Using LED Rope Lights
Some Tool, Fixing And Installation Tips

A LED rope light suitability largely depends on the Voltage selected. Don't cut kits, connect them. Cut long spools of ropes. For cutting a utility knife is usually ok. Cool flashing pattern comes from upgrade to color mixing. Find more general features, installation tips and guide. Typical questions answered.

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General Features

General Features
Color, Fading, Heat Output
Voltage, Packaging, Types and Names, Work-life

Where to use which
Tools, Sundries, Accessories
Installation Tips and Guide

General Specifications

Typical Q & A
Wattage, current used ... >>
What brightness if you compare ... >>

More LED Faq here

Because the casement is not tinted but clear, the colors of a LED rope light are determined by the wavelength of light the actual LED units emit.

is cool, laser-like. (Approx 6000 degree Kelvin color temperature and up.) The hue can be soft (or warm) or harsh (similar to fluorescent white), but both have that unmistakable bluish tinge so characteristic for white LEDs. They also tend to last longer than other colors.

Other single colors. Primary colors are the same as the ones inherited from earlier ropes. Bur any other color is calibrated accoring to the LED wavelength.

Natural Fading
Over times LED rope lights fade gradually. This gives you plenty of time to get proper upgrade when needed.

Heat Output
Generally, very low heat output. But heat IS generated at the Adapter.

High voltage is usually 120V, 240V (220V in some European regions)
Low voltage is usally 12V, 24V.

High voltage ropes come in long streches wound up on pools. The longest I found was 15 meters. Low voltage ropes come in shorter kits.

Types and Names
  • LED ropes
  • LED cable lights (the name is now used in IT for data cable indicator light.)
Work Life
Typically, life expectancy is a propriatory figure. This means that the product is rated by the manufacturer of the LED you buy. Usually it is dependent on the QUALITY of LEDs used and should be between 100,000 and 50,000 hours. My two cent on this? Consider the upper range somewhat overrated ... But as a general rule, they last longer in flashing mode. Main thing is: you don't have to replace them any time soon.

If anything, the fully protective encasement should also increase the life-span for outdoor applications as water can be a problem for some unprotected LED bases.

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Where To Use Whic
uitability is largely determined by voltage used.
Chose low voltage for:
  • accent lighting (for fun and "jazz-up")
  • indirect lighting (this is when you see only reflected light.)
Select high voltage for:
  • direct lighting (or task lighting)
  • ambient illumination (room or area lighting)
I review  more rope lighting usage tips here.

Most users I know find that the convenience of ropes prompts for cooler upgrades over time. As ropes fade gracefully, you can plan for upgrades in pattern and color effect. For example you have a simple chasing/static rope but for next you want to have fading or color mixing.

Tool Tip
designated rope light cutterTo cut spools you can use a good utility knife. They do the job just fine, especially when you can hide any "lurning curves" (eg. your finished job is an indirect concealed light.)

But for quality jobs where the result will be well visible, use a designated rope cutter.

See how it cradles your rope safely in place? The trick is that the blade sinks into a deep vertical niche on the cradle so you can make a perfectly straight cut. When you fix more rope lights around the house, the cutter will come quite handy. Just don't forget to give the blade a good sharpening every now and again.

Sundries You Might Need
  • Silicon glue for sealing joins and for watertight connections.
  • Connectors, Splice connectors, End caps, Mounting Clips (Typically 100 per separate pack)
  • Pneumatic (suctionable) connectors if you want to fix to finished surfaces such as tile.
  • Shrink wrap tube for making joins invisible for direct lighting where the actual rope light will remain in plain sight.
  • Power Accessories. Cords and Connectors. Adaptor for low voltage, Converter for AC LED.

Other Accessories

The patterns you can achieve with a controller are similar to the conventonal flashing / chasing palette. Additionally you can have great color mixing effects.

It is a good idea to have a smart winder if the istallation is just temporary, such as Christmas decoration. This way you can roll up the whole thing and keep it ready for the next Holiday Season.

Find a review of these accessories on my Backround Info page.

Installation Tips and Guide

You CAN cut spools.
Count to unit size and cut spools. Do not cut kits.

Cutting Length
Check cutting unit length.
(Exact length is product dependent.)
I also depens on LED color and voltage and is typically between 18" - 54" (inch) for 120 volt; 6" for 12V; 12" for 24V.

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

Air temperature
Proper surrounding temperature is important for reliable operation. Installed rope lights should perform well between minus 4 degrees to plus 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

So if you are replacing a conventional (incandescent) rope light check and monitor room or outdoor temperature for optimum performance.

Installation Guide
Look up under "Installation" on my 12 volt LED rope light page here.

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Typical Specifications

In general, you will find that important specification values are dependent on two factors: voltage and color, espcially in the low voltage department. (In the high voltage department values per color seem more evened out.)

I review specification values relating to those factors and others for these LED Rope Light voltage types:
And LED Neon Ropes are a bit of an exception to the rule, so I review them too.

Note: typical LED rope light profile sizes are same as for conventional rope lights. You will find them under "Shapes and Components."

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Typical Questions Answered

Q. How does the current used compare to incandescent?
The current (wattage) used by LED rope lights is actually a lot less.

Q. How does the brightness compare to incandescent?
The brightness (measured in lumen) is about the same.

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

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