How to connect LED strips: step by step instruction
LED stripes are an original and inexpensive way to create an additional source of lighting in the most unexpected places. They are fixed on an adhesive basis and do not require specialized installation skills for their installation. In most cases it's enough just to glue the tapes to any flat surface. But what if you need to connect two separate tapes to each other?
1The purpose of connecting LED strips
- 1.1Connection of tapes by soldering
- 1.2Connecting tapes with a connector
- 2Soldering or connector
- 3Video: connecting the LED ribbons with your own hands
The purpose of connecting LED strips
The need to connect two LED strips in one electrical circuit occurs quite often. For example, you lay out a pattern or you need a tape longer than 5 meters - in both cases, you can not do without connecting individual segments. There are two ways to combine the segments into one single tape: using a soldering iron and using a connector. Let's consider both variants in details.
Connection of tapes by soldering
Tin soldering is a traditional method of connecting electrical contacts, which allows you to create a monolithic design of several metal elements.
Molten tin serves as a kind of "glue which tightly connects the soldered parts to each other. In order to combine two LED stripes, you need the following tools:
- soldering iron. For soldering LED strips, soldering irons with a temperature of 250-350 ° C are best. This temperature is provided by devices with a power of 20 to 60 watts. The use of low-power soldering irons is undesirable, since the "gentle" mode implies a long heating, which can lead to damage to the LED elements;
- tin solder. Directly tin, necessary for soldering. Occurs in the form of pieces and hollow tin wire with rosin inside. The second option is preferable, since this material is immediately used in combination with a flux;
- flux. Rosin or soldering acid. The use of flux removes the oxide film from the metal, which allows the tin to adhere to its surface. Without it, the material will be collected in a ball and rolled off the metal;
- fireproof tiles. Asbestos, textolite or any other refractory tile, on the surface of which it is possible to carry out soldering. Along with refractory qualities, the material must have low thermal conductivity, so as not to dissipate the heat of the soldering iron. Accordingly, metal and stone for this purpose will not work.
- From the contacts of the tape, which will be located on top, the protective film / paper is removed. They are insulated with a layer of epoxy or varnish - it should also be removed. Before proceeding with the removal of the insulating material, be sure to observe the polarity of the ribbon connection.
- A flux is applied to the contacts. If you use soldering acid, just drop it on the contact surface. To melt and apply rosin, you need to use a hot soldering iron.
- Contacts on both tapes must be tin - put a layer of tin on the surfaces to be joined. That is, put a piece of solder or the tip of the wire and heated by a soldering iron before melting the tin. The solder should be spread over the surface and adhere. If this did not happen and the tin coiled into a ball, then there is a film of foreign matter. Then contact must be mechanically cleaned, then re-apply flux.
- Tapes are superimposed on each other in such a way that the connected contacts coincide. They are heated by a soldering iron before melting of tin.
To extend the gap between the tapes, a connection is made using insulated copper wires of thin section. The soldering process is carried out according to the above-described principle, the wires must also be tinned before soldering them to the contacts. In the process of soldering, it is important not to confuse the wires in places. To avoid short-circuiting, the joints are insulated by means of a shrink tube or hot melt adhesive.
Connecting tapes with a connector
It is carried out by compressing the tape contacts in the terminals of the connector. There are three types:
- Direct connector. For direct connection of LED strips. It is visually invisible during the operation of the diodes.
- Angular connector. For connecting tapes at an angle of 90 °. It is used to create an ideal corner connection.
- Flexible (extension) connector with wire extension. Allows you to place additional tape at any angle.
For each type of tape, a similar connector is produced, which contains the required number of contacts and has a corresponding size. The process of connecting ribbons with a flexible connector is as follows:
- Before proceeding to the connection, it is necessary to remove the factory varnish from the tape contacts, which plays the role of insulation. It is desirable to immediately place the tape in the correct position, observing the polarity, so as not to allow errors in the assembly process. The polarity of the contacts is indicated by the signs "+" and respectively, "+" is connected to "+ and to .
- The clip of the connector opens. The retainer is snapped off with a slight effort.
- Install the tape in the connector. It is inserted in such a way that the ribbon contacts coincide with the contacts of the connector.
- Fixing the tape. After inserting the tape, the connector latches snap. The "Closed" position is characterized by a soft click.
The connection of tapes with a straight connector is carried out in a similar manner, taking into account the structural features. The connection process is as follows:
- Contacts are cleaned from the insulation coating. The connectors of the connector open on both sides.
- Tapes are inserted into the connector with the correct polarity.
- Snaps the connectors.
The connection of LED strips with a connector is intuitively understandable and does not cause any difficulties.The only condition for a correct connection is the correct location of the tape - contacts connectors and tapes should touch as accurately as possible, the tape should not be twisted or bend.The finished connection is reliable enough for trouble-free operation, but it is not sealed. To prevent moisture and dust from entering the connector, it is sealed after fixing by means of a shrink tube.
Soldering or connector
When combining LED strips in the same electrical circuit with the same success, you can use both the soldering and the connector.Both options ensure proper connection reliability.However, each technology has a number of advantages and disadvantages that need to be considered before giving them their preference. The advantages of a connector are:
- Simplicity of design. The process of connecting tapes is simple and does not require any special knowledge or skills.
- Quick assembly. The tapes are connected with a connector for 2 - 3 minutes.
- Security. Potentially dangerous sources of energy or equipment do not participate in the process.
- Lack of auxiliary tools. For assembly, only hands, connector and LED strips are needed.
To the disadvantages of a connector connection is the relative friability of the joint. It is carried out on the principle of clamping - with a sharp and strong jerk, the tape can move or fly out. This drawback is conditional, in view of the rare frequency of such situations.
Tin soldering, as a traditional way of combining electrical components, also has a number of advantages, among which are the following:
- Versatility. By soldering, you can connect tapes of different types at any time, since the soldering iron is always at hand.
- Strength. The connection is made by means of molten metal (tin) - it is easier to tear the tape than to disconnect the soldering.
The disadvantages of soldering include the following features:
- The complexity of the process. It requires the basic skills of handling a soldering iron.
- Build time. Soldering takes a lot of time, due to the abundance of tools, waiting for the heating of the soldering iron, etc.
- Danger. If the safety precautions are not taken, severe burns or electric shock may result.
- Tools. Soldering requires a complete list of tools. The absence of at least one component will make the soldering impossible.
- The complexity of connecting multi-contact tapes. Soldering is more intended for connecting tapes with two contacts. Multicolor ribbons are more difficult to connect, due to the increased number of contacts and proximity from the location.
Asking the question: "Soldering or connector? It should be noted that the connector is a more perfect, in terms of technology, way to connect the LED strips without any obvious flaws. The only circumstance when the use of tin soldering will be justified is the absence of a connector and the impossibility / irrationality of its acquisition.
Video: connecting the LED ribbons with your own hands
The connection of LED years is a simple operation that a layman can do. Even if there was no connector at hand, the soldering process also will not cause difficulties in observing the technology of work..