What do you need for an LED strip light?
You want to buy an LED strip light, but have no idea what else you need. We explain it for you below.
An LED strip light obviously needs power, otherwise it will not light up. However, an LED strip light does not operate on alternating current of 230 volts, but on direct current of usually 12 or 24 volts. You therefore need a power supply to turn the alternating current coming from your wall socket into direct current for the LED strip light. A power supply is also called a transformer or LED driver.
There are, of course, many different power supplies. When choosing a power supply, there are a few things you should pay attention to.
Firstly, the output voltage of the power supply must be equal to the voltage the LED strip light works on. This is because if the voltage is too low, the LED strip light will light up either not at all or too dimly, but if the voltage is too high, the LED strip light will probably break down. Of course, you do not want that.
Secondly, the power supply needs to be able to supply enough current or power for your LED strip light. Suppose you have an LED strip light that uses 9.6 watts per metre and you want to use 2 metres of that, you will therefore need a power supply that can deliver at least 2 * 9.6 = 19.2 watts. However, it is recommended to choose a power supply that can deliver 10% more power than required.
Finally, the power supply must be suitable for your use. For example, if you want to use the LED power supply outdoors, the power supply must of course be waterproof. If you simply want to connect the LED strip light to a wall outlet, you will need a power supply adapter with a plug.
If you want to be able to dim your LED strip light or set its colour (temperature), you will also need an LED controller. There are also many different types of LED controllers, so there are a number of things to look out for.
Firstly, the LED controller must be suitable for your LED strip light. For example, for an RGB LED strip light, you will need an RGB LED controller, and for a single-colour LED strip light, you will need a single-colour LED controller. Also, the LED controller must be able to operate on the voltage of your LED strip light and be suitable for the amount of current.
Secondly, the LED controller must be controllable in the right way. For example, there are LED controllers that work using 2.4 Ghz RF, which go with a remote control with which you can operate it. There are also LED controllers that work using Zigbee, which you can pair with for example Philips Hue to control the LED strip light with your smartphone.
If you have a single-colour LED strip light and want to be able to dim it with a normal dimmer, it is also possible to use a triac-dimmable power supply or a 0-to-10-volt dimmable power supply instead of an LED controller.
We recommend always mounting an LED strip light in an LED profile. An LED profile is an aluminium profile suitable to mount an LED strip light in. An LED profile ensures that the LED strip light is better cooled, which increases the lifespan of your LED strip light.
There are surface mount, recessed and corner profiles. Surface mounted profiles are most commonly used. Surface mounted profiles come with clamps that you can screw onto something, after which you can easily click the LED profile into the clamps. Recessed profiles are meant to be built in and are therefore delivered without clamps. Corner profiles are profiles mounted at a 45-degree angle.
You can slide a cover into the LED profiles. There are various types of covers. You can choose a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or a polycarbonate (PC) cover. A PC cover is slightly more expensive, while a PVC cover discolours after a while due to sunlight.
You can also choose between a transparent or a milky-white cover, for example. A transparent cover lets a little more light through. A milk-white cover diffuses the light, making it more even.