Led strips are one of the oldest high power LED lighting applications around. they have been available for many years in Australia. The lighting effects of LED strips can be seen on our city buildings, around our houses at Christmas and in our gardens or pools.
What makes LED strip lights so versatile both indoors and outdoors is the low voltage and easy DIY installation. Use of double sided tape and a couple of connectors is all that is required to hook up to a transformer or car battery.
Strips are available in 24v but most commonly in 12v and can be supplied with waterproof LED drivers, making them suitable to be installed in outdoor areas. People drape them over trees, line pool fences and use them as a feature on awnings and verandahs. Low voltage garden cable can be used safely to run from a 12v DC power source. They are also perfectly suited for portable solar panels.
Indoors they are used in pelmets, under benches and in display cabinets. We have had people buy them to put around their home bars and pool tables or to back light recessed TV cabinets. They have also been used in cars to add some fun lighting effects for car enthusiasts and also outside cars, though there could be some legal ramifications with this, so check your local laws.
When looking into LED strip, you will come across some terminology regarding different types of strip. These different types generally refer to power used which is directly related to how bright the strip is. For most domestic applications 3528/60 strip is sufficient. This is generally 4.8w per metre strip (60 LEDs per metre). So a normal 5 meter reel is 24w in total power and therefore requires at least a 24w rated DC power supply.
3528 LED strip is available from the Planet LED website here.
5050 LED strip is quite a bit brighter and suitable for areas where you want to see the light from a long way off. Commercial buildings or retail shops might use this to back-light signs or highlight building features. 5050 strip is 14.4w at 60 LEDs per meter. So a standard 5 meter reel is 72w. 5050 LED strip is also often used for indirect decorative lighting such as when the strip is placed in a pelmet or facing toward a roof structure to highlight the perimeter of the area.
In addition to the above mentioned types there are the lesser used varieties of LED strip such as 120 LEDs per metre and 30 LEDs per metre in both 3528 and 5050 which alter the brightness of the strip at either end of the scale.
The most common colours of LED strip are white, warm white, red, green, blue and yellow and colour changing which is also referred to as RGB.