When the sun goes down, the world is plunged into darkness. But there is a solution, and many have come to rely on it.
Instead of buying expensive light-emitting diodes (LED) strip lights which are expensive and costly, the people on the other side of the fence have opted for something much cheaper but with a lot more bang for the buck; led light strips.
You always get asked if you can cut light strips when you show your home to a friend or stranger. And while it can be quite an easy task, it’s not necessarily something that a beginner can do.
So you’ve got a new strip and want to use it with your led project, but you don’t know how to cut the strip.
You’ve got a few options: buy a strip cutter and cut the strip yourself, or buy a pre-cut strip and hack it to work with your lighting, or buy a strip cutter and hack it yourself.
Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, and which option you choose depends on what you want to do.
What is a led light strip?
The strip comes in both widths and lengths. The length includes the connector at the end, while the width includes everything from the connector to the end of the strip.
The longer the strip, the more lights you can run on it, but the thicker it is. The thinner the strip, the more you can run per inch of strip, but the less light you can run, which can be a good thing or a bad thing.
LED strips are strips of lights that you can put in your home. They usually have a power source that makes them glow from the bottom.
They are commonly used in outdoor Christmas decorations and sometimes for musical performances. The strips are available in many colors and sizes and can be connected together to create any shape or shape you want.
How to cut LED strip lights?
Step 1. Measure the length.
The first step to cutting a LED strip is measuring it. I had to make sure I allowed enough room to get a clean cut every time.
For my strip I used a piece of white paper (trust me, you’ll want to mark it first).
I put a line down the center of the paper and measured the length of the strip. I then marked the length on the strip at both ends.
Finding the right length for your led light strip can be tricky, especially if you are buying online. Fortunately, you can use a simple rule of thumb when measuring your strips.
Step 2. Look for the scissors logo on the light strip.
If you have purchased a new led light strip, you may have noticed the trademark logo on the strip. This is a warning that the strip is not meant to be cut.
To remove a small piece of the strip, hold it firmly between your fingers and insert the blade of the scissors between the strip and the plastic backing. Carefully insert the scissors into the strip in the direction of the cuts, and you will cut a small piece of the strip.
Continue to cut until the rest of the strip is removed. The key is to cut the strip in the direction the cuts should be made.
To find the scissors logo on the light strip you have to look for the small white and black square sticker with scissors on it and then you cut the light strip around.
Step 3. Pull out black plastic.
In this step, you will pull out the black plastic from the end of the strip, and discard it. (Note: if you did it wrong, the strip won’t work anymore, so be sure you pull out the black plastic correctly).
The only time the light strips are a problem is if you are cutting short strips of the same length. If you do you can lose half the strips and still maintain light consistency.
This is where a small saw will come in handy. After you cut the strip you will need to pull out the black plastic that was sticking out of the strip which is about 1cm in length.
Step 4. Insert strip light into quick connector.
Now, it’s time to insert the strip light into the quick connector. Make sure you plug one extremity of the wire into the connector, and the other into the strip light.
Step 5. Secure quick connector.
Congratulations on getting to this step! Now to secure the quick connector. You will need a pair of small pliers to do this.
You will see the strip has a male pin on one end, and a female pin on the other end. The male pin is the positive pin, and the female pin is the negative pin.
If you’ve cut your led strip to length and measured it, it’s time to add an end cap. The end cap is pretty much just a strip of clear plastic that you’ll screw onto the end of your strip.
It’ll cover up all the exposed wires, and prevent the strip from shorting out or from damaging the end of your strip.
LED Strip wattage and powering
LED strip wattage is a common question in the DIY community. Powering a strip is a skill that many DIYers and resellers have yet to master.
For example, would you use a single power supply to drive a 1m strip, or a set of three power supplies? On what power setting would you choose?
What about a 100m strip? And if you have to do it, what would you need to take into account? There are a couple of ways to power a strip. The most common are methods such as a wall plug and battery.
However, both these methods have their drawbacks. Wall plugs tend to be expensive and the batteries are heavy, so they’re not ideal for the purpose.
If you prefer to use batteries, you’ll need to make sure you’re using something like a 4S or 5S LiPoly battery that can handle the amount of load.