LED light strips have become increasingly popular for their versatility and ease of use in lighting projects. However, not every LED light strip will be the perfect length for your task lighting project, which begs the question: can you cut LED strip lights? The answer is yes, but there are some important factors to consider before you take the scissors to your LED light strip.
In this article, we’ll explore what you need to know about cutting LED light strips and provide tips and guidelines to ensure that you do it safely and effectively.
So whether you’re looking to install led light strips to customize your lighting for your home or business, or you simply need to shorten an LED light strip to fit a particular space, this article will help you understand the basics to cut LED strip lights and how to get the job done right.
Can You Cut LED Light Strips?
The short answer is yes, you can indeed cut the line out. Cutting LED strip lights can be a great way to customize your lighting for specific projects, and it can also be a cost-effective solution for ensuring that your LED strip lights fit perfectly into any space.
However, before you take the scissors or knife to your LED light strip, it’s important to understand the factors you need to consider before cutting. These include the length and width of the LED light strip, the type of LED light strip, the cut points and intervals, and the power supply requirements. Failure to consider these factors can result in damaging the LED light strip, rendering it useless.
Where to Cut an LED Strip?
The location or connection point where you can safely cut an LED strip will depend on the specific type of LED strip you are using. Generally, most LED strips have designated cutting lines (copper markings) along the length of the strip where they can be cut without damaging the circuitry. These cut points are often indicated by a line or a scissors logo, which shows where you should cut.
If you’re not sure where the cut points are on your LED strip, consult the manufacturer’s instructions or look for markings or cut lines on the strip itself. Cutting the LED strip in the wrong place can damage the circuitry, rendering the strip unusable.
Also read: How to reset LED light strip remote?
How To Cut Strip Light Safely?
Cutting strip lights can be a great way to customize your lighting for specific projects, but it’s important to take safety precautions to prevent any damage or harm.
Quick Guide To Cutting LED Strip Lights
Here are some points to consider when cutting strip light safely:
- Wear protective gear: Always wear protective eyewear and gloves to protect your eyes and hands from any debris or sharp edges that may result from the cutting process.
- Turn off the power: Make sure that the power source to the strip light is turned off before you start cutting. This will help prevent any electrical shock or damage to the light strip.
- Measure twice, cut once: Before you start cutting, measure the strip light to ensure that you are cutting it to the right length. This will prevent you from cutting too much off and ruining the strip light.
- Use the right tools: Use specialized tools such as LED strip cutters or wire strippers to ensure a clean and precise cut. These tools are designed to cut the strip light without damaging it, and they can also help prevent accidents or injury.
- Follow the cut points: If your strip light has designated cut points, be sure to cut it only at those points. Cutting the strip light at other points can damage the circuitry and render the strip light unusable.
- Avoid cutting through any wiring: Make sure that you do not cut through any wiring while cutting the strip light. This can cause electrical shock or damage to the strip light.
- Secure the cut end: After you’ve cut the strip light, make sure to apply adhesive tape or clips to secure the cut end in place. This will prevent any accidental damage or disconnection of the strip light. Here we have a video that can help you cut LED light strips.
What to Do After Cutting LED Light Strips?
After cutting LED light strips, there are several steps you need to take to ensure that the last led strip light can still function properly and is secured in place. Here are some things to do after cutting LED strip lights:
Depending on the type of LED light strip you’re working with, you may need to install connectors to connect the cut ends of the strip back together. There are various types of connectors available, including soldering, clamping, or plug-in connectors. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the connectors to ensure a proper connection.
Wire the strip
Once the connectors are in place, you will need to wire the strip to the power supply. This involves connecting the wires from the power supply to the connectors on the LED strip. Make sure the wiring is secure and that the positive and negative connections are properly aligned.
Secure the cut end
To keep the cut end of the LED strip in place, you can use adhesive tape or clips. This will prevent the strip from accidentally disconnecting or getting damaged.
Test the strip
Before mounting or installing the LED light strip, test it to ensure that it’s working properly. Connect the strip to the power supply and turn it on to check for any issues or problems.
If You Cut LED Light Strip Will Both Sides Work?
If you accidentally cut an LED light strip in the middle, both sides will not work independently unless there are separate power supplies for each side. LED light strips require a continuous circuit to work, and if you cut them in the middle, you break the circuit. This means that the cut end of the LED light strip will not work unless you reconnect it to a black wire from a power supply or to a red wire at the other end of the strip.
When you cut an LED light strip, the cut end will only work if it’s reconnected to the other end of the strip or if it’s connected to a separate power supply. Therefore, if you want both sides of the cut LED light strip to work independently, you will need to provide separate power supplies for each side.
Alternatively, you can use a multi-channel LED light strip controller that allows you to have remote control of different sections of the LED light strip independently.
Must read: Can LED Lights Be Left On 24/7 and Why?
Can You Reconnect Cut Led Strip Lights Together?
Yes, you can reconnect and cut LED light strips together. However, the process can be different depending on the type of LED light strip and the method used for cutting. Some LED strip lights come with solder pads or connectors that allow you to reconnect the cut ends, while others may require more specialized techniques.
How to Reconnect Cut LED Strips?
Here are some general steps for reconnecting cut LED strips:
Identify the cut ends
Locate the cut ends of the LED lights that you want to reconnect. You may need to remove any insulation or coating on the wires to expose the metal underneath.
Choose a reconnection method
Depending on the type of LED light strip, you can reconnect the cut ends using soldering, connectors, or other specialized methods. For example, some LED light strips may require heat shrink tubing or wire nuts to reconnect the cut ends.
Reconnect the cut ends
If using soldering, place the two cut ends together and solder them together using a soldering iron and solder. If using connectors, clamp them onto the cut ends or plug them in to join the wires. Make sure the connections are secure and the wires are properly aligned.
Test the connection
Once the cut ends are reconnected, test the LED lights to ensure that it is working properly. Connect strips to the power source and turn them on to check for any issues.
Also read: Can You Put LED Light Strips on Wood?
What to Do If You Cut Light Strips and They Don’t Work Properly?
If you accidentally cut the LED strip lights and they don’t work, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue:
- Check the power source: Make sure the LED lights are connected to a working power source. Test the power source with another device to ensure it’s functioning properly.
- Check the connections: Check the connections at the cut ends of the LED light strip. Make sure the wires are properly connected and there are no loose connections. If you soldered the cut ends, check that the solder joints are solid and there is no cold solder joint.
- Check the polarity: Check the polarity of the strip lights. LED light strips are polarized, which means that the positive and negative wires need to be connected to the correct terminals. Make sure the positive and negative wires are properly aligned.
Which LED Light Strips You Can’t Cut?
While many LED light strips can be cut, there are some types that you should avoid cutting as they may not function properly or may be difficult to reconnect. Here are some LED light strips that you should not cut:
High voltage LED light strips:
High-voltage LED light strips, such as 110V or 220V LED strip lights, should not be cut as they operate on high-voltage power and can be dangerous to work with. Cutting these LED strip lights can also result in electric shock and damage to the strip.
RGB LED light strips
RGB LED light strips typically have a specific cutting point and should only be cut at that point. Cutting an RGB LED strip light at any other point can result in damage to the strip or incorrect color display. You may also like to read the difference between RGB and RGBIC lights.
Waterproof LED light strips
Waterproof LED light strips are sealed with a protective coating that makes them resistant to water and moisture. Cutting these LED strip lights can damage the coating and expose the strip to water and moisture, which can cause it to malfunction or stop working altogether.
Best Practices for Cutting LED Light Strips
Here are some best practices to follow when cutting LED light strips:
- Before cutting your LED light strips, it’s important to read the manufacturer’s instructions. Some LED light strips have specific cutting instructions that you should follow to avoid damaging the strip.
- Plan where you want to cut your LED light strip to ensure that you get the desired length. Measure the space you want to light up and plan the cuts accordingly. You can use a tape measure or ruler to ensure precise measurements.
- Use the right tools to cut your LED light strips. A sharp pair of scissors or a knife can be used for basic cuts, but for more precise cuts, you may need specialized tools like LED strip cutters. Using the right tool will result in clean cuts and avoid damaging the strip.
Troubleshooting Cut LED Light Strips
Check the connections: Make sure that the cut ends of the LED light strip are properly connected. If the connections are loose or do not have enough copper or are properly insulated, the strip may not work properly.
Check the power supply: Make sure that the power supply to the LED light strip is working properly. Check that it’s plugged in and turned on and that there are no issues with the wiring.
Check for damage: Inspect the LED light strip for any damage that may have occurred during the cutting process. If one circuit of the strip is damaged, it may not function properly.
Reset the controller: If the controller isn’t working properly, try resetting it. This can often fix issues with the controller and get the LED light strip working again.
Cutting LED strip lights can be a simple and effective way to customize your lighting design. However, it’s important to consider several factors before cutting strip lights directly, including the type of strip, the length, and the power supply requirements.
With these best practices in mind, you can create beautiful and unique lighting designs with cut LED lighting and light strips.