Can You Connect LED Strip Lights Together?

When LED strip lighting came out about 15 years ago, it took hobbyist’s imagination by the storm as they thought of ways to light up spaces with a romantic red, futuristic blue, or an edgy purple vibe.

LED strips are perhaps the most fan-favorite application of LED lighting projects. They have many uses and can instantly take the mood of the room to new places.

Since they’re in the form of thin, flexible stickable strips, they can go literally anywhere.

You can connect a number of LED strips together with the upper limit depending on the strip’s power output and your power source. Strip lights can be connected using connectors, cables or by soldering the connection joints.

Can Multiple Strip Lights Be Connected Together?

connected strips

You can easily connect two LED strip lights together, considering they come in reels with marked dotted lines for cutting the strips into the size needed.

These strips can then be joined in two ways: Using connectors or soldering the strips’ copper pads.

Using a sharp blade, you can strip away the protective plastic layer to expose the circuit connection dots on the LED strip, ready for connecting leads or connectors.

Can You Connect Different Brand LED Light Strips Together?

You can connect different brand LED light strips to each other, providing they have the same voltage.

Suppose you try to connect two strips with different voltages. In that case, they simply 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.

It’s worth noting that different LED strip lights brands can also be manufactured to various quality. If you decide to connect different brand LED strips, you might find that one wears out faster or begins to dim.

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.

Is It Safe To Connect Multiple Strip Lights?

high voltage sign

A no-brainer for safety is to always buy quality and certified products. Cheap LED strips connected in series are known to be a fire hazard as they use thin material that cannot withstand high currents and heats up very quickly.

Since LED strips are mounted on wood or plastic surfaces, the heat can be a real fire hazard.

Now considering you’re using an authentic product, there are still a few precautions.

As you might have a few different types of LED strips lying around that you want to connect, you must consider their differences.

For example, an RGB LED strip uses 3 times more power than a white LED strip.

Not all strip lights can be connected together as they can’t run on the same power source. The PSU and LED strip voltage have to match. There can be three ratings.

If your LED strip needs 5 Volts DC (VDC), your PSU needs to be 5 VDC. The same applies for 12V and 24V LED strips.

Apart from safety, you also need to think of the most cost-effective way to power your connected strips.

It’s not the most energy-effective technique connecting LED strips into one line and looping it back to the starting point to cover a rectangular ceiling.

A smart approach would be to place a power supply on one corner of the rectangular ceiling. Then, connect two LED strips in parallel from the power supply. Each strip runs along two sides of the rectangle, both ending on the opposite corner to the power supply.

In this way, you avoid using two power supplies and prevent voltage drop where strip lights towards the end of the chain are getting dimmer due to voltage drop.

I will cover the difference between connection in series and parallel a bit more later, but now let’s dig into how to safely connect multiple LED strips.

How To Connect Multiple LED Strip Lights Together

As I briefly said before, there are two main ways of connecting strips together.

The easy way is to use a strip connector, and the harder way (but not too much) is to solder the connection pads.

So, let’s start with the easy route first.

How To Connect LED Light Strips Using Connectors

white strips and rgb connector

There are a few connector types that you might need to use, depending on your requirements.

First is a simple connector clip with pins (Amazon) that is used for connecting continuously running LED strips using the 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 clip connectors often come in different shapes based on your needs to account for various corners and strip crossings.

Next is a connector with two clip pins on either side with cable in the middle (Amazon). This is used to extend two LED strips with an extra cable 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.

Just a word of caution, make sure that 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 cable in between is used to connecting LED strip to 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.

The beauty of strip connectors is that you simply place the light strip’s end into a designated space in the clip and align wires correctly.

Most of the clips are aligned to the strip setup, but it’s always best to double-check.

Here is the little video that shows how to connect two strips.

Speaking of different strips there is one thing you need to be aware of which is the difference when connecting white and RGB strips.

Do RGB LED Strip Lights Require Special Connectors?

RGB Strip light

If you’re connecting RGB LED strip lights, then you will need to buy specialist strip connectors. That’s because of the number of pins that each type of LED strip light has.

A simple white LED light strip has two pins, so you’ll need a connector designed for two pins. RGB strip lights have four pins, so make sure you buy strip connectors with the same four pins.

There is a third type of strip, too known as RGBW. These have a dedicated white chip. While RGB LED strips can create white color, they can’t get as pure white as an RGBW strip can.

RGBW strips have five pins so make sure you buy strip connectors with five pins.

How To Connect LED Strips Without Connector?

soldering equipment

As I said before, it is actually possible to connect LED strips without a connector.

You can solder some joints! You can use soldering irons to solder the voltage and red, green, and blue pins to the next wiring.

In fact, soldered connections are more mechanically sturdier and can carry more efficiency through extensions.

It is therefore recommended to solder the connections if you are using too much current.

Moreover, if the LED is a particularly high brightness one, then some connector wires are not suitable due to the strip’s high powered output.

So given that you have the skill and equipment to solder, you might even prefer to solder if your strip will especially be running high current.

After that, cover with a heat shrink, protect the joints, or use the electrical tape to cover the joints.

Should You Connect LED Strips In Series Or Parallel?

To answer this question, it’s best to start by explaining the difference between a series and a parallel circuit.

In a series circuit, your light strips will be connected end-to-end directly. The power supply will only plug directly into the first LED strip in the chain.

In these circuits, the current is constant while the voltage is divided between the LEDs.

This means that you might not get the same brightness throughout the circuit, and you’ll need to make sure the power source you use is a constant current one. Also, if one of the strips in your series fails, the whole circuit will stop working.

In contrast, a parallel circuit has each strip wired to the power source. This means that the current is split between each strip, but the voltage is equal. These are trickier to install in the first place, but if one of your strips fails, the others will stay lit.

However, the current will instead be diverted. If you’ve connected multiple strips, then it shouldn’t be an issue. Still, if you’ve used a parallel circuit for just two strips when one fails, it means the current is doubled for the other strip, which can cause it to burn out too.

If you want consistent lighting, then a series connection is best. Still, you would need a very high constant current driver for longer connections to ensure there was no dip in performance. If you lose one strip, you’ll get no lighting until it’s replaced.

For complex circuits with lots of LEDs, a parallel circuit will be harder to install but will stay partially lit if a strip fails.

How Many LED Strip Lights Can I Connect Into Chain To One Power Supply?

dc power supply

Using too many strips can max out the driver in the circuit and cut your driver’s lifespan, and thus your LED strip, in half.

So be very cautious about choosing the correct number of strips and the right corresponding power supply unit.

Here’s a general rule to use, considering you have some information about your LED strips and power supply.

You can calculate that by multiplying the watts per meter of your strip, into the length of the strip you are powering.

Then, choose a power supply rated for about 20% MORE than that amount.

Let’s suppose you have a 60W power source. It is highly advised to leave a headroom of 10 to 20% of unused power, so you can assume you can draw 54W from this power supply unit (PSU), taking away 10%.

Now, calculate the watts used by each strip by multiplying the strip’s length into the watts per foot of the LED.

The watts per foot information is typically listed on the product page or specification sheet.

Divide that total into 54 to determine the number of strips you can use.

Nevertheless, the exact number of LED light strips you can connect together will always depend on the exact specifications of the devices you have.

MOST manufacturers recommend a maximum of 2 to 3 strips to power by one PSU.

I have also made a simple calculator for you to help you out with maths. Enjoy.

What’s important to know is that with each addition of an LED strip, the power supply rating needs to be ramped up.

Your LED strip will only draw the power it needs from the PSU, and not more. And since it won’t have to work so hard to draw power, your setup will generate less heat and last longer.

Else the high power being drawn into the strip can cause damage.

One telling sign that your power supply isn’t enough or that you’ve connected too many strips is that down the strip, your LEDs will become dimmer and dimmer, known as voltage drop.

In addition to the current regulation, if the LED strips’ power is high due to more LEDs per meter or high output LEDs per meter, you need to limit the total length of connected strips.

Here’s a specific example:

If the LED has 4.8 Watts per meter strip, it is advised to power a maximum of 10 meters in a single line for 60W supply, and for 9.6 watts per meter strip, you should only power 5 meters.

Things To Keep In Mind When Connecting LED Strips

There are a couple of things to watch out for when starting your lighting project. I have already pointed out most of them, so before I wrap it up, let me just summarize.

When connecting many LED strip lights to one power supply, it is crucial to use a rated power supply for MORE watts than your strip lights setup require.

Your power supply should not be rated less than or the same as the combined strip wattage. Otherwise, you run a risk of experiencing a voltage drop where LEDs at the end are dim.

Getting into the actual connections, you must always cut an LED strip from the copper connections located every couple of inches on the strip. If not, then some of the LED lights in the cut area may not work.

Make sure to use a heat shrink over the connectors to protect them, which are different for indoor and outdoor uses. Alternatively, you can also use electrical or insulating tape.

The positive and negative of the strip has to always match the negative and positive of the connector. In RGB LEDs, the colored wires have to match the connection dots labeled B, R, G, and 12 V, as I said before.

Final Words

It’s always a good idea to draw out and plan your lighting project before you purchase anything.

You might find that you may not need to connect as many LED strips end-to-end, and you are better off using connector cables to extend the length in some places.

Share with me any projects you have undertaken.

Have you used connectors or soldered joints to connect LED strips?

Where are you planning to use LED strip lights?

19 thoughts on “Can You Connect LED Strip Lights Together?”

  1. I want to buy an extra strip for my smart led lights. Is it just the power supply that is smart, or do I need to buy a special light strip

    • Hi Scott,

      Thanks for getting in touch. There is a controller that controls the strip and makes it “smart” but it is not the power supply. Ideally you want to stick to the same brand of strip lights and same type.

      Eugen

  2. I used a connector to connect 2 led strips, of the same brand together. The problem is the original strip can make all the pretty colors but the connected strips only will turn red and green. Blue is not working…which is probably needed to make all the other colors. What do you think may be wrong. I know I connected RGB from one cut end to RGB to the new set.

    • The only thing that comes to my mind is that the internal wire within the connector is somewhat damaged so the signal is interrupted for the blue node if the rest works fine.

      Eugen

  3. Hi
    I am looking at purchasing LED’s to run around the walls of a room so I will need 20 metres. Will I be ok to connect to sets of 10 metres together if they are the same brand? Complete amateur!

    • Hi Kate,

      20 meters is quite a lot. In theory yes, it is possible, practically you need to calculate the total wattage of the strip set up which I have covered in the article, and then see if you can find the powerful enough source that can handle the load.

      Eugen

  4. Hi, I have 2 power sockets, 240v each. Intending to power the front garden and back garden separately. I understand the limitations as above. Is it possible to use power splitters to power 3 or 4 strips from one PSU? Up to 20m in total within the wattage range?

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for reaching out, If I am honest I have never come across this type of set up so it is hard to tell unless you test it out first. Sorry cannot be much of the help. In theory, I don’t see a reason why this set up wouldn’t work as long as it it within the total wattage range, but as you know there are always some culprits in any DIY projects.

      Maybe some other readers can help.

      Eugen

  5. Hello Eugen,
    Thank you for this information.

    If I want to connect 2 strips together- but span a longer distance than the connector wire – such as connecting 2 kitchen cabinets together but over a stove or sink- distance of 10+ feet from the end of one strip to the other- can you just splice the connector and add additional wiring? Or can you buy custom length longer connectors for this purpose?
    thank you

    • Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for reaching out. I am not sure I have seen the connector of that length, but I am sure you can even make one yourself. Just pick a long enough cable in nearest DIY store and use connectors at each end. You can even solder the cable directly to strip lights if you feel confident enough.

      Eugen

  6. Our power supply doesn’t give the wattage. It just says:
    INPUT AC: 100-240V-1.5A-50/60 HZ
    OUTPUT: 12V———3A
    EFFICIENCY LEVEL: IV

    Then on the control box:
    INPUT VOLTAGE: DC12V-24V
    OUTPUT CURRENT: 6A (MAX)

    The strips are 16.4 ft (5-ish meters) and come two to a box. The control box has two leads as well, so it makes sense that the package is made to control what comes in the box.

    Also, the packaging states, “ The LED strips must not exceed 5 meters when used in a DC series circuit.”

    Given this information, I assume I should not extend the lights. But I would still like to know the wattage to see if I could. Of course, the instructions do you say not to do it.

    • Hi Nick,

      The formula to calculate wattage is voltage x amps in this case it will be 12*3=36W. So your power adapter will be able to power up to 36W of strip lights. So get the total wattage of the strip lights and you will see if it will work or not.

      Hope this helps.
      Eugen

      • Thanks! I decided to keep it as designed and hung ‘em in tandem on opposing corners leading toward each opposite corner.

  7. I would like to cut and solder my LED strip lights together to put them in my room. I want them to go up the wall, across and then back down again. I have bought the lights in the link below. My main concern is that the copper connection points have six pins per connection. If I were to cut and solder them, would I need to connect six points instead of four? I am also wondering what wire I should use. I have 1.5mm house cabling (twin & earth). If I stripped that down, would that be fine to use or would I have to buy specific cabling for it? Thank you.

    https://www.kogan.com/au/buy/kogan-smarterhome-rgb-cool-warm-white-smart-led-light-strip-5m/

    • Hi Cody,

      I think manufacturer would be the best to answer your concern about the pins. However, here is my take. I would connect all 6 pins as I think that some of those don’t just pass light up the strip light, but also transfers the commands you give through the app. In other words, smart information. But double check with the manufacturer. On the other note, you don’t need any special wiring for connecting strip lights, so you would get away with stripping down the old wire.

      Eugen

  8. Are all LED strips standard and compatible to interconnect with each other or are they manufactures specific? Should I buy a kit or can I buy strips, PSU and WiFi/Alexa/etc control unit separately? Are strips rated to specific voltage depending on length or they all the same and only wattage of PSU at the same voltage depending on a total strip length that makes a difference?

    There are so many options with prices variations of multiple times, it’s hard to make an informative choice.

    • Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for reaching out. To answer your question, LED strip lights are not equal. This means, that you need to connect together strip lights based on the voltage. So 12V strip lights should be connected together as well as 24V strip lights. You don’t need to buy a kit with strip lights, and you can buy parts separately, just make sure they are the same type otherwise you will run into troubles connecting them (different width of the strips etc..). I would suggest you to get the same brand of strips to connect to avoid any hassle. In terms of PSU you can get it separately, just make sure to check if the total strips wattage does not exceed 80% of PSU wattage as well as voltage is equal to the voltage of your strips eg 12V or 24V.

      Hope this helps.
      Eugen

  9. I want to place LED Lights on the outside of my home across the front of my house is 120 ft pulse i would like to go down the side on both sides 20 ft. total of 160ft. What is the best LED Lights/Multi-color string and what power supply do I need for that distance.
    Thanks,
    Wayne

    • Hi Wayne,

      THanks for leaving a comment and question. In all fairness I would probably approach it slightly differently. The reason for that is 160 ft is a lot for a single power unit to feed. What I would do is break it into smaller chunks of 3 or maybe even 4 groups and power each of them with the unit. You can use the calculator I have made to determine what power supply you need.

      Generally, I dont have any best recommendation for it, but I would definitely aim for strips that are weather resistant and before you buy any think about where they will be placed and how you install them.

      Also if you decide with the multiple power units set up, I would go for smart led strips and group them together via the smartphone so when they work they are in sync.

      Hope that helps.

      Eugen

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