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How to use splitter cables with LED light strips

Posted on February 07 2014

1. Why would I use the DC splitter or y-splitter?

Great question, and I'm glad I get to give a straight answer right off the bat this time around! What these accessories allow you to do is install and use more strip light spools where you'd normally just be limited to a single strand. So if, for example, you want to run strip lights around the junction of your walls and the ceiling, but you only have one outlet available at each end of the room, using a splitter would allow you to run two strands from a single outlet. Or maybe you want to light up the base of a dividing wall in your kitchen/living room, but there's only an outlet on one side of the wall. Instead of futzing around with tacky extension cords or a power strip, you could simply use LED power splitter cables to run the strips around thewall from one side!

2. What's the difference between a DC splitter and a Y-Splitter?

Wow, two straight answers in a row, two weeks in a row? I wouldn't get used to this if I were you, I'm sure there are some tricky questions coming up. To answer the question though, a DC splitter is used for single color strips like our Cool White Strips which are great for accenting metal and stone, or our Warm White Strips if you're looking to highlight wood or other classic looking home fixtures. The Y-Splitter on the other hand is used for splitting RGB strips, so while these aren't really going to accent things like the cool or warm white strips, there's still quite a lot of application options for split RGB strips, like running them around the roof of your business to attract customers or for lighting up a patio at night for parties or barbeques!

3. What's the more practical benefit of splitters?

If you're looking to light up a more medium sized area with strip lights and you don't want to have to worry about amplifiers, then splitters can be just what you're looking for! How about I illustrate the concept with an example? Let's say you've got a few spools of SMD 3528 LED strip lights, you want to run them around a room from a single outlet. If you weren't using a splitter, after that second spool you'd need an amplifier to keep the light consistent along the whole run, but if you instead split the strips at the source then you could run two strips off each end with no drop in strip brightness! A word of warning though, just because you've dodged needing an amplifier doesn't mean you've gotten around all the LED restrictions in the book, you'll still need a power source strong enough to power all of your lights!

4. Can I put a splitter at the end of an already split strip?

So you're asking if once you've split into two strips, can you put a splitter at the end of one of those strips? Yeah you can! you could put a splitter at the end of both of them for four strips running off of two  strips! However, make sure you keep your strips and splitters consistent, because you cannot run a DC splitter off a Y-Split color changing strip or Vice Versa. So while it could be incredibly cool to see cool white lead into a pair of flashing green strips, that's not something that can be done. Another warning to remember, with all these strips you've split out now, you'll want to be completely sure your power adapter can handle all of the strips you'll be running, as six strips can be more than some adapters can handle.

5. Can I run an SMD 5050 alongside an SMD 3528 on the same splitter?

You sure can!...with an asterisk. The two strips both need to be the same color, otherwise it won't work. Other than that, feel free to run 5050's with other 5050's, or 3528's with 3528's, or 5050's and 3528's. Just like I warned in the last two questions though, you have to make sure that your power source can handle the strips you've got running together. I make it a point to caution you here because 5050's need more power than 3528's so while some of the lower wattage power adapters can handle a pair of 3528's they might not have the juice required to run a 5050 instead of that second 3528 your low watt adapt was just handling without any difficulty. Always remember to stay safe!

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!

The Troubleshooting Series is published on Fridays, please have questions submitted by the Wednesday beforehand if you want it answered in the next installment.

 




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