Written by Marty Lemke | A Leader in LED Technology


Strip lights have become increasingly popular due to their versatility, energy efficiency, and aesthetic appeal. They are used in various settings, from residential to commercial spaces, to create dynamic lighting effects. To ensure optimal performance and longevity of your strip lights, it is important to use the correct accessories for effective installation and enhanced functionality. This article will guide you through vital mounting options and accessories, including adhesive backings, aluminum channels and channel accessories, power supplies, controllers, waterproofing accessories, and strip light connectors.


Mounting Accessories

Adhesive Backings
Adhesive backings, typically double-sided 3M tape, are found on the back of non-waterproof and water-resistant strip lights. They perform best on clean, dry, smooth surfaces. The main advantage of adhesive backings is quick and easy installation. The drawback is that the surface must be clean and smooth for proper adhesion as the adhesive can easily collect dust and dirt, potentially rendering it ineffective.


Tips for Ensuring a Secure and Long-Lasting Bond:

  • Before installation, prepare the surface thoroughly, ensuring it is completely clean and dry.
  • Peel the cover paper back slowly; there should be no resistance. Resistance indicates that you may be removing the adhesive along with the cover paper.
  • Peel the paper backing off as you go, working in sections as you install the strip lights, rather than removing it all at once.

Aluminum Channels
Aluminum channels offer a professional and aesthetically pleasing, finished look to your strip light installation. They protect strip lights from dust and splatters and can also act as a heat sink, drawing heat away from the strip. This ensures that the strip lights run cooler and operate optimally. Aluminum channels are available with frosted or clear lenses. Frosted lenses diffuse the dots on strip lights but may slightly affect the CRI (Color Rendering Index) of the light.


Types of Channels:


Mounting Clips and End Caps
Mounting clips, also known as brackets, are used for securing aluminum channels. End caps are used to close off the end of the channel, providing added protection and a finished look. It is recommended to use two or three mounting clips for each 6.5-foot length of channel.


Power Supplies

Power supplies are essential components for powering LED strip lights, and they come in two main types: dimmable and non-dimmable.


Choosing the Right Power Supply Based on Strip Light Specifications:
When do you need a power supply for your strip lights? Strip lights operate on low voltage DC power. If you're already running low voltage DC power (such as in an RV, boat, car, or any application using a battery at 12 volts DC or 24 volts DC), you don't need an additional power supply. However, if you need to convert household line voltage (120 VAC) to a suitable voltage for the strip lights, a power supply is necessary.
Never connect low voltage (DC) strip lights directly to high/line voltage (120 VAC).


Types of Power Supplies

  1. Power Supplies with Plug-in Adapters: Convenient for quick and easy installations.
  2. Hardwired Power Supplies: Great for permanent installations.

Dimmable vs. Non-Dimmable Power Supplies

  1. Dimmable Power Supplies: Allow you to dim the strip lights using an AC dimmer.
  2. Non-Dimmable Power Supplies: Work with DC controls like our Z-Series Radio Frequency Channel Pairing Controller, our Casambi Bluetooth Controller, or Digital Multiplex (DMX) systems.

Controls

Controls can manage various tasks in a lighting system such as color-tuning, dimming, and switching your lights on and off. There are several types of controls, including in-wall dimmer switches, multi-zone wall controllers, handheld remote controls, app-based controls, and Digital Multiplex (DMX) systems. Each type has specific features and ideal applications. From basic brightness adjustments to advanced color and zone management, allowing you to find the perfect solution for your lighting needs.


Dimmer Switches
Dimming strip lights allows you to create different moods and atmospheres, save energy, and extend the lifespan of your lights. Dimmers switches are only compatible with single-color LED strip lights.


Controllers
Controllers provide varying levels of control over the colors and patterns displayed. They are necessary for color-changing or variable white LED strip lights and are also compatible with single color strips. Choosing the right controller depends on the desired level of control, from simple on/off functions to intricate color and zone management. Wall controllers and handheld remote controls provide greater flexibility using radio frequency technology, while app-based controls offer the convenience of managing your lighting from your mobile device. For more complex, professional-grade lighting setups, Digital Multiplex (DMX) systems are ideal.


How to control you strip lights controller option table

Voltage Options:

  • Low Power Side (DC): DC is the “native language” of LED lighting. It is the preferred power source for your LED light strips. All our controllers work off DC power.
  • High Power Side (120 VAC): 120 VAC, or line voltage, is used for traditional lighting and is more familiar to most individuals.
  • Selecting the appropriate dimmer and control option involves balancing personal preference along with your specific lighting needs.

Waterproofing Accessories
When your installation is a location where the strips may encounter moisture, waterproofing your strip lights with the appropriate accessories is critical for ensuring the safety and longevity of your system. Since electricity and water are a dangerous combination, it is essential to keep water out of your system. Waterproof accessories such as end caps and RTV silicone help achieve this protection.


Mounting Accessories

Strip light connectors are used to create electrical connections within a strip light system, reducing or eliminating the need for soldering. These connectors were designed to make the installation of strip lights more efficient and straightforward. Common uses for strip light connectors include joining multiple lengths of strip, navigating corners, adding wire leads, and bridging gaps or obstructions. Selecting the correct connector that matches the strip light, accessory specifications, and installation requirements, is crucial.


Types of Strip Light Connectors:
Pigtail Connector
Solderless Pigtail Bite Connector
Jumper Connector
Solderless Jumper Bite Connector
Splice Connector
Solderless Splice Connector

Final Tips For Choosing Accessories

Using the right accessories is essential for mounting and enhancing your strip lights, ensuring optimal performance, safety, and longevity. Adhesive backings, aluminum channels and channel accessories, power supplies, controllers, waterproofing accessories, and connectors all play crucial roles in the effective installation and functionality of your lighting system. Identify your needs by considering the specific requirements of your project, such as the environment (indoor or outdoor, dry or damp), desired lighting effects, and control options. Ensure that all accessories are compatible with your strip lights and the required power supply. Investing in high-quality accessories will help avoid frequent replacements and ensure a secure, professional installation. Prepare surfaces thoroughly and plan the layout before starting the installation. Follow a methodical approach to ensure each component is correctly and securely installed. When in doubt, seek advice from lighting professionals to achieve the best outcomes.