Conventional 12 Volt Rope Light
Review And Installation Tips

Old 12 volt rope light has the type of warm and rich glow LEDs don't have.  I review them  to balance out the picture about the benefits of 12v LED ropes
Also called standard low voltage rope light, a conventional 12v rope light is a flexible weatherproof lighting system that was typically made from a string of mini incandescent light bulbs.

Subtypes, Voltage

Where to use, Cutting and Connecting, Accessories, Controller, Upgrade Tips

Typical Specifications

Typical Q & A

Is there a saving compared to running high voltage instead? >>

More LED Faq here



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Subtypes include:
  • Mini rope light
  • Flexible neon ropes. These are in fact the standard ropes (but the same name is now mostly used for LED neons.
This are low voltage rope lights and also come in a 24v variety.

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Where to use it
Mainly used for accent and indirect decorative lighting.
Here is a whole list I collected on practical usage:

  • Outlining: homes, driveways, sidewalks, patios, deck railings, signs.
  • Accenting: houseboats, motor yachts, cars and motorcycles, limouisine interiors, recreational vehicles
  • Decorating: book shelves, under cabinets, mantels, stairs, hallways, top and bottom of cabinets, and window dressings. Christmas light, and architectural applications.

For usage of other rope lights and other tips on rope lighting look up "Where to use" here.

Count to unit size to cut long spools. Connect short spools for shorter jobs. Cut length unit typically: 4" (12V) 8" (24V.)



Choose splice connector and end cap based on wire type. Usually minimum number is packaged with product.

Cleanest straight cut comes from a designated rope cutter. But you can also use a stuandard cutter or utility knife.


Most typically used patterns are chasing and fading. You need to grab a controller with the matching program. But there are much more rope lighting patterns.

I review all typical rope lighting patterns here.

Replace and Upgrade
Expect the unexpected with burnouts so you can plan for replacement. And if you want to upgrade the pattern, consider also the upgrade to LED. That way you can get new color patterns too.

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Typical Specification

For typical profile sizes look up standard profiles under "Shapes and Components" on my rope lights page here.

Watt per foot: 2.52 Watt, 5.5 Watt
Maximum run length (or spool length): 30 Feet (12 volt) 60 Feet (24 volt)
Watt per max length: 75.6 Watt.
Amp Draw per foot (amps/ft): 0.46 amps/ft. (12V), 0.23 amps/foot. (24V.)

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Typical Questions Answered

Q. Is there a real saving on running a 12 volt rope light compared to using a high voltage one?

A. Unfortunately there is no real saving on the running cost. Here is why:
Because low voltage lights draw higher amperage there is no cost savings in running 12 volt rope lights (or 24 volt as the case may be) off a transformer instead of using 120 volt rope lights.

So if you want to save on running costs of your 12 Volt rope light you might just need to investigate rope lights made with LED units.

Find answers to other commonly asked questions in my LED Faq.

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Go to LED Rope Lights Navigation from 12 Volt Rope Light

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