LED Strips FAQ: All you ever wanted to know about them

All Star Electric
Full FAQ about LED strips

Purpose of this FAQ

In our FAQ about LED lighting, we cover a large number of questions related to the technical factors behind LED technology, and the installation of LED ligthing systems. In this FAQ, we answer many of the questions received by All Star Electric from homeowners in San Antonio about LED strips, how they work and don’t work, how to install them, what are the risks associated with them, etc. 

This FAQ about LED strips with grow over time, as we get more questions. If you have questions not answered here, please feel free to use the contact form on our site to ask us for answers.

Our experience

All Star Electric installs all types of LED lighting systems in homes, offices, and retail spaces, and these systems often include LED strips. We know the technology and its requirements very well. If you think of installing an LED lighting system, don’t hesitate to call us at (210) 391-0274 to ask for a technical evaluation and an estimate.

Important: why LEDs are low-voltage and therefore less dangerous to handle than standard electrical bulbs, it does not mean they are without any danger. As always, we recommend non-professionals to call a professional electrician like All Star Electric to install, repair, inspect, and replace any electrical system. We only publish this information on our website for informational purpose, and not as a step-by-step guide to installing any electrical system. 


Cutting LED strips

Can you just cut LED strips?

You should only cut the strips at the designated cut points to ensure they function correctly. Cutting them elsewhere can damage the strip and render sections of it unusable.

Where is the best place to cut LED strips?

The best place to cut your strips is at the designated cut points, usually marked with a line or scissor icon.

Where do you cut strips with no cut line?

It’s not advisable to cut LED strips without designated cut lines. If you must, ensure you cut between the LED units to avoid damaging them.

How many times can you cut LED (Light Emitting Diode) strip lights?

LED strip lights can be cut at designated cut points, which are usually marked with a line or scissor icon. The number of times you can cut them depends on the number of cut points available on the strip.

Can you use the rest of a LED strip after cutting it?

Yes, the remaining part of the LED strip can be used after cutting, provided you have the necessary connectors and power supply to operate it.
Here is a list of types of connectors and power supply units:

  1. Power Supply (or LED Driver):
    • This converts mains AC voltage to the required DC voltage for the Light Emitting Diode strip. The power supply’s voltage (e.g., 12V, 24V) should match the voltage of the strip.
    • The power supply’s current rating (in amperes or watts) should be sufficient to handle the total current draw or power consumption of the strip. It’s a good practice to choose a power supply with a capacity 10-20% higher than the total consumption of the L.E.D. strip for safety and longevity.
  2. LED Strip Connectors:
    • Strip-to-Strip Connectors: These are used to join two pieces of strip together. They can be “clip-on” types that don’t require soldering or ones that do.
    • Strip-to-Power Connectors: These connect the strip to the power supply. They typically have a clip or screw terminal on one end for the LED strip and a barrel jack or wire leads on the other end for the power supply.
    • L-Shape, T-Shape, or Cross Connectors: These are used for creating corners or branching paths with strips.
  3. Controller (for RGB or Smart LED Strips):
    • This allows you to change the color, brightness, or pattern of RGB (Red-Green-Blue) LED strips. Controllers can be simple handheld remotes, wall-mounted units, or even smartphone apps for smart strips.
    • Some controllers also come with integrated power jacks, eliminating the need for a separate strip-to-power connector.
  4. Dimmer (Optional):
    • If you want to adjust the brightness of the strip, a dimmer can be added between the power supply and the LED strip.
  5. End Caps:
    • These are used to seal the cut ends of waterproof L.E.D. strips to maintain their IP rating.
  6. Mounting Clips or Brackets:
    • These help in securing the strip in place, especially if adhesive backing on the strip isn’t sufficient.
  7. Soldering Equipment (for Permanent Installations):
    • If you’re not using clip-on connectors, you need soldering equipment to make secure and long-lasting connections.
  8. Heat Shrinks or Electrical Tape:
    • These are used to insulate soldered connections or any exposed wiring to prevent short circuits.

What happens if you cut a strip in the middle?

If you cut an LED strip away from the designated cut points, you risk damaging the circuitry, which can prevent that section of the strip from working. Cut only at the marked points.

If you risk damaging your strip or cut at the wrong place and create a fire hazard, it is safer and probably also cheaper to get a professional electrician like All Star Electric to install your strips and LED lighting system.

Can you cut L.E.D. string lights to make them shorter?

Unlike strips, most string lights aren’t designed to be cut. Cutting them can damage the circuit and render them unusable.

Powering LED strips

Can you feed power to a LED strip from both ends?

Yes, feeding power from both ends can help maintain consistent brightness across long strips, especially if there’s a noticeable voltage drop towards the end of the strip.

Why are my LED strips not as bright at the end?

Answer: This is due to a voltage drop, which is common in longer L.E.D. strips. To counteract this, you can feed power from both ends or use a higher voltage power supply and regulate it at intervals.

By this, we refer to the practice of using voltage regulators or converters at specific points along a long LED strip to maintain consistent voltage and brightness. This is especially useful for installations where there’s a noticeable voltage drop towards the end of the strip, causing uneven brightness. This is very often the case in “hardscaping” LED lighting installations, where LED strips can be very long (e.g., strips installed along a soffet or roof line, or installed around a pool or along a stairwell).  

Here’s a step-by-step explanation of how to regulate the supply of power at intervals:

  1. Determine the Need:
    • First, measure the voltage at different points along the LED strip. If there’s a significant drop towards the end, you might benefit from regulating the power at intervals.
  2. Choose the Right Voltage Regulator:
    • For LED strips, you’ll typically use a “buck converter” or “step-down converter.” This device takes a higher input voltage and “steps it down” to a lower, consistent output voltage.
    • Ensure the regulator’s output voltage matches the requirement for the strip (e.g., 12V or 24V) and that it can handle the current draw of the strip section it will power.
  3. Installation Points:
    • Decide where along the strip you’ll place the regulators. This could be at the midpoint of a very long strip or at multiple points for exceptionally long installations.
  4. Install the Regulators:
    • Cut the LED strip at the chosen points.
    • Connect the input side of the regulator to the power supply or the earlier section of the LED strip.
    • Connect the output side of the regulator to the next section of the strip.
    • Ensure all connections are secure, either by soldering or using appropriate connectors.
  5. Power Up and Test:
    • Once everything is connected, power up the LED strip. The brightness should now be more consistent across its length.
  6. Safety Precautions:
    • Ensure that the power supply can handle the combined current draw of the strip and the regulators.
    • Use heat sinks or proper ventilation if the regulators become too hot during operation.
    • Always turn off and unplug the power supply when making modifications to the setup.
    • Some of these steps are better left to a licensed professional electrician like All Star Electric. Not to toot our horn uselessly, but we have seen our fair share of bad LED lighting installations, just because the homeowners did not have the instruments necessary to do the job, or because they just did not know enough about electricity to carry out the task in the first place. We love the spirit of DIY, but some tasks are hazardous and can result in disappointment and waste of time and resources when not done properly.

Can a strip be powered from the middle?

Yes, LED strips can be powered from the middle, especially if you’re trying to maintain consistent brightness across a long strip. However, ensure you have the right connectors and power setup.

Can I connect 2 L.E.D. strips to one power source?

Yes, two or more strips can be connected to a single power source, but ensure the power supply can handle the combined current draw of all connected strips. 

Current draw, often simply referred to as “current,” is the amount of electrical current that a device (in this case, a strip) consumes when it’s in operation. It’s usually measured in amperes (A) or milliamperes (mA), with 1A being equal to 1000mA.

What is the typical current draw range for an LED strip?

The current draw of a strip can vary based on several factors:

  1. Type of LED: Different LEDs, like SMD 3528, SMD 5050, or SMD 2835, have different current requirements.
  2. Density: The number of LEDs per meter or foot. A strip with more LEDs per meter will generally draw more current.
  3. Color: Different colors can have different current requirements. For instance, white or blue LEDs might draw more current than red or green LEDs.
  4. Brightness: Some strips allow for adjustable brightness. Higher brightness levels will draw more current.

Typically, for common strips like the SMD 5050, the current draw might be around 20mA per LED. So, if you have a strip with 60 LEDs per meter, it would draw around 1.2A per meter (60 LEDs x 20mA = 1200mA = 1.2A).

How to determine the current draw of a L.E.D. strip?

To determine the current draw of a strip, you can:

  1. Check the packaging or product label: Most of the times, the manufacturer will provide specifications on the packaging or directly on the reel of the strip. Look for a current rating in amperes (A) or milliamperes (mA).
  2. Refer to the product manual: If the strip came with a manual, it might contain detailed specifications, including the current draw.
  3. Visit the manufacturer’s website: If you know the brand or model of the strip, the manufacturer’s website might have detailed specifications. However, sometimes, distributors do a better job at publishing relevant information than the manufacturers themselves. This is often the case of Chinese manufacturers. Their local distributors (wholesalers) usually do a more thorough job at providing the technical specifications of an electrical product because Customs and certification agencies require them.
  4. Measure with a multimeter: If you have a multimeter, you can measure the current draw directly. Set the multimeter to measure current (in the appropriate range), interrupt the positive power lead to the strip, and connect the multimeter in series. Ensure the LED strip is fully powered on during this test.

Why is it important to know the current draw of a L.E.D. strip?

For several reasons:

  1. Power supply selection: The power supply must be able to provide the total current required by the strip. If you are connecting multiple strips, you need to add up the current draw of each strip and ensure the power supply can handle the combined total.
  2. Safety: Overloading a power supply can lead to overheating and potential fire hazards.
  3. Performance: Ensuring the strip receives the correct current will guarantee optimal brightness and longevity.

How many volts can LED strips handle?

The voltage an LED strip can handle depends on its design. Common voltages are 5V, 12V, and 24V, but always refer to the manufacturer’s specifications.

What is the voltage range of an LED strip?

The voltage range of an LED strip depends on its design. Common voltages include 5V, 12V, and 24V. Always refer to the manufacturer’s specifications.

What is an LED driver in the context of LED strips?

An LED driver is a device that regulates the power to an LED or a string of LEDs. It ensures that the LED receives the correct voltage and current for optimal performance.

Do LED strips need a special power supply?

LED strips require a power supply that matches their voltage and current requirements. While not always “special,” it’s essential to use the correct power supply for safety and performance.

Can you power a LED strip with a battery?

Yes, batteries can power LED strips, provided the battery can supply the required voltage and current for the operation of the strip.

Why are there 3 pins on the plug of an LED strip?

The three pins typically correspond to the positive, negative, and data or control signal for RGB LED strips. Single-color strips don’t use the third pin.

Do LED strips need resistors and why?

Yes, LED strips often have resistors to regulate the current flowing through each LED, ensuring consistent brightness and preventing damage from excessive current.

Do all LED strips use the same amount of power per unit of time? Why?

No, the power consumption of LED strips varies based on factors like the type of LED, the number of LEDs per meter, and the voltage and current ratings of the strip. Additionally, the color(s) of a strip will impact its power usage.

Which colors in LED strip consume the most and the least power?

The power consumption of an LED varies according (in part) to its color.

  • RGB LED strips:
    • The power consumption of strips that combine red, green, and blue LEDs to produce various colors can vary according to the color being displayed. For example, displaying pure blue or white (all LEDs on) will typically consume more power than displaying pure red.
  • Typical current draw by color:
    • Red LEDs: These often have the lowest forward voltage, typically around 1.8 to 2.2 volts. As a result, they might consume less power than other colors when driven at the same current.
    • Green LEDs: These usually have a forward voltage in the range of 2.8 to 3.4 volts.
    • Blue and White LEDs: Both blue and white LEDs (white LEDs are often blue LEDs with a phosphor coating) typically have the highest forward voltage, often between 3.0 to 3.4 volts. Consequently, they might draw more power than red or green LEDs under the same conditions.
  • Different materials and bandgaps impact power consumption :
    • LEDs produce light by passing current through a semiconductor material. Different materials have different bandgaps, which determine the color (wavelength) of the emitted light. These materials can have varying levels of efficiency and voltage requirements.
  • Brightness vs. power consumption:
    • While the forward voltage is a factor, the perceived brightness is another consideration. To achieve a balanced brightness across different colors, some LEDs might be driven at a higher current, increasing their power consumption. For instance, a blue LED might be inherently brighter than a red one at the same current, so the red might be driven harder to match brightness levels, affecting its power consumption.
  • Practical implications: When planning an LED installation, especially if you are concerned by power consumption, consider the colors that will be displayed most frequently. For instance, if you use an RGB strip that displays mostly white light (all 3 colors “on”), the power consumption will be higher than if you display just one color.

Which colors in LED strip use the least amount of power?

Generally, red LEDs consume less power compared to green or blue LEDs. However, actual power consumption can vary based on the design and manufacturer.

Will a 12V LED strip run on 9V?

A 12V LED strip might operate at 9V, but it will be dimmer than its intended brightness. Some strips might not light up at all if the voltage is too low.

Connecting LED strips

Can I join two or more LED strips together?

Yes, LED strips can be joined using connectors or by soldering, depending on the type of strip and your expertise.

How many LED strips can you connect together?

The number of LED strips you can connect together depends on the power supply’s capacity and the total current draw of the combined strips. Always ensure the total current draw doesn’t exceed the power supply’s rating.

What to do with the ends of a LED strip?

The end of an LED strip can be sealed with end caps to prevent dust and moisture ingress. If you plan to reuse the cut end, you can attach a connector for future extensions.

Using LED strips safely

Can LED strips be a fire hazard?

While LED strips are much cooler than incandescent bulbs, poor quality LEDs, incorrect power supplies, or improper installations can lead to overheating and potential fire hazards. Always use quality products and follow installation guidelines.

Is it safe to put LED strips under a bed?

Yes, it is safe to install LED strips under a bed for ambient lighting, provided that their installation is done correctly and the strips don’t overheat.

Is it safe to touch a LED strip?

Yes, LED strips are safe to touch when powered on, as they don’t generate a lot of heat. However, avoid touching any exposed wiring or connectors.

Is LED lighting explosion-proof?

Not all LED lighting is explosion-proof. However, engineers have designed specific LED fixtures to be explosion-proof for use in hazardous environments. These fixtures have robust casings and are certified for such use.

What type of LED is explosion proof?

Engineers designed explosion-proof LEDs specifically for hazardous locations where flammable gases or vapors may be present. They have robust casings and are certified by relevant authorities (agencies) for safe use in such environments. These agencies ensure that products meet specific safety standards for hazardous locations.

  • Agencies in the U.S.:
    1. Underwriters Laboratories (UL): One of the most recognized certification agencies in the U.S., UL tests and certifies products for safety. Products that meet their standards will carry the “UL Listed” mark.
    2. Factory Mutual (FM) Global: FM is another major certification body that tests and certifies explosion-proof equipment for use in hazardous locations.
    3. Intertek (ETL): Intertek’s ETL mark is another safety certification in the U.S. It indicates that the product has received testing procedures and meets the necessary safety standards.
  • Designations Applied to Explosion-Proof Certified LEDs:
    1. Class: Defines the general nature of hazardous material in the surrounding atmosphere.
      • Class I: Locations where flammable gases or vapors may be present.
      • Class II: Locations where combustible dust may be present.
      • Class III: Locations where ignitable fibers or flyings are present.
    2. Division: Indicates the likelihood of the hazardous material being present in an ignitable concentration.
      • Division 1: Hazardous materials are present under regular operating conditions.
      • Division 2: Hazardous materials are present only under abnormal conditions, such as a container failure.
    3. Group: Specifies the type of hazardous material in the surrounding atmosphere. For example:
      • Group A: Acetylene
      • Group B: Hydrogen
      • Group C: Ethylene
      • Group D: Propane
      • Group E: Metal dust (e.g., aluminum, magnesium)
      • Group F: Coal dust
      • Group G: Grain dust
    4. Temperature Class (T-Code): Indicates the maximum surface temperature that a piece of equipment can reach. It ensures that the equipment won’t ignite the specific gas or vapor. For example:
      • T1: 450°C
      • T2: 300°C
      • T3: 200°C
      • T4: 135°C
      • T5: 100°C
      • T6: 85°C
When looking at explosion-proof LED fixtures or equipment, you will see labels like “Class I, Division 1, Groups C and D, T4.” This would indicate that the LED is suitable for locations with flammable gases or vapors (Class I) that are regularly present (Division 1), specifically ethylene and propane (Groups C and D), and that the LED’s maximum surface temperature is 135°C (T4).

What happens if you put too much power into an LED?

Overpowering an LED can cause it to overheat, which can reduce its lifespan or cause it to burn out. Always use the recommended power supply.

What happens when LED gets too hot?

Excessive heat can degrade the LED performance, reduce its lifespan, or cause it to fail prematurely. Proper heat dissipation is crucial for LED longevity.

What is Class 1 Div 1 LED Lighting (C1D1)?

Class 1 Div 1 (C1D1) LED lighting can serve in areas where flammable gases or vapors are continuously or frequently present under normal operating conditions. These lights meet strict safety standards for such environments.

What is Electrical Overstress (EOS) in the context of LED strips?

Electrical Overstress (EOS) refers to the condition where an LED strip receives a voltage or current beyond its maximum rated limits. This can damage the LED and reduce its lifespan.

What is Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) in the context of LED strips?

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) refers to the sudden flow of electricity between two charged objects. In the context of LED strips, ESD can damage the LEDs if handled without proper precautions.

What is Reverse Bias in the context of LED strips?

Reverse bias occurs when voltage applies in the opposite direction of the normal operation of the LED. LEDs can handle a small reverse voltage, but excessive reverse bias will damage them.

What is Explosion-Proof protection and how is the rating (e.g. IP54) calculated?

Explosion-proof protection refers to the design of electrical equipment for use in hazardous areas where flammable gases or vapors may be present. The IP rating, like IP54, indicates the level of protection against dust and water. The first digit (5 in IP54) refers to protection against solids, and the second digit (4 in IP54) refers to protection against liquids.

What do the acronyms IP54, IP55, IP65 mean in the context of LEDs and LED strips?

IP ratings indicate the level of protection an electrical device has against solids and liquids. In IP54, for example, the ‘5’ indicates protection against limited dust ingress, and the ‘4’ indicates protection against water splashes. Similarly, IP55 offers protection against limited dust ingress and low-pressure water jets, while IP65 is dust-tight and protected against water jets.

Is it safe to install LED strips outside as Christmas decorations? Why?

Yes, it’s safe to use LED strips as outdoor Christmas decorations, provided their rating is for outdoor use (e.g., they must have a suitable IP rating – See IP rating explanation in this FAQ). Strips rated for outdoor can withstand moisture and temperature variations.

Which types of LED strips will run the hottest?

High-density LED strips with more LEDs per meter and high-power LEDs tend to run hotter than other types. Proper heat dissipation is important for these strips in view of the fire hazard. This means it is not advisable to install them in confined, non ventilated spaces. Consult with a professional electrician to obtain proper guidance.

Can you safely install LED strips in an attic where blown-in insulation material is present?

While LED strips produce less heat than traditional bulbs, they MUST receive proper ventilation and can’t be covered by insulation which can trap heat. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation recommendations. Consult with a professional electrician to understand the requirements and the risks.

What if you plug an LED strip into the AC mains?

Plugging an LED strip directly into AC mains without an appropriate driver or transformer can damage the strip. Most LED strips operate on low-voltage DC.

Troubleshooting LED strips

What causes LED strips to stop working?

LED strips can stop working due to various reasons, including damaged LEDs, broken circuitry, power supply issues, or faulty connectors.

What causes LED lights to explode?

While rare, LED lights can “explode” or burst due to manufacturing defects, overheating, power surges, or using incorrect power supplies. Always use quality LEDs and appropriate power sources.

What causes LED strip lights to flash?

LED strip lights can flash due to power supply issues, faulty LEDs, or incompatible dimmer switches.  Dimming LED strips is more complex than dimming traditional incandescent bulbs due to the differences in their electrical characteristics. What properties does a dimmer switch need to have to be compatible with an LED strip?

  • Properties for compatibility:
    1. Type of dimming technology:
      • Phase-cut dimmers: These are the most common type of dimmers used for incandescent and halogen bulbs. They work by cutting off part of the voltage waveform, either on the leading edge or trailing edge. While some LED drivers are designed to be compatible with phase-cut dimmers, not all are.
        • Leading edge (Triac) dimmers: These are traditional dimmers primarily designed for incandescent lamps. They might not be compatible with many LED drivers.
        • Trailing edge (ELV) dimmers: These are more modern and are often more compatible with LED drivers.
      • PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) dimmers: These dimmers work by switching the LED on and off at a high frequency, which reduces the total amount of light output. PWM dimming is a common method for dimming LED strips.
    2. Load capacity:
      • LED strips generally consume less power than traditional bulbs. Some older dimmers have a minimum load requirement that LED strips sometimes don’t meet, causing flickering or no dimming at all.
    3. Voltage compatibility:
      • Ensure that the dimmer rates for the same voltage as your LED strip and power supply, whether it’s 12V, 24V, or mains voltage (e.g., 120V in the US).
    4. Dimming range:
      • Some dimmers might not dim the LED strip to a very low brightness level or might cause flickering at certain brightness levels.
    5. EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) considerations:
      • Some poorly designed dimmers can produce EMI, which can interfere with other electronic devices. Good quality dimmers will have filtering to minimize EMI.
  • How to determine compatibility:
    1. Manufacturer’s specifications:
      • The easiest way to determine compatibility is to check the LED strip or LED driver’s manufacturer’s specifications. They will often list compatible dimmer models or the recommended type of dimmer.
      • Dimmer’s specifications:
        • Check the dimmer’s packaging or product data sheet. It should indicate if it is LED compatible. Some might even list specific tested LED brands or models.
      • Trial and error:
        • Sometimes, the best way to determine compatibility is through testing. Install the dimmer and observe the LED strip’s performance. Look for issues like flickering, limited dimming range, or buzzing sounds.
      • Consult with the retailer or manufacturer:
        • If in doubt, it’s always a good idea to consult with the retailer where you purchased the LED strip or the manufacturer. They might have insights or recommendations based on customer feedback or internal testing.
      • Look for reviews and forums:
        • Online reviews or forums are valuable information repositories where other users share their experiences with specific dimmer and LED strip combinations.
      • Consult with a professional electrician:
        • Oftentimes, you will waste less time and less money by consulting a professional electrician for your LED strip installation. Professional electricians like All Star Electric know LED strips and LED technology like the back of their hand because we have seen all types of unforeseen issues when installing these systems. We know which ones to buy and which ones to avoid, we know all the issues with dimming and power supply, etc. So when we recommend a brand, or a type of LED strip, you can be sure we already have installed them and tested them, and know which manufacturers are more reliable than the others.

Choosing LED colors

Why is blue the “most difficult LED color”?

Blue LEDs require a higher voltage to operate. They composition includes more complex semiconductor materials than red or green LEDs. Additionally, blue LEDs tend to have a shorter lifespan and are more sensitive to temperature variations.

Which are the 3 brightest LED strip colors?

The perceived brightness can vary, but research generally rates white, blue, and green the brightest LED strip colors.

How do you accurately measure the brightness of an LED strip?

We measure the brightness of an LED strip in lumens. Use a light meter or lux meter to measure the luminous flux or brightness of an LED strip.

Can LED strips favor a deeper, more relaxing sleep? If so, which colors and what color range (in Kelvin)?

Warm-colored LED strips, especially those in the red to orange spectrum (around 2000K to 3000K), can promote relaxation and potentially aid sleep. Blue light, on the other hand, can suppress melatonin production and disrupt sleep.

What are the differences between an LED strip and LED string lights?

Both LED strips and LED string lights have distinct characteristics and are typically used for different purposes:

  1. Physical structure:
    • LED strips:
      • These are flexible circuit boards with LEDs mounted on them at regular intervals.
      • They often come with adhesive backing for easy installation.
      • They are typically flat and can be cut at specific intervals (cut points) to fit various lengths.
    • LED string lights:
      • These consist of individual LED bulbs connected by wires.
      • They resemble traditional string or fairy lights.
      • They are not typically cuttable, and each bulb is separate from the others.
  2. Purpose & Application:
    • LED strips:
      • Commonly used for accent lighting, under-cabinet lighting, backlighting, and other decorative purposes.
      • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use, depending on their waterproof rating.
      • Can be used in architectural applications for cove lighting or highlighting features.
    • LED string lights:
      • Often used for decorative purposes, especially during holidays or special events.
      • Commonly seen wrapped around trees, along fences, or draped over structures.
      • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, depending on their design.
  3. Power & control:
    • LED strips:
      • Typically powered by a direct current (DC) source, requiring a power adapter or driver to convert from the mains AC voltage.
      • Suitable fCan be dimmable and, in the case of RGB strips, color-changing with the use of controllers.
    • LED string lights:
      • Can be powered by both AC (plugging directly into a wall outlet) or DC (battery-operated versions).
      • Some versions come with built-in modes like blinking, fading, or chasing.
  4. Flexibility & installation:
    • LED strips:
      • Highly flexible and can be bent around corners or curved surfaces.
      • Often come with adhesive backing for easy installation on flat surfaces.
    • LED string lights:
      • While the wire is flexible, the individual LED bulbs are fixed points along the wire.
      • Typically hung, draped, or wrapped around objects.
  5. Durability & waterproofing:
    • LED strips:
      • Available in various waterproof ratings, from IP20 (not waterproof) to IP68 (fully submersible).
      • Encased in silicone or epoxy for protection in waterproof versions.
    • LED string lights:
      • Many are designed for outdoor use and have some level of water resistance.
      • The individual bulbs are often sealed to prevent moisture ingress.
  6. Appearance:
    • LED strips:
      • Provide a continuous, linear light source.
      • LEDs are closely spaced, offering a more uniform light output.
    • LED string lights:
      • Offer a dotted or point-source appearance, with visible gaps between individual bulbs.
      • Provide a more “twinkling” or “starry” effect.

More questions coming soon…

About All Star Electric

As professional electricians in San Antonio, All Star Electric installs, repairs, and inspects all types of electrical systems, both in home, offices and retail spaces. With the advent of LED technologies, ligthing systems can now “sculpt” the atmosphere of a home indoors and oudoors. In an office settings, LEDs increase productivity and render color more truthfully than incandescent bulbs and neon lights.  All Star Electric is also a Certified Tesla installer of Level 1 and Level 2 charging systems for EVs. We have been in business in San Antonio for 27 years, and serves the whole San Antonio community and neighboring cities. We keep an A+ rating at the BBB San Antonio.   

Additional Resources

LED Lighting: one of our specialties
Installing dimmer switches

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