Author Topic: LED tape/strip lights  (Read 800 times)

LED tape/strip lights
« on: June 03, 2020, 10:25:29 pm »
People here know nearly everything. Does anyone know about these USB-powered decorative tape lights, which seem to be fashionable? My son is trying to install some. Essentially, he needs to use connectors which are obviously designed for very thin tapes, the thickness of a piece of paper. But the tape lights are cased in clear plastic. They look as though a different connector could be designed to pierce the casing, but the video he has seen suggests cutting it back.

We think he has waterproof tape, but connectors designed for regular. I'm out of my waterproof depth ;) Finding a good supplier would help. The aim is to get connectors to do sharp corners, and to daisy-chain some strips to avoid a long cable run to power the second one.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: LED tape/strip lights
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2020, 10:48:45 pm »
My experience of LED strips (which is mostly various flavours of individually-addressable RGB kind) is that they're made of flatflex PCB material, and you join them or connect wires to them by soldering, preferably before the end caps are attached to the silicone sheath in the case of waterproof ones.

Not sure how the single-colour lighting ones work.  There must be some way for electricians to join them easily in the field?  They seem to be all the rage for under-cupboard lighting and similar.

(If it's a long run, beware of voltage drop if fed from one end.  Though with plain LEDs it'll just be a bit dimmer at the far end rather than glitching like the digital ones tend to do if the supply drops out.)
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Re: LED tape/strip lights
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2020, 11:05:34 pm »
I usually use the 12V versions, presumably the USB ones have smaller value resistors.

The single colour ones have a supply and 0V and can be cut at 3 LED intervals, and, if waterproof, the clear coating can be stripped off and new leads soldered.

The variable colour ones have RGB and 0V, and are usually connected with pins and sockets. If you look on ebay for LED strip connectors, you should be able to understand the possibilities.
If it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is...

Re: LED tape/strip lights
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2020, 11:06:34 pm »
As far as I can tell, he's got this stuff. The connectors are like this. The strip should slide in and then you bring down a clamp. But the connectors are meant for thin tape and the waterproof one won't fit. He's not yet found an angled connector like that which takes waterproof tape.

Not that he needed waterproof, but he's spent a bit on it now.

Re: LED tape/strip lights
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2020, 11:08:51 pm »
... if waterproof, the clear coating can be stripped off and new leads soldered.
The stripping off is what he saw on a video. But it's difficult in practice and leaves a sticky tape that won't slide into the connector. We spent ages doing a trial one. I finally managed it by bending the connector open (both the electrical connectors and the sides of the channel). That's not very repeatable, at least not reliably.

Re: LED tape/strip lights
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2020, 11:25:32 pm »
I use a Swann Morton bladed craft knife to strip the soft plastic off. It isn't the easiest thing to do.
If it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is...

Re: LED tape/strip lights
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2020, 11:33:32 pm »
I've just watched a video - the connectors for waterproof LED strips have spikes that pierce the tape from below.
If it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is...

Valiant

  • aka Sam
    • Radiance Audio
Re: LED tape/strip lights
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2020, 01:16:45 am »
You can get specialised connectors for coated waterproof tapes. If I don't need the waterproofness, I blade it off and solder.
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Re: LED tape/strip lights
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2020, 07:19:02 am »
He ought to be able to score the waterproof gel with a knife and peel it off where he needs to put the connector.

Re: LED tape/strip lights
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2020, 08:11:32 am »
My riding partner has just used this stuff to light his drinks cabinet (I think he wants to be Otter from Animal House).  He borrowed my soldering kit and a load of lighting cable from which he was going to strip the conductors.
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Re: LED tape/strip lights
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2020, 08:45:47 am »
I've just watched a video - the connectors for waterproof LED strips have spikes that pierce the tape from below.
Thanks all. That's what we thought, but we can't track down a supplier of those connectors, especially not ones that allow right-angles in the strip layout.

I think he's giving up and ordering new, non-waterproof, strips, but we'll still have the old ones to use. We could solder, although my soldering skills have never been good. I know the basics, just do it far too seldom to have got a good knack. And the connectors he bought aren't soldered anyway.

Advice appreciated. Unless someone can find that supplier, we'll see how it works out!