for pure white LED strips) or take a short, thin cable, solder it on and then connect it to the thick cable using Lüster or WAGO terminals.
Where should LED strips be mounted and where not?
Wood, plasterboard, plastic, etc.
All non-metallic substrates are unsuitable for mounting LED strips, as they cannot absorb the dissipated heat from the LEDs, resulting in reduced LED life. Changes in brightness and color can be the result. Absorbent materials such as wood or foam types are also hardly suitable for the double-sided adhesive tapes of LED strips. The adhesive will not hold properly there.
Bare aluminum, drywall profiles and other non-anodized metals
This mounting is okay, because the heat loss of the LEDs can be absorbed here. But watch out for possible short circuits at solder connections etc.! If necessary, some TESA or another kind of insulation should be used at solder joints, so that short circuits via the conductive metal can be excluded.
Anodized aluminum / aluminum LED profiles
This type of mounting is ideal. Anodized aluminum absorbs the dissipated heat of the LEDs very well and through the anodizing you achieve a certain short circuit resistance. Not 100%, but in the crucial moment this can be very helpful! Typical aluminum LED profiles offer an additional cover (transparent or opal), which protects the LEDs from dirt and dust.
Some suppliers provide magnetic tapes for LED mounting, which can then be used e.g. on drywall profiles. These magnetic tapes are unsuitable as soon as you want to dim or control the LED tapes somehow! The high-frequency PWM used to dim LEDs can create resonances in combination with the strong magnetic tape, resulting in a clearly audible whistling of the entire LED installation. Use such magnetic tapes only if you do not want to dim the LEDs under any circumstances!