Connecting LED strips: explained step by step

Connecting LED strips: explained step by step

With LED strips you provide individual lighting in your home. They are easy to install and can be combined and attached according to your wishes – for example by connecting two or more LED strips together. We'll show you step by step how to do it.

Not all LED strips can be cut to size

Important: You cannot cut all LED strips into several parts. You can find information on this on the packaging or in the operating instructions. If cutting is possible with your model, look for a small knife or scissors symbol on the LED strip: You may only cut at these points – otherwise you will render the LED strip unusable.

How do I connect LED strips together?

To connect LED strips together, you have two options: you can solder them together or use a connector. If you solder, you must first tin the wires. Then you line up the wires and solder them together. If you're using a connector, you line up the wires and insert them into the connector. You can find out exactly how both work in the following.

Cut LED strips

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Only cut at the marked points! Image: © AdobeStock/demarco 2022

A sure instinct is required here. First, cut the LED strip to the desired length with a sharp knife or scissors – follow the cutting marks on the strip. Make sure the ends are cut straight and clean. Then you connect the strips together.

LED strips connect by soldering

If you have already soldered, you can connect LED strips in just a few minutes. If you have no experience with soldering, it is better to use connectors. You can find out how to do this below.

How to solder two LED strips together:

  1. There are two or more small circles at the intersections of the LED strips: these are the soldering points. Rough them up gently with sandpaper.
  2. Tin the solder joints so that a small ball of solder sits on top of each circular post.
  3. Take a piece of insulated wire and strip away a few millimeters of insulation from both ends.
  4. Solder the piece of wire to the positive terminal of one strip. This is usually marked with a plus. Solder the other side of the insulating wire to the positive terminal of the other strip.
  5. Repeat this step for the negative terminals of both strips (minus).
    Note: Multi-color RGB strips also have multiple connectors. You connect these models using the same principle: solder a wire between two identical terminals of the LED strip to connect them.
  6. Tape the junction of the two LED strips with tape or shrink tubing to insulate them.

This way you can create a safe and reliable connection between two LED strips. This method also works with two strips from different manufacturers – provided they are of the same type, for example two pure white or two RGB strips.

Couple LED strips with a connector

To connect two LED strips together without having to solder, you can use a connector. Such plugs are included with most LED strips. They are either clicked in or screwed in.

There are different types of connectors:

  • The most common type is the two-pin plug, used for example for 12 volt strips. These LED strips usually only provide white light.
  • There are also three-pin plugs for 24-volt strips. The three-pin connector is mostly used with RGB strips.
  • RGBW strips (i.e. RGB and white) require a four-pin connector.

Are there no connectors with your LED strip, do you need new ones or don't have enough? You can also buy them later – just make sure you choose the right type.

How to connect two LED strips with a connector:

Note: The exact procedure differs from model to model. We explain the connection using a click connector as an example.

  1. Place the two LED strips next to each other.
  2. Open the click connector and place it between the two ends of the LED strips.
  3. Insert the end of one strip into the connector so that it touches the exposed metal contacts on its side.
  4. Slide the other strip into the connector so that it touches the contacts on its side. The two strips should each take up half of the space in the connector.
  5. Fold the click connector shut and gently press until it clicks into place.

Great effect: indirect lighting with LED strips

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LED strips create atmospheric effects if you place them correctly. Image: © Unsplash/Zishan khan 2022

LED strips are great for indirect lighting. This is especially true when you work with cuttable strips that can be individually coupled. So you can hide them almost anywhere to create a certain lighting mood inconspicuously but purposefully.

By installing LED strips under cupboards, in niches or along cornices, you create the right ambience in every room. This type of indirect lighting creates great effects: it can highlight works of art, illuminate dark corners or simply create a soft and relaxing light.

Summary: Connect multiple LED strips

  • You can connect two LED strips together by soldering them. For this you should have manual skills and some experience in soldering.
  • Alternatively, you can use a connector to couple multiple LED strips. Either use the plugs that come with your LED strips or buy new ones that match the type of LED strip you have.
  • With individually tailored LED strips, you provide indirect lighting and thus create a softer, less glaring light than with normal lamps. This is ideal, for example, for the tasteful lighting of shelves and behind furniture.
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