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Connecting LED Strips in Parallel – Safest and Most Effective Way

Those looking for practical information on electrical circuits and LED component wiring should have started with this guide. You’ve probably already read the Wikipedia page on series and parallel circuits, as well as a few other Google search results on the subject, and are still perplexed or want more specific information about LEDs.

Based on years of providing LED education, training, and explanations of the electronic circuit concept, we have gathered and prepared all of the critical information needed to help you understand the idea of electrical circuits and their connection to LEDs.

First and foremost, don’t be intimidated or confused by electrical circuits and wiring LED components – correctly connecting LED strips in parallel can be simple and easy to understand if you follow this post. Let us begin with the most basic question.

Is it safe to connect multiple strip lights?

When it comes to safety, and purchasing quality, the certified product is a no-brainer. Cheap LED strips connected in series are known to be a fire hazard because they are made of thin material that cannot withstand high currents and heats up quickly.

Because LED strips are typically mounted on wood or plastic surfaces, the heat can be extremely dangerous.

Even if you’re using a genuine product, you should take a few precautions.

You must think about the differences between the various types of LED strips you may have to lie around that you want to connect.

For example, an RGB LED strip consumes three times the energy of a white LED strip.

Not all strip lights can be connected together because they do not share the same power source. The PSU and LED strip must have the same voltage. There are three levels of evaluation.

If your LED strip requires 5 volts of direct current (VDC), your power supply must be the same voltage (VDC). The same can be said for 12V and 24V LED strips.

Aside from safety, you should think about the most cost-effective way to power your linked strips.

Connecting LED strips into a single line and looping it back to the beginning to cover a rectangular ceiling is not the most energy-efficient method.

Installing a power supply in one of the rectangular ceiling’s corners would be a clever solution. Connect two LED strips in parallel to the power supply. Each strip runs down two sides of the rectangle, meeting at the opposite corner from the power supply.

You can avoid using two power supplies and voltage drops, which cause strip lights near the end of the chain to dim.

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How to power a parallel circuit

A parallel circuit, as opposed to a series circuit, receives the same voltage for each LED, and the total current to each LED is the total current output of the driver divided by the number of parallel LEDs.

Don’t worry, we’ll see how to wire a parallel LED circuit here, which should help connect the dots.

In a parallel circuit, all positive connections are tied together and returned to the LED driver’s positive output, while all negative connections are tied together and returned to the driver’s negative output.

Using the same example, each LED would receive 333mA; the total output of the driver (1000mA) divided by the number of parallel strings (3).

For your convenience, here are a few bullet points about parallel circuits:

– The voltage across each LED is the same.

– The total output current is shared by each parallel string.

– The total current is the sum of all of the currents flowing through the LEDs.

– Each parallel string must have exact voltages to avoid current hogging.

How to parallelize LED strips

Another option is to connect multiple LED strip sections together in “parallel.” This method entails building multiple runs of LED strip sections, each of which is directly connected to the power source.

Because each LED strip segment is directly connected to the power supply, the amount of current that must pass through it is reduced. This can greatly reduce the possibility of a voltage drop.

The main disadvantage of this strategy is that it requires additional wiring. The main problem is that most power supplies only have one positive and one negative output wire, so connecting to more than one LED strip section necessitates splitting that output into multiple wires.

For this purpose, special wire splitter terminal blocks are available.

Another issue is that some LED strip segments may be placed too far away from the power supply. Long wire lengths may not only be an extra expense in these cases, but they must also be the correct gauge. Otherwise, voltage loss in the cables before reaching the LED strip portion may occur.

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Is it possible to connect LED light strips from different manufacturers together?

As long as the LED light strips have the same voltage, you can connect them together.

Let’s say you’re trying to connect two voltage-varying strips. Because of the different voltage requirements for each strip, they simply will not work in that situation, and you risk damaging them – a waste of money.

When connecting them, you must also ensure that the polarity is properly aligned. Different brands of light strips may have slightly different polarities – make sure the positive connectors are aligned.

There should be a plus and minus symbol next to the copper pads to help you.

It’s also worth noting that different LED strip light brands can be produced at various quality levels. When you connect different brands of LED strips together, you may notice that one of them wears out faster or starts to dim.

Connecting LED strip lights from the same manufacturer is always the simplest and best option, even if it means foregoing a good deal on a lower-cost brand.

Considerations when connecting LED strips

When running parallel and series/parallel circuits, keep in mind that if an LED or string of LEDs burns out, the LED/string is removed from the circuit, and the extra current load that was going to that LED is distributed to the rest.

This isn’t a problem in larger arrays because the current is distributed more evenly, but what about a circuit with only two LEDs per string?

The remaining LED/current string would then be doubled, resulting in a higher load than the LED can handle, which would result in burnout and the destruction of your LED.

Keep this in mind at all times, and try to set up a system that will not destroy all of your LEDs if one of them burns out.

Another potential issue is that the forward voltage can vary by 20% even when LEDs from the same production batch and binning are used. The current is unequally divided due to varying voltages across separate strings.

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When one string consumes more current than another, the overdriven LEDs heat up and their forward voltages fluctuate, resulting in more unequal current sharing; this is referred to as thermal runaway. Many circuits set up in this manner have previously worked well, but caution is advised.

There are a few things to consider before starting your lighting project. Let me summarize.

When connecting multiple LED strip lights to a single power supply, make sure the power supply is rated for MORE watts than your strip lights setup requires.

Your power supply should be rated at least as high as the total wattage of the strips. Otherwise, you risk a voltage drop, which will cause the LEDs at the end to dim.

When it comes to the actual connections, an LED strip must always be cut from the copper connections located every few inches along the strip. Otherwise, some of the LED lights in the cut area may not work properly.

Use a heat shrink over the connectors to protect them, which differs for indoor and outdoor use. Electrical or insulating tape can also be used as an alternative.

The positive and negative of the strip must always match the negative and positive of the connector. RGB LED colored wires must match the connection dots labeled B, R, G, and 12 V.

Frequently Asked Questions:

#1. What are the parallel and series circuit’s similarities and differences?

All of the components in a series circuit are connected end to end, forming a single path for electrons to flow. All components in a parallel circuit are connected across each other, resulting in exactly two sets of electrically common points.

#2. Is a resistor required for each parallel LED?

Because LEDs are forward-biased diodes. When their junction voltage is crossed, they lose resistance and allow an excessive amount of current to flow. You don’t need a resistor to control the current; you need current control.

#3. What are the advantages of a parallel connection?

When LED strips are connected in parallel, there is no voltage division. The supplied voltage is equal to the potential difference between each LED strip. The total effective resistance of the circuit can be reduced by connecting LED strips in parallel.

Read more: Common Problems With LED Lights And How To Fix Them

Conclusion

In summary, we hope that this article has provided useful information as well as answers to frequently asked questions, allowing you to learn more about connecting LED strips in parallel.

It’s always a good idea to sketch out and plan your lighting project before purchasing anything. If you require assistance, please leave a comment and we will assist you.

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