LED strips are the most fan-favorite application of LED lighting projects. They have many uses and can instantly take the room’s mood to new places.
But one LED strip might not be long enough for your needs. You may need to connect multiple led strip lights together.
Here’s how to connect LED light strips with a connector:
- Make sure you buy the right connector for your strips – it needs the same amount of pins and must suit the location (straight, angled for corners, or with a wire in between)
- Open up the LED light strip clips on the connector
- Place the light strips into the connector, ensuring the pins touch the connector pins.
- Close the connector clips to hold the two light strips in place.
In this guide, we’ll look in more detail at:
- How to connect multiple LED strip lights together (with and without connectors)
- Whether you can connect multiple LED strip lights together from different brands
- How many LED light strips you can connect together
How To Connect Multiple LED Strip Lights Together
There are two main ways you can connect LED strip lights together.
You can either use a connector, or you can solder the LED light strips together yourself. Using a connector is much easier, but solder offers a better quality connection, provided you’re skilled enough to do it well.
Connecting Multiple LED Strips With Connectors
Connecting LED strip lights together using an existing connector is really easy – you just clip each LED strip into each end of the connector. The challenge is making sure you choose the right connector for the strips (as the number of pins varies), and the right type for where the strips are connected.
Regarding the pins – white LED strip lights will have two copper connectors, while RGB lights have four. RGBW – colored LED light strips that can also create pure white – tend to have five.
So, make sure you choose a connector with the matching number of pins for your light strips. No, you can’t mix a five-pin strip light with a two-pin one, or any other cross-combination.
Here is the little video that shows how to connect two strips.
First is a simple connector clip with pins (Amazon) that is used for connecting continuously running LED strips using copper markings.
This type of connector is great when you want to make the connection invisible, leaving the impression that it is one long chain of light strips.
The connectors often come in different shapes to account for various corners and strip crossings.
Next is a connector with two clip pins on either side with a cable in the middle (Amazon). This extends two LED strips with an extra line to use around corners or angles.
If you have the heating pipe in the room, as I do, the connector with wire will be a great option to bypass the obstacle.
Ensure the connecting cable does not directly touch the pipe, as you can get the strip setup seriously damaged.
Lastly, a connector that has only one clip on the side (Amazon) and an exposed wire on the other with a cable in between is used to connect LED strips to a power supply unit (PSU).
Alternatively, you can use it to connect to the RGB controller and then to the power source if you want to remotely control the setup.
How To Connect LED Strips Without Connectors?
You can connect multiple LED strip lights together using solder, provided you have the equipment and skill. The connecting pins are small, so need precision work – just solder the corresponding pins on each strip light together. Then cover the connection with a heat shrink or electrical tape to protect it.
Soldered connections are mechanically sturdier and can carry more efficiency through extensions.
Moreover, if the LED is a particularly high brightness one, some connector wires are unsuitable due to the strip’s high-powered output.
While most household strip lights will work fine with a connector, it’s worth considering soldering LED strips if you’re using 24-volt strips over a longer distance.
Can You Connect Different Brand LED Light Strips Together?
It’s always easiest and best to connect LED strip lights manufactured by the same company, even if it means passing up a cheap deal on a lower-priced brand. However, it is possible to connect different brands of LED light strips to each other, provided they have the same voltage.
Suppose you try to connect two strips with different voltages. In that case, they won’t work due to different voltage requirements for each strip, and you risk damaging them – a waste of money.
You also need to make sure that, when you connect them, you properly align the polarity.
Different brand light strips could have the polarity wired slightly differently – ensure that the positive connectors are aligned.
You should see a plus and minus symbol next to the copper pads to direct you.
Different LED strip light brands can also be manufactured to various qualities.
So, if you decide to connect different brand LEDs, you might find that one wears out faster or begins to dim.
How Many LED Strips Can I Connect Together?
The amount of LED strip lights you can connect together depends on the wattage of the power supply. You shouldn’t exceed 80% of your power supply’s wattage capacity – so with a 60-watt power supply, you can safely connect up to 48 watts of strip lights.
So if you’re looking to connect strip lights that use 4.8 watts per meter, and each strip light is 5 meters long, you shouldn’t connect more than two together – as they will use a total of 48 watts (4.8 watts x 10 meters total).
I have also made a simple calculator to help you with maths. Enjoy.
Most manufacturers recommend a maximum of 2 to 3 strips to be powered by one PSU.
Too many strips can max out the driver in the circuit and cut your driver’s lifespan, and thus your LED strip, in half.
If you want more LED strip lights than your power supply can accommodate, use a second (or even a third) power supply for some of the lights.
Share the load between them.
With each light strip you add to a single power supply, the more capacity you’re drawing from it, which means more heat. This, in turn, means it shortens the lifespan of your strip lights.
In an ideal world, each strip light would have its own power supply to minimize the heat used (as they only draw the power they need).
But in reality, that’s not usually convenient – you don’t want trailing wires every few meters as each new strip is connected to an outlet separately.
How To Reconnect Cut LED Strips Without Connectors?
You can reconnect cut LED strip lights with solder if you don’t have a suitable connector. Just make sure to line up the pins (checking the polarity), and then solder the exposed connectors together.
You need to be precise – any solder from nearby pins touching will cause the circuit to fail.
Do RGB LED Strip Lights Require Special Connectors?
Yes, RGB strip lights have four copper connection dots labeled with corresponding RGB letter, compared to two connectors on white strip lights. Make sure you buy a strip connector with four pins if you’re connecting RGB strip lights together. RGBW strips use five pins.
Connecting LED strips together that offer different color capabilities – so RGB with RGBW or white with RGB – isn’t possible, so don’t try.
Is It Safe To Connect Multiple Strip Lights?
It’s safe to connect multiple LED light strips together, provided you match the voltage and you don’t exceed 80% of the wattage capacity of your power supply. Most LED strip lights use 12 volts, but some use a lower 5V while others use 24V – they have to match.
If they don’t match, then you risk pulling too high a current through a strip light that isn’t designed for it, which could cause it to seriously overheat and become a fire hazard. Cheap LED strips are also more at risk of fire as they can’t withstand high currents.
Should You Connect LED Strips In Series Or Parallel?
A parallel circuit – where each strip is wired directly to the power supply – will always be more reliable. It lowers the chance of voltage drop, which can cause dimming, and it means that if one LED strip fails, the rest still works.
However, it is not always feasible, especially with simple domestic strip light setups.
Wiring LED lights in series (chained together, with one power supply at one end of the circuit) will usually be fine as long as you don’t exceed 80% of the wattage capacity of the PSU. Definitely use a parallel circuit for industrial or commercial space, though.
Connecting LED strip lights together doesn’t have to be a complex job, but you should always check that you’re not overloading a power supply and that the strips are compatible.
Ideally, connect multiple LED strips from the same brand since that makes it easier.
Use strip connectors if you’re not confident enough to solder two LED light strips together, and just make sure to choose the right one for your LED strips.
And check that you have the right power supply (including voltage) for the task.