LED light strips come in different colors, are very bright, are inexpensive, and have become quite popular for use in all sorts of situations. Mount them under kitchen cabinets, in a bedroom, in a garage, in a basement, in a closet, or even in an RV.
They’re great for dorms and apartments because they don’t have to be electrically installed, are easy to take down, and create ambiance wherever you choose to place them.
These LED strips usually come in a 12 Volt size, so they require a constant 12VDC input. This is important when you’re connecting multiple LED strips to a single power source. You want that power source to be able to handle all of the Lumens requirements. Luckily, a 12VDC input is a very low voltage. Even on boats or cars, such a low voltage isn’t a huge power drain.
LED strip lights do not take up a lot of power. You’ll notice that the lights themselves are known as 5050 LEDs, which means you get a lot of brightness without altering the temperature control and dealing with heat.
How to Connect Multiple LED Strips to One Power Source
Determine Your LED Lighting Density
The white color variety does come in two densities: standard density lighting and high density for brightness. The standard have 30 and the high density have 60 LEDs per meter. This is an important distinction because the high-density strips do take more wattage, thus changing the surge-protected power source requirements.
Colored LEDs are typically all standard density, but you might want to check and make sure that all of the LED strips you’re using match in density. If you’ve chosen high-density LED lighting, then you’ll want to factor its wattage into your final calculations.
Many LED light strip manufacturers allow you to customize the strip length by cutting. You can also purchase connectors to string multiple strips together to create continuous lighting.
Calculate Your LED Strip Wattage
Let’s say that you’ve mounted several LED light strips underneath your kitchen cabinets. You have all of your other small appliances taking up outlet space so, how do you connect all of these strips to a single power source?
Once you’ve determined that your outlet can handle the 12VDC input, you’ll want to find the wattage per foot or meter of each LED strip. You can find this information from the LED light strip packaging or by contacting the manufacturer.
For standard density 12 Volt LED strips that have 30 LEDs per meter, each 5 meter length would have 27 watts of power, or approximately 2.4 watts per foot. Measure your LED strips to determine how many feet are mounted underneath the cabinets. Then, you can use this formula of 2.4 watts per foot to find the total wattage.
After you’ve found your wattage, that is going to be the number your power supply will have to source for all of the LED light strips to be able to function.
Purchase Your Power Supply
Now that you know the watts, you can purchase a suitable power supply. One of the most popular is a brick style adapter, similar to the ones used by laptops.
You can search for them online or at LED strip supply manufacturers. They are the easiest option because you just mount the LED strips and then plug them directly into the adapter, which goes into the wall outlet. You’ll be connecting your strips using barrel plugs, either a male or female depending on what kind of strip you’re using.
A second option is to use a power supply designed for hard wiring. It connects directly to the electricity source wiring in your home and outputs the much lower DC voltage for your LED strips. This would also require much more professional installation.
A strip splitter also comes in handy when connecting these multiple strips to just one power supply. They plug into the male plug of the power adapter and then split into four outputs for four different strips.
Getting back to our kitchen example, you’d plug the power adapter into the outlet, use a strip splitter, and have those four standard density LED strips all feeding off the same surge protected power source – and illuminating your cabinets and counter space.
Thanks to strip splitters and power adapters, you can also set up a whole LED lighting system complete with color changing lights and even a dimmer. They’ll provide extra ambiance wherever you choose to mount them.