LED Tape: Connect and disconnect properly with these tips

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    Lighted diodes on reel LED tape, and voltage converter.
    Lighted diodes on reel LED tape, and voltage converter.

    The implementation of exciting lighting projects requires only a few tools and some background knowledge. It is crucial that you get your LED strip to the right length. We will help you and have put together tips for using LED strips. Many users don’t even know that they can shorten an LED strip like our QLF Strips. Here you find out how this works.

    Depending on the selected connection variant, the following tools are required to carry out the work:

    • Scissors
    • Cutter knife
    • Click connector
    • Solder set
    • Heat shrink tubing

    Basic information on changing an LED strip

    Many LED strips can be flexibly changed in length. The products from LED Strips World are one of them. But how do you know whether changes to an LED strip are possible or not? To do this, you need to know that all LED strips consist of units and segments. The strips are usually delivered on rolls with several units. A unit is often around half a meter long.

    The individual units can in turn be divided into segments. This is where you start if you want to shorten the LED strip. The segments are the smallest areas into which the units of our QLF LED strips can be divided. If you want to shorten your band, always cut exactly between two segments. This is how you get the function of the QLF Strips.

    To make things easier for you, manufacturers mark the segments on the tapes for you. Exactly where this optical marking is placed always depends on the manufacturer and the respective product. A small symbol is usually printed at the point of separation. Cut right there and nowhere else.

    As a general rule, always cut between the copper dots on the tape, but not through them. Because you will later make contact again at the copper points when you reconnect the LED strip. The copper dots must therefore remain undamaged. It is often possible to see these contact points through the slightly transparent material. Then you can’t go wrong.

    Changing the LED strip: you need this

    You do not need any special tools to cut through your LED strip. Simple household scissors are sufficient to cut through the material. Of course, you can also use a cutter. Ensure a straight cut and divide the ribbon in the middle of the dividing line. Then you won’t damage any important parts and the tape will remain fully functional.

    With some LED strips you also have to remove silicone protection. You will find this in products with a higher degree of protection. A sharp blade is required for this job. Use a cutter or carpet knife. As always, the rule here is that you must not accidentally damage the traces.

    You have to remove the silicone sleeve, otherwise, you won’t be able to solder. There must be no silicone residues on the copper areas. Check this carefully before proceeding to the next step. To remove the silicone protection, cut parallel to the PCB. The PCB is the part that has fine traces on it.

    Once you have made the cut, you can carefully push the silicone forward and pull it off the PCB. In this work, it is important that the knife does not accidentally slip away from you. Once you have successfully removed the silicone protection, solder the sections of the LED strips together as desired.

    What happens if I cut in the wrong place?

    Close-up of a hand electrician, installation LED strip inside the cabinet.

    With a careless cut, you can quickly damage the LED strip, at least partially, and make it unusable. You may therefore only cut where small scissors, a dividing line, or other symbols and instructions are printed. If you cut somewhere else, the tape is unusable until the next segment. So be careful so you don’t have to throw away a LED strip.

    If you make a mistake when cutting through, it can no longer be corrected afterward. You then have no choice but to dispose of the damaged segment. Knowledge of electrical engineering or tricks will no longer help here. Care is therefore particularly important in this work.

    As mentioned above, LED strips with silicone protection are more difficult to process. You will find such an LED cover, for example, in products with protection class IP 20 or IP 65. These products are recommended because they are better shielded against environmental influences. This ensures trouble-free operation.

    When does it make sense to connect LED strips together?

    There are many reasons for connecting several small LED strips to form one large one. This gives you more options when it comes to designing the length and you can flexibly adjust the strap. The technique is also useful when you want to put a strip around the corner. For the various tasks, it is important to know how the connection of LED strips works.

    One of the most important motives for disconnecting and reconnecting the LED strips is length adjustment. Only with a lot of luck will the tape cut off the roll be exactly the length you need. Knowing how to reconnect our QLF Pro Series products will give you a better handle on their length.

    Ideally, make sure you know the length you need before you buy it. Even if the product you bought is not yet the perfect length, you can minimize waste in this way. This helps you to keep the acquisition costs low.

    To measure exactly how long the tape needs to be. Use a tape measure for this and lay it the way you want your LED strip to be later. Then cut the LED strip at the point that comes closest to the desired length. This saves material and labor.

    When determining the length you need, it is important to consider any edges and curves that the strip will follow. If you only measure roughly with a ruler, you may end up missing a little length.

    A little trick: If you don’t have a measuring tape, you can also measure with a tape. Lay the tape in the desired place for the LED strip. Then use a ruler to measure the length of the tape. This will help you to order the LED strip in the correct length.

    Bring LED strips to the right length for outdoor use

    Shortening and connecting are also worthwhile for products such as our QLF Pro LED strips. Thanks to the use of our special ceramic chip technology, you can also use them outdoors.

    How can I connect LED strips together?

    There are basically two ways of connecting LED strips. You can either solder them together or use something called a click connector. Both approaches have their advantages and weaknesses.

    The connection via a solder joint requires tools and certain technical skills. If you dare to place a solder joint, you will get clean and tightly connected strips. The connectors are recommended for less experienced users. They impress with their particularly easy handling.

    If you already have soldering tools in your workshop, you don’t need anything else to connect via a solder joint. With the second variant, on the other hand, you first have to get the right-click connectors. After all, the acquisition costs for this are very low. In the following, we explain both procedures in detail.

    This is how the connection is made using a click connector

    Led stripe in coil isolated on white.Diode glowing strip.

    A click connector is a simple tool for assembling LED strips. You can purchase click connectors in various designs in stores. It is particularly practical that many LED strips often come with the right connectors. Then no further purchases are required.

    The connectors perform the simple task of bringing the traces of the two strips to be connected into contact with each other. They have corresponding contact pins for this. There are four of these pins in total. This corresponds to the four-conductor tracks of the LED strip.

    It is important that the contact points can touch without interference. As already mentioned, silicone coatings must therefore be completely removed. The conductors of the LED strips are made of copper. Many manufacturers put four letters on the ladder to make it easier for you to tell them apart.

    When making the connection, make sure that you place the four conductive paths precisely over the pins. Tracks and pins must touch to make contact. The connectors have a plastic tab for this. With the tracks correctly seated on the pins, press the tab onto the underside of the connector. You will feel it click into place if you have done everything correctly.

    Make sure the copper traces are flush under the pins and that the poles are properly aligned. If the tracks are provided with letters, it is easy to connect them to each other without making mistakes. If you have problems, you should turn one of the strips over and reinsert it into the connector. The goal is to get the poles right.

    What should I do if the LED strip does not light up after connection?

    First, check whether you have actually cut the LED strips at the intended points. It is not possible to successfully separate the tapes elsewhere. If you have done everything correctly, you must check the connectors again. If the band does not light up, the pins are probably not making proper contact.

    Each click connector has four pins. Make sure the traces are exposed and actually connected to the pins.

    This is how the connection by solder joint works

    It is also possible to solder the copper contact points of the LED strips together. This method is much more complex than the click connector, but the connection is much more solid afterward. Once a soldered connection has been made, it can only be separated willfully.

    In addition, there is no click connector, the housing of which is relatively thick. If you don’t like the look of these connection points and they get in the way when laying, soldering is the better alternative.

    Soldering is recommended for all users who are familiar with this technique and have the necessary tools. For soldering, you work with temperatures up to a maximum of 250 degrees Celsius. Nothing else is required for this task. It is important that you proceed cautiously. The LED strips are thin and delicate. You should also reduce the soldering time to a minimum.

    Use the usual flux or solder to make the connection. After completing the work, you should insulate the soldered joint again. Use shrink tubing for this. This ensures that there are no problems during operation.

    If you carry out the work correctly, it is hardly recognizable afterward that you have reconnected the LED strips. This is one of the key advantages of this technique. The straps look like you bought them that length. Visually you have a cleaner solution compared to the click connectors.

    If problems occur during soldering, this is almost always due to unclean contact points. There are probably still silicone residues that you did not completely remove in the previous step. Carefully scrape off any silicone residue with a knife. You can use the LED strips successfully connected by soldering immediately for decoration.

    This is how customers benefit from the high-quality LED strips from LED Strips World

    LED Strips World sells LED strips with modern technology and convincing lighting result in every situation. The products of the QLF and QLF Pro series are designed for high light quality and long service life. They retain these even after separating and reassembling. Added to this is the efficiency that is typical of advanced LED technology.

    We respond to individual customer requirements and find a suitable solution for every project. LED Strips World creates lighting for its customers, for example in the form of cylinders or cubes. It’s worth contacting us: we will discuss your requirements in detail and fulfill every wish in connection with the subject of LEDs.

    Contact us now and use the best-LED technology for your lighting.