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Calculating your LED light strip power needs

Posted on April 04 2014

(Need a power supply? Check out our selection here)

1. How do I know which power supply to use with my lights?

This is where some math is going to be needed, but this math is even easier than figuring out the fifteen percent tip at restaurants, I promise! So let's say you've picked out a strip already. each strip also lists its power consumption in watts per foot. In our little hypothetical shopping scenario here, you'll be picking out the 5050 regular density strip, and you've decided that for your project you'll need thirty feet of lights. The 5050 regular density LED light strip is listed at two watts per foot, so for thirty feet of light, you'll be drawing sixty watts of power, and as it just so happens, we've got sixty watt power supplies!

That formula again : (Strips Wattage per Foot) x (Total Feet of Strip) = Total power required (Watts)


2. What if I want to use a wall dimmer with my LED lights?


Well that's certainly possible, there are a few things you'll need to know. First off, you'll need to use a dimmable LED driver instead of a standard power adapter. Another thing to note is that using a wall dimmer and the dimmable LED driver will require you to hard wire the lights directly into the switch. That, or you'd need to wire your dimmer switch into a wall outlet and attach and AC power cable to your strips and dimmable LED driver and use that outlet. The last thing you'll need to know about wall dimmers and the dimmable LED driver is that RGB LED strip lights just don't have a good way to work with the wall dimmer. No cause for alarm though, as all of our RGB LED light strip controllers can dim our RGB LED strip lights, so you'll still be able to dim your lights!

3. What if I want to use a battery pack for portable power?

Please do! Our 12V rechargeable battery packs for LED light strips are great for any mobile project, like Light Bikes or outdoor lighting that's not near any convenient power sources. So if you were planning a romantic picnic dinner in a field and candles aren't your thing? Then you should pick up a 12V rechargeable battery pack and a nice RGB LED light strip! 12V rechargeable battery packs are also great for boat lighting, assuming that the battery pack stays dry and your strips are rated for some to a lot of water! 

4. How can I know how long the battery pack will last with my lights?


The 12V rechargeable battery packs we offer are rated in milli-amp hours, either 3800 or 6000 milli-amp hours. To determine how many amps your strips are drawing, you'll need to find their wattage, so let's use a really easy example. A regular density 3528 LED light strip draws twenty-four watts, now take the wattage and divide it by twelve, that's your amp draw, or two amps. Now multiple your amp draw by one thousand, that's your milli-amp draw, so for the 3500 mAh rechargeable battery pack and a 3528 regular density LED light strip your battery pack will last 3500/2000=1.75 hours, or 104 minutes. Here's the general formula: (watt draw) / 12=A, A x 1000=M, Battery Pack Milli-amps / M= hours of battery life. I hope this helps you plan your battery pack outings!

Thanks for reading this installment of our troubleshooting series, we truly hope it has been helpful. Have a question we haven’t answered yet? contact us at cole@hitlights.com and we’ll do our best to answer it in the next installment. Please remember that our customer service staff (customerservice@hitlights.com) is happy to assist you with any and all of your concerns, questions, and suggestions. If you want to call and talk with us, well that’s just fine too – (225)-304-0408!

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