An LED strip consists of a self-adhesive tape and substrate on to which LEDs are placed at regular intervals. Once installed and power applied, the whole length of the strip is illuminated producing a forward light. LED strips make a great addition to any domestic or commercial environment. They are inexpensive and easy to install and can change the mood and look of a space instantly.
The options are endless; the appropriate LED strip can be installed indoors or out for ambient, coloured or task light in almost any area. The different levels of brightness and colour types available make LED strips very versatile. Typical uses include:
- Above and under kitchen/bathroom cabinets
- In kick-panels and skirting
- In ceiling coving, as wall washers and around bar areas
- In cupboards, display cases and bar counters
- Around doorways, windows, stairs and in floors
- Under roof soffits
- In gardens, pathways/driveways and signage
- Lighting for Christmas or other special occasions
- On the rear of TVs and speaker systems
LED STRIP BASICS
- Integral LED low voltage strips are rated at 12V and require a constant-voltage driver (a type of transformer to convert mains voltage to 12V)
- Integral LED strips are supplied in reels of 5 metres. The LED strip can be cut to length but only at special cut points marked on the strip. For example in a kitchen with two runs of 2.5M, you would cut the 5M strip in half (at the cut-point), apply the strip and power each strip with an appropriate driver or power both from the same driver. The strip could also be cut into a number of variations e.g. 4 metre only, 5 X 1 metres, a 3 and 2 metre strip
- More than one strip can be powered from a single driver (The total wattage of the strips must be below 90% of the wattage rating of the driver)
- Integral LED strips can be dimmed with the appropriate driver and compatible dimmer switch
LED STRIPS - WHAT YOU NEED TO CONSIDER
- Where will the strip be placed and will it be used for task lighting, ambient or accent light?
- LED strips should be installed on a sound, clean and dry surface
- Different types of light output are produced by varying the size, number and colour of LEDs on a strip
- The use of Integral LED strips internally or externally in dry, splash or wet areas is determine by the IP rating of the strip (e.g. standard (IP33) or with a silicone coating (IP67))
- Will you need to conceal (if required) the strip, driver and wires
- How will the strip be switched ON an OFF? Will it be part of your lighting circuit or on a separate switch?
- The final lighting effect will depend on a number of factors including; Size of LEDs, number of LEDs per metre, the angle and position of the strip, the colour texture, distance and reflectiveness of surfaces and the distance of the observer from the strip
- You can evaluate an LED strip by temporarily installing it with a removable tape such as masking tape, and then safely powering it to view the light output, pattern and angle, before finally fixing the strip
- Integral LED Strips are made and tested to high standards to ensure that the strip delivers consistent colour and light pattern quality across the strip
- LED strips should be installed by a qualified electrician
IP RATING AND OPERATING TEMPERATURE
IP rating stands for “Ingress Protection”. This rating determines how waterproof and dust / small object proof a strip is. Integral offer strips rated to IP33 and IP67:
- IP33 - Not waterproof. This is standard strip. Use for dry and dust free areas such as celling coves, display cabinets, wall washers, bedroom and living rooms (Indoor only)
- IP67 - Water resistant - This strip is protected with a silicone gel against temporary immersion in water between 0.15 and 1M. Ideal for Indoor and outdoor use. Typical interior uses are in bathroom or kitchens, under cabinets, near showers, sinks, or other splash areas. Typical outdoor use on pathways or walls for decorative purposes. In addition to the self-adhesive tape; Integral LED IP67 strips are supplied with mounting clips to secure the strip. IP67 strips should NOT be continuously immersed in water.
Integral LED strips have a typical operating temperature range of -25C to +60C.
SIZE OF LED
The actual size of the LEDs on a strip affects its light output (lumen output) and light pattern. Integral LED strips are available with two sizes of LED:
- 35:28 – 3.5mm X 2.8mm LED - Subtle light - Ideal for most domestic situations for task or ambient lighting where observers are close e.g. ceiling coves, under-cabinets, on stairs and around windows
- 50:50 – 5.0mm X 5. LED - Bright light - 40% larger than 35:28 LEDs with a higher light output – Ideal for commercial or domestic use where the observer may be further away – e.g. high ceilings, used as a wall washer, outdoor lighting, ambient lighting for larger areas
As LED technology accelerates - in the future each LED size will produce more light.
NUMBER OF LEDs PER METRE
The number of LEDs per metre affects the brightness (lumens) and light pattern of a strip. Integral LED strips are available in three variations:
- 30 LEDs/m - kitchen kick plates, Low ceiling cove
- 60 LEDs/m - task lighting, under kitchen cabinets, bar tops, steps/staircase edging, doorway frames.
- 120 LEDs/m - high ceiling coves, exterior edge lighting, path ways, signage
LED cut marks are normally 3 LEDs apart. The distance between cut marks will depend on the number of LEDs per metre. (see image)
COLOUR OF LEDS
The colour of an LED strip will set the mood or add drama to your space.
- Warm White - Traditional yellow colour - ideal for living rooms, bedrooms and hallways
- Cool White - White with a blue tone colour - ideal for kitchens and bathrooms – task lighting
- Red, Green or Blue - Stunning bold colours to add great effects to your space - and to make playrooms, clubs, bars and restaurants more exciting.
- RGB and RGBW - Red, Green and Blue LEDs that are mixed by using a remote control to produce a wide range of colours. RGB and White chips are in more advanced models, providing even more colour options and more accurate white tones.
CHOOSING A POWER SUPPLY DRIVER
For 12V LED strips
- Integral 12V LED strip operate with a 12V DC constant-voltage power supply known as a driver. Drivers are sold separately and are available in varying wattage outputs
- The specification of the driver required will depend on the total power requirement of the connected strip(s). The power output of the driver (wattage rating) must be at least 10% higher than the total required wattage of the strip(s) being powered
- For example, if you are installing 5 LED strips of 1M each and the power requirement of each 1M strip is 3W/metre – the total power requirement is 15W. The power rating of the driver should be a least 10% above 15W, i.e. a minimum of 17W