Imagine you are decorating your dream gaming room. There’s this one corner where you are getting an excessive amount of LED strips. You might be thinking about one question, can I cut my LED strip lights?
Yes, you can cut LED strip lights and they will still work. But you need to make sure that you cut them in the right way and the lights on the strip aren’t damaged.
As we mentioned before, there is a catch to cutting LED light strips. Otherwise, they will not work fine.
You may be thinking, “Now that I’ve found this information, what is the best method to cut LED light strips?” You’ll find all the answers you need below.
So without any further ado, let’s get started and learn the art of LED strip cutting.
Why Would You Cut LED Light Strips?
One may wonder, why would anyone choose to cut LED light strips in the first place? After all, if you have an excessive amount of LED light strips in your gaming room.
And there’s a corner that doesn’t need lights then it seems logical not to use the strip at all.
The fact of the matter is that there are times where you may need to cut LED light strips for many different reasons.
For example, you may want to make a certain shape or design. There’s no other way than to cut the LED strips and reattach the lights (You can tape them as well but we don’t recommend it).
There is also a possibility that you only need half of the LED light strip and it doesn’t make sense to buy a new one for that.
In some cases, you may have installed LED lights around your room. Now you’re thinking of rearranging and want to move the strips to different locations.
These are all valid reasons why you might need to cut your LED light strips.
You should keep in mind that there’s no problem in cutting your LED strips. They’ll work fine after you’ve completed the process.
What are the Tools and Equipment Required for Cutting LED Strip Lights?
To cut LED light strips, you need to have a few tools and equipment at hand.
To make the job easier and more efficient for yourself, we strongly recommend that you use the following:
● A Heat Shrinking Tubing
● Two small pieces of wood/plywood tape
● Tape measure
● Soldering iron
● Exacto knife
How To Cut LED Light Strips The Right Way?
Once you have the needed tools for this job you can start the cutting process. Here’s how to do it without damaging the whole strip of LED lights.
Step 1: Turn off the power.
The very first thing to do when it comes to cutting LED strip lights is to turn off the power. This is the most important step because if you don’t cut off the power then there will be a high chance of a short circuit.
Step 2: Take Proper Measurements
After cutting off the power to the lights, you wouldn’t want to cut the strip without any proper measurements.
It is because if you cut without taking all the measurements then there is a higher possibility that the result will look ugly.
Therefore, you need to take proper measurements using a measuring tape and a pencil or a marker.
Step 3: Making the Cut
From the welding point part of the dotted line in the figure below, notice that the scissors and the light strip surface are perpendicular (90°) to each other. (Eugen, 2021)
This is the most important step and should always be carried out with extreme care. Cutting in itself is a very simple thing. Just make sure you cut at the right angle without damaging any LEDs. The main thing is if you are careless, chances are you will damage your whole LED strip.
Always make sure to keep the cutter slightly away from the LED to prevent any damages. The cut must be as straight as possible otherwise it will look horrible on corners.
Step 4: Rejoining The Strip Pieces/Soldering
Once you cut your led light strip the next thing most people would want to do is to join the two pieces together. This part is mostly for corners so you should do it with care.
During the joining process, there are two ways to join the strips. One of the methods is to solder the two strips together using the pins on LED light strips. However, this requires knowledge related to electronic circuits otherwise your lights won’t work.
Led strip lights come in a variety of configurations including 2, 3, 4, and 6 point/pin connection strips.
You can join these strips using either a connector or by soldering the points.
The easy way is to use a connection clip as it is pre-configured and doesn’t require any soldering which saves time.
However, if the clip is not available then soldering can be handy in such situations.
The next and probably the safer way is by using pre-made joining clips. These are available at different electronic stores and the best thing is they are ready for connection without any kind of soldering. (Geek Street, 2021)
Below is a specific connection method of connector connection and welding.
However, you will need to make sure that your strip and the clip have the same number of connection pins.
For more details, you can watch and follow the guidelines as described in the video.
Step 5: Secure the Joint with a Shrinking Tube
Once you have connected the two pieces, the next thing is to test them. You need to put them on an insulator body and turn on the switch and see if they work. Once you have confirmed their working, the next thing is to secure the join using a shrinking tube.
This step is very easy and all you need to do is slide the strip inside the tube and place it right on top of the junction. Once the tube is in place, use a heat gun or a hairdryer to shrink the tube.
Using a shrinking tube is very important because it protects the connection and will help prolong its lifespan.
How to Solder LED Strip Lights?
Soldering is the best way to go if you are looking for a safe and effective way of connecting the pieces. If you can’t find the connection clips and want to solder the two pieces of LED strips, here is a step-by-step guide you can follow.
Tools You Will Need
● Powerpack or transformer
● A heat gun for shrinking tubes
● A pair of wire cutters
● A pair of scissors
Once you have all the required tools for this job move on to the tutorial.
Step 1: Set the Soldering Iron Temperature
The very first thing to do is to set the temperature of your soldering iron. The LED light strip soldering will need a temperature around 400 – 450 degrees. (Elaine, 2020) You can easily adjust the temperature using the knob on the soldering iron power supply.
Step 2: Strip Some Extension Wires
The next thing after setting up the temperature is to strip some extension wires. You can use a 16 gauge wire for this job and it will work just perfectly. Take the piece of wire and put it into the wire stripper and effectively strip it without damaging the whole cord.
Step 3: Start the Soldering Process
After stripping the extension wire or we can say cord, the next and last thing is the soldering process. This is the main thing to do and here is how to do it.
- Hold the wire in a soldering iron stand and make sure it is secured
- Use a soldering iron with a clean tip to deposit the soldering wire onto the 16 gauge wire.
- Touch the tip of the iron to the soldering wire and you will see a small bubble of the solder
- Put the tip of the iron below the wire and place the solder on top of the wire and the heat will make the solder melt and deposit on the wire
- Now hold the LED strip using the soldering iron stand and place a heat sink right before the LED light
- Use the solder on the strip as a guide and heat it with your iron
- Attach the piece of wire that you prepared a moment before.
- Secure the joint with a shrinking tube to protect it from external damages.
(Crown Molding LED Lighting, 2020)
Below is the LED Manual welding operation and LED Welding machine operation about Darkless Lighting：
How to Use the Connector to Connect LED Strip Lights?
What are the Advantages of Cutting LED Strip Lights?
Many advantages come along with cutting strips of your LED lights. Here are some of them:
You get the exact length of light strips that you need for a specific project without having to pay more money.
You can use the leftover pieces and mix and match them to create a unique design or pattern for your project.
What are the Disadvantages of Cutting LED Strip Lights?
After you cut your led strip lights, you might need to buy heat-shrinking tubing to protect them.
If you don’t know how to solder, this can be quite an expensive job. Since your led strip light pieces might not be able to function.
The LED strip light pieces might not be as bright and efficient as they were before. It will result in a loss of energy and money.
What Can Possibly Go Wrong During LED Strip Cutting?
It’s not all smooth sailing when it comes to LED strip lights. Some things can go wrong and cause you headaches later on if you’re not careful enough during the cutting process.
If the cut is made improperly, you run the risk of hurting yourself since there’s a lot of power running through those led strips.
Even if the power is not enough to zap you, you can still burn circuits, etc. So make sure to be extremely careful while doing it.
If you are using wires that are too thin for the job, there’s a high chance that they will be burned during the process.
You can also end up with LED strip lights that don’t work or ones that have broken solder joints which makes them useless.
Can I cut my LED strip lights? Yes, you can but you need to do it with extreme care to prevent damaging the whole strip. Also, burning the circuit (well if you cut and make incorrect joints).
In the above guide, we’ve explained how to cut LED strip lights in the safest possible way. We’ve also mentioned the required tools for the job.
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- Eugen. (2021, July 02). If You Cut An LED Strip Will It Still Work? Easy Cutting Guide – LED & Lighting Info. Retrieved September 21, 2021, from https://ledlightinginfo.com/cut-led-strip
- Cutting and connecting LED strips: An easy task. (Elaine). Retrieved from https://greenice.com/en/blog/cutting-and-connecting-led-strips-an-easy-task-n59
- G., Street. (2021, March 25). Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDIQ-lDg1Cw
- (2020, August 04). Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=519YcuSsQ3U