Whether you want to brighten your kitchen cabinets or backlight your TV, LED strip lights have a solution for everything. LED strips are popular because of their versatility. They are made up of a sequence of LED emitters mounted on a small, flexible circuit board.
There is just one reason to be concerned. The majority of LED strips are sold in long reels ranging in length from 3ft to 16ft. Will they continue to function if they are reduced in size?
If you cut an LED strip, will it still work?
Yes, LED strip lights will continue to work after being cut as long as you cut along the marked lines. Because LED strips are made up of numerous distinct circuits, each cut line marks the end of one circuit and the beginning of another. Cutting somewhere else on the LED strip will cause that circuit, and maybe the entire strip, to fail.
Cutting a straight line appears to be a straightforward task, doesn’t it? You’d be astonished how many folks get it incorrectly and ruin perfectly nice lights.
Continue reading for a step-by-step explanation on how to cut LED strip lights, reconnect two distinct pieces, and what to do if everything goes wrong.
Can You Cut LED Strip Lights?
When it comes to LED strip lights, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all.” However, whether you require flexible or stiff lights, monochrome or RGB, waterproof or non-waterproof, most LED strips will have one thing in common… they can be trimmed to specific lengths.
Straight or dotted black lines will be spaced at regular intervals across each LED strip.
Because the circuits are completely closed at these spots, these are the safest places to cut your LEDs without causing damage.
Each LED strip will have its own set of cutting lines. They’re normally every three LEDs as a general rule. If there are 30 LEDs per meter, for example, the cutting lines will normally be every 10cm.
Copper soldering pads should make a symmetrical pattern on each side of the black cutting line. Locating these copper pads is a useful tip for verifying that you’ve accurately identified the cutting line.
Will both sides still function if you cut them?
The quick answer is that after you cut your LED strip light, both sides will work.
The reason for this is due to the cutting sites. As I previously stated, the cutting point provides a safe location to break the circuit without permanently harming it.
Each segment between the cutting points has its own circuit, thus it doesn’t matter which cutting point you pick as long as this is the sole spot where the cut is made.
This is really fantastic news because you don’t produce any extra garbage and you can still reuse the other half.
How to Safely Cut a Strip Light?
Changing the length of your LED strip lights is a simple process. Here’s my step-by-step procedure.
Begin by testing your lights to ensure they are operational. Although it may appear obvious, cutting or soldering lights will usually void your warranty, so it’s best to double-check.
Next, you’ll need to figure out how long your LED strip should be. To begin, determine where you want the lights to be installed. Be as precise as possible with this. Then, on your LED strip, find the cutting line that is closest to this length measurement.
Using a sharp knife or pair of scissors, cut exactly along the cutting line. Take your time and keep in mind that LED strips are made to be cut, so you won’t get shocked.
You’ll also need to figure out how you’ll connect the strip to the power supply. Most reels come with a pre-installed socket, but cutting the LED strip removes it, so you’ll need to replace it.
You can solder a new socket onto the strip or use a strip power source connector (Amazon).
Is it possible to reconnect a cut-off LED strip?
What happens if the strip is clipped too short? Can the two sections be reconnected, or do you need to purchase a new strip?
LED strips can be rejoined if you cut along the proper cutting line, but more on that later. There are several techniques you can take to link the two strips of lights.
By far the simplest is to utilize a connector. Connectors are widely available from merchants such as Amazon, and they come in a variety of shapes, including right angles and T-tap.
How to Reconnect Strip Lights?
Here is a very basic guide, however I have an in-depth article that addresses all of your questions regarding connecting LED strip lights, so make sure to read it.
Strip connectors are the most convenient solution because they do not require any tools. Begin by removing the clear plastic covering the copper pads with a knife.
Then, just slide the strip into the connector, making sure that the components match.
The second way is to solder directly to the strip with an iron and old wires. Directly melt the solder onto the copper dots to generate a tiny puddle and align the polarity.
The negative mark should be aligned with the black wire, and the positive mark should be aligned with the red line.
Wire strippers should be used to remove around half an inch of casing from the ends of your wires. Twist the wire end to connect all of the frayed ends and connect the wires to the solder puddles.
After you’ve created a connection, you may test your strip lights by plugging them into a power source. Voila! It’s as simple as that.
LED Strip Not Working After Cutting Troubleshooting Guide
Customizing the length of your LED strips may appear simple, but mistakes might occur.
Check to see if your LEDs were designed to be sliced if they aren’t operating after being cut.
If they weren’t, but you still cut them, the damage has been done. The circuit in these lights runs continuously across their whole length, thus cutting it would have resulted in irreversible harm.
If your strip was designed to be cut, the second step is to ensure you’ve cut in the correct location.
Cutting outside of the cutting line will kill that individual circuit, thus you must return to the closest cutting line.
There are several other difficulties to be aware of, although they are not directly related to the cut, but rather to the process of connecting strips together.
A voltage drop is causing your LED strip configuration to work but be a different shade of brightness at each end.
In general, 12V LED strips should not be longer than 10 feet, and 24V LED strips should not be longer than 15 feet. Voltage dips can be avoided by shortening the length of the strip per power supply.
Alternatively, if your RGB LED strips aren’t changing color, it’s possible that you misaligned the polarities while connecting them. Simply flip your strip around and reconnect it to fix this.
So there you have it. LED strip lights can be adjusted to match the needs of any installation, large or small.
So it’s no surprise that they’re quickly becoming the most popular type of LED lighting.
If you’re still unsure, you can have LED strip lights cut by an expert, but if you follow my guide, there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Have you ever attempted to cut LED strips? Which do you prefer: a soldering iron or connectors? I’m curious which method you liked most.