RGB Color LED Lighting Tutorial
The operating principle is simple. Color changes are achieved by mixing 3 primary colors. Red, green and blue. Hence the abbreviation RGB for R (red-red), G (green-green) and B (blue-blue). The RGB flexible LEDs contain these 3 primary colors.
It is the RGB controller that is in charge of mixing them in order to obtain other colors. It’s a bit like the conductor.
To operate, the RGB controller needs to be powered. It is therefore necessary to add a special LED power supply. This is regulated and stabilized. It connects to the 220V mains and delivers a 12 or 24 volt direct current (depending on the model chosen), avoiding any power on or under voltage.
RGB lighting is therefore composed of 3 elements:
- The flexible led strip RGB
- The RGB controller
- Special led power supply
How to choose controller and RGB LED strip?
One question: How many meters of flexible RGB LED strip will I have to feed?
The length of the flexible RGB led strip to be powered will condition the choice of RGB led controller and special led power supply. The more length you have, the more power you need.
The calculation is very simple. In the technical data of the RGB flexible LED strips, you have consumption per meter. The majority of our flexible RGB LEDs consume 7.2W per meter.
If you want to power 5 meters of flexible RGB led strip, the calculation is as follows:
5 (the length of flexible RGB LED to power) x 7.2 (consumption per meter) = 36 watts (power required)
Therefore, you need an RGB led controller and a special led power supply with a minimum power of 36W (it is always good to provide an additional power margin of 10% for the special LED power supply).
Today, the use of LED strips for lighting is spreading thanks to the great variety of models, powers and existing formats, and to their increasingly yields are higher and have greater efficiency, allowing you to perform lots of different applications, as simply decorative lighting, but also as general lighting, environmental, architectural, integrated in furniture , etc.
Installing LED strips, a good installation, is not complex, just have a basic knowledge of electricity and be a little handyman, methodical and careful with the installation so that the result is the expected and desired. It is best to leave the installation carried out by a professional, but if the installation is not complex or extensive, you can do it yourself.
We will then give you some tips so that they serve as a guide for installation with LED strips.
1. Install LED Strips: Design Installation
Prior to installation, the planning phase is very important. At this stage you must define what you want, how you want, and what materials and products are to be clarified.
You must define before installing led, which strips, voltage power strips and with characteristics that we want them, how much light we want to give, it should be different according to where they are to be mounted.
When you have chosen the desired LED Strip model, will have to calculate the total Strip length or Strip will need to perform the installation. This is very important since we will have to make the calculation of power consumption of the installation, to choose the source or adequate power supplies. The choice of a not appropriate source can cause the system is not operating properly.
Another key factor to consider to install led strips is the total length of this model of strip that can be installed in series (followed). This point is important since it will define the wiring diagram to perform, and in turn guarantees us, if we follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, there will be no voltage drop along the Strip by excess of meters placed in series, all LEDs will look alike, with the same intensity and homogeneous way.
2. Install LED Strips: Choose Power Supplies
To choose the appropriate power source, you have to know the total power to connect to the source. You have found that if the power strips installed total is, for example, 50W, the source must be at least 60W, since many of the existing sources have performance that is usually not greater than 85%. This means that we should the least leave a margin to 20%, even 30% better source. In this way we avoid that supply must always work at maximum capacity, extending its life.
Equally, and because of the multiple irregularities, that although it should not be so, tends to have electric supply companies, wide input range power supplies are recommended, so that they can absorb without problems possible voltage peaks. Therefore we recommend the use of sources Meanwell, especially its range HLG.
On the other hand is recommended that the power supply is installed in a ventilated place allowing the proper heat dissipation that can eventually generate to lengthen its life.
The distance from the source to the strips also is a factor to consider, especially when the installation work to DC12v, since there is considerable distance between the source and the strips, we can suffer voltage, drop, which will make the system is not operating as it should. Depending on the distance, will have to calculate the cross section of wiring used in installation, to alleviate, if necessary, such possible voltage drop. Today there are mobile apps and tablets that will help us to make this calculation.
In reference to the sources finally added that sometimes the technical data are given in amperes. The formula for calculating the power if we know the voltage and amperage of a team is very simple:
Power=amperage by voltage
3. Install LED Strips: Connection
The installation and connection of strips LED can be done in various ways, and varies depending on the size of the facility, the number of sources and precise equipment to be used, if this facility is monochrome, RGB, or variable color temperature or if it will or not regulated.
Very important: must be taken into account and always keep the polarity connections. Reverse the polarity may result in malfunction or non-functioning of the installation.
Here are some schemes of possible types of connection.
Basic installation scheme, without regulation
There are more possibilities of connection to install LED strips, depending on the size of the facility to highlight, since if the installation is very large, may require the use of more sources of power and signal amplifiers in the event that a regulated one-colour installation or an installation RGB. In these cases, the basics to keep in mind are the same as those described so far: power strips, amp or power sources, power drivers and/or repeaters, maintain excess margin of 20% approximately of power not used in power supplies and controllers, to always maintain the polarity.
4. Install LED Strips: Materials And Finishes
Performing an installation, it is advisable, but essential, mounted on mounting plate or aluminium profile strips. Led strips, although not to generate too much heat for their performance, the oco general is must be dissipated from the PCB, especially on those strips of higher power. Currently there are strips ranging the 4W to the 45W per linear metre. We recommend that all those strips whose power exceeds 9W be always mounted on aluminium. The density of aluminium or profile model will depend on the power strip.Otherwise, we run the risk that strip is damaged soon after use, especially in power greater than 20W per linear metre.
On the other hand, we do not recommend installation of led strips in which the LED spot see directly, for several reasons, among them:
-Visual discomfort: led strips can be upsetting to the eye and cause glare. Many commercial establishments have built-in led strips directly counters and showcases, as, without profiles or diffusers, which in part of an unsightly solution, is annoying in sight.
-Aesthetic and finishes: a well-made installation with LED strips is one in which there are wires or connections, which will enjoy the benefits of light, without seeing the light source, or without be bothered at the sight. The installation must be well integrated into the environment and the space in which it is performed, whether in furniture, cornices, ceilings, floors, etc.
On the other hand, apart from see the wiring and the point led directly if diffusers, and aluminium are not used is also view the PCB with all the printed circuit, resistors, etc., which is not very aesthetic to say.
To do so there and we have a wide range of aluminium profiles and diffusers for led strips. There are even different models of linear optics. We strongly recommend its use. The profiles are available in a multitude of formats and measures, in order to fit any possible need, use, application or installation requirements.
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