What is LED voltage drop and how to avoid it?

- Nov 20, 2017 -

What is LED voltage drop and how to avoid it?

One of the most important things to consider when installing LED Strip lights is the effect of what is called “Voltage Drop”. In DC circuits, voltage gradually drops as it travels along through a length of wire (or an LED strip light). So, with every foot of wire, the available voltage to each foot gradually decreases along the length of wire. This can lead to having one end of your strip lights being brighter than the other end.

Tips on how to avoid it?

The amount of voltage drop will vary based on the brand and power consumption of the LED strip lights. 12V LED strips will lose voltage faster than 24V strip lights, so if you are looking it make longer runs over 40 feet, we would recommend going with 24V strips. 

To prevent voltage drop: Divide long runs of LED strip lights into shorter strips, then connect additional “Parallel” wires from the power supply to each new LED strip. This process can be repeated as many times as needed. You may also run additional wire from the power unit alongside the uncut LED strip and attach it when voltage drop starts to occur. 

Example 1: Running multiple parallel runs at longer distances

If you wish to install a continuous run of over 90 feet of ColorBright™ LED strip lights (12VDC 2.9w/ft), and/or are using an even longer length of wire from the power supply to the strip, use a “Parallel” connection.

Example 2 : Create a parallel connection from the power supply and split the runs in different directions

If you needed 60 feet LED strip lighting in the left / right side of a bar or patio (or whatever), we recommend installing the power supply in the middle of the run and having one 30ft section running from the power supply to the left, and one 30ft section going to the right. Again, this is called a “Parallel” connection.


Example 3: Use seperate power supplies in different areas

The Long Beach Airport installed a 60 foot long run of our LED strip lights  This example used (2) 30ft runs of our 24V Architectural Warm White LED strip light. They did not want to install the power supply in the middle and run the lights in opposite directions (above in Example 2), so they opted to install a power unit on the opposite ends of the 30 foot runs to create a 60 foot run with no voltage drop. The strip is not connected in the middle and you can see there is no visible dimming of light (voltage drop).

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