How to Connect LED Strip Lights?

How can one and more rolls of LED strip lights be used to create a bright or colorful atmosphere for your home?

Whether you are installing the strip under a cabinet, on a ceiling, or elsewhere, you must need to know how to connect LED strips to make them work well.

1. How to Connect LED Strip Lights Together?

There are two ways to connect LED strip lights together, soldering or using LED strip light connectors. Which one is more suitable for you? You can accord to their advantages and disadvantages to choosing.

1.1 How to connect led strip lights without led connectors?

Soldering is a more stable way than using led light connectors. The led strip performance is almost the same before and after soldering and it almost has no influence on operating LED strip lights. But it requires you have soldering tools and certain soldering skills.

How to solder wires to led strips? 5 steps to soldering led strip lights:

Step 1. Keep the tip of the soldering iron clean.

Rub a few times on the sponge that is full of water. It is not only to temporarily cool down the temperature, but also to rub off the excess tin on the tip of the soldering iron. Be careful not to burn your hands.

Step 2. Hold the wire in your left hand and the soldering iron in your right hand.

During soldering, remember to wear gloves. Don’t breathe in the smell which is harmful to health.

Step 3. Lightly touch the tinned part of the wire to the solder joint of the LED strip.

Tap lightly with the soldering iron, and pay attention to the tip of the soldering iron touching the two objects at the same time.

Step 4. Stay for a few seconds and leave at an angle of 45°.

Step 5. After sticking firmly, connect the power supply to see if the strip light can light up.

Precautions for soldering led strip lights:
1. The solder wire contains a certain amount of heavy metal lead, which is harmful. Wear gloves during operation or wash hands after the operation.
2. Do not touch the tip of the soldering iron with wires and other sundries to avoid burns or leakage.
3. Be careful not to solder on a metal pad, as the temperature of the soldering will not rise due to the better heat dissipation effect.

1.2 How to connect led strips without soldering?

Using LED strip light connectors is very easy. Slide the open end of the LED strip light into the fast connector and close it to lock it in. Although the operation is convenient, there are still areas to be aware of. If the power of the LED strip light is too high, it will burn the solderless led connectors. And sometimes it has poor contact.

L shape LED strip light connectors are suitable for corners, that need to change direction. – shape connectors are suitable for straight direction or over obstacles. And there are T shape and + shape connectors, meeting your different installation demands.

In addition to the strip-to-strip connector, there are also wire-to-board connectors used to connect led strip lights to other wire interfaces, like the led controller and led power supply. Choose the best LED strip light connector for your LED project.

1.3 Which one is better between soldering and led connectors?

SolderingLED connectors
• Require soldering technology and knowledge
• Need soldering equipment
• The connection is more stable and reliable
• Not easy to loosen and fall off
• Long duration
• Simple and convenient operation
• Easy to install and remove
• Affected by the power of led strip light
• May be loose or poor contact

2. How Many LED Strip Lights Can You Connect?

While connecting multiple LED strip lights, the first thing we should pay attention to is the maximum number of connections. In general, the number is determined by the led power supply. The total power of the led strips cannot exceed the power supply.

And the led power supply is preferably 1.2 times the total led strip power. It is the rule of 80% to calculate the power you need. It can improve the service life of the led driver and avoid burning to result in a short circuit.

If you want to connect a 20-meter RGB color-changing LED strip light, typically an LED strip light is 5 meters a roll, and it means that you have to connect 4 LED strip lights. If the total power of four LED strip lights is 200W, the power of the power supply and the controller need to be 240W (200*1.2).

Connect led light strip to power supply easily. But what if there are multiple LED strip lights? First, consider the two questions below. 

2.1 Is there a voltage drop?

When you connect LED strip lights in series, you will find that the LED brightness and color get darker as the length becomes longer with one power supply, because LED strip lights have a voltage drop. To make sure the brightness of the LED strip light is the same, you can add another power supply in the end or connect an LED amplifier. An amplifier is placed between two LED strip lights, and it should be connected to a separate power supply.

2.2 Do I need an LED signal amplifier?

Color-changing LED lights can be changed with a LED light controller. But the controller has a certain power, and it cannot bring unlimited LED strip lights. It needs an amplifier to amplify the signal of the controller, and then give the led strip signal, so that a whole LED strip light can work normally. If you don’t add an led amplifier, the led strip lighting will be very dim until it doesn’t light up.

3. How to Connect Multiple LED Strip Lights?

3.1 Traditional wiring method – Use Signal Amplifier

The function of the led amplifier is to amplify the signal that is weakened due to long-distance running so that the LED brightness and color of all the led strip lights look the same.

The led amplifiers need to be powered separately. You can also share a power supply with the led light controller, but pay attention to the power problem. The total power used by the power supply becomes larger because you need to power the amplifiers, then you need a more powerful power supply to run.

But the use of led light amplifiers has a disadvantage, that is, it is not suitable for super long projects. If the distance is too long, the signal transmission will be delayed. You may have to wait a few seconds to light up the led strip lighting at the end.

3.2 Emerging wiring method – RF Wireless Control

Use the radio frequency led controller to connect the RGB color-changing LED strip lights. The power supply connects to the controller, and the controller controls multiple led strips. And connect four groups in this way. Each group can be controlled individually.

The advantages of RF controller are that the wiring is simple and not so complicated, and multiple led controllers realize automatic synchronization, which can be controlled by mobile phone app, RF remote control, touch wall panel, and intelligent voice control.

Note that the maximum distance between each RF controller is only 30 meters. Be careful not to exceed the maximum distance when connecting.

More led strip wiring knowledge:

How to wire single color led strip lights?

How to wire tunable white/CCT led strip lights?

How to wire RGB color changing led strip lights?

How to wire RGBW led strips?

How to wire RGBCCT led strip lights?

How to wire addressable led strips?