Voltage drop or ‘volt drop’ happens in all kinds of electrical installations. When larger power cables are being installed more complicated calculations must be made to counteract the problem. However when LED power supply or tapes are concerned there are a few simple guidelines to follow.
Volt drop in LED strips occurs when the LEDs are positioned too far out of the power source or when longer individual runs (or lines) are attempted. This occurs because not enough power or electrical current reaches the LEDs, because it has further traveling. This leads to the voltage to decline or drop towards the end of the run.
Voltage drops out approximately .6V every metre and it is less noticeable with 24V strips. When utilizing 12V strips, a 2-3V drop spanning a 5 metre run would decrease the voltage by 25% subsequently lowering the lumen (brightness) with a similar percentage.
Volt drop may be compared to a person climbing a mountain, the higher the altitude, the thinner the oxygen becomes and the minus the person can breathe.
The LEDs at the start of the line can look bright at 100% output nevertheless the LEDs right at the end from the line will quickly fade. The brightness will reduce exponentially; the further away it gets out of the source of energy. Potentially the light output may be reduced to % if greater distances were incorrectly attempted and cause permanent injury to the LEDs.
Volt drop in single colour strips are barley noticeable, especially in shorter lengths. Colour changing strips tend to be more visible once you turn the colour to white. If you have insufficient voltage right at the end from the strip the clear white colour will turn pink towards the end of the line. This is because white colour is mixed from red, green and blue (RGB). However, the red requires less voltage than green and blue. If the strip is way through the power source, green and blue don’t get enough voltage and turn into weaker, whilst the red colour grows more prominent and turns white into pink.
The larger the wattage from the LED strip, the short the run should be. For example; 30 LED (7.2W) per metre strip can have a maximum run of 10 metres, when compared to the 60 LED (14.4W) per metre strip which could have a maximum run of 5 metres.
This does not always mean you can’t install longer runs of LED strip, it merely means you need to have a different approach. Single colour strips and colour changing (called RGB) strips are not the same because colour changing LEDA driver 12v need to be controlled from a single controller. Using a higher rated power supply will not repair the problem because the current still has to pass via a long line of LEDs and resistors, each one draining small quantities of power.
Single colour strips needs to be wired directly back to the ability supply in five metre of 10 metre runs depending on the version of strip i.e. 30 or 60 LED that is utilized. Each run is going to be powered right from the power supply and may be turned on or off by switching a switch or unplugging it through the mains. The power supply is normally wired to your light switch but tend to be controlled by various types of controllers. The strips may then be positioned however you like, in just one long line or in a rectangle shape for instance. When the strips are positioned next to the other person the light will show up seamless, such as a fluorescent tube. The run could be over 100 metres hapmys length so long as the power supply was rated appropriately.
Volt drop will occur slightly within the connecting power cables but because there are no LEDs or resisters etc draining the existing, the volt drop is going to be barley noticeable. Thicker cables can be used to reach further distances.
For extended runs of colour changing strip, you have to fit amplifiers every 5 or 10 metres. Amplifiers enable the strips to become powered indirectly from your power source but in addition enable the signal from the controller to move through the entire run of strips. In this way when you turn the color to red for example, everything turns to red at the same time. The amplifiers power the strip, the power supply powers the amplifiers. Amplifiers could even be powered from their own separate power source and you can have as numerous power supplies as you desire on the same run. The energy supplies can be positioned even closer to the LED strip connection or wherever is most accessible.
For extended, more difficult runs we are able to supply our customers making use of their own easy to follow wiring diagram. The diagram illustrates how the power source, strips and cables are connected together. As part for the LED Strip Fit brand, LED Constant voltage drivers may be supplied to the exact lengths required; everything aside from the larger hard wired power supplies may be connected to each, requiring no tools or electrical knowledge.