LED Warning Light Strips: The Ultimate Buying Guide

LEDs are a type of low-heat, low-energy lighting that uses high-efficiency semiconductors to produce white or colored light when electricity is passed through it.

This guide will walk you through the relevant information you need to know before purchasing a LED Warning Light Strip.

LED Warning Light Strip

LED Warning Light Strip

Uses And Applications Of LED Warning Light Strips

The usage of LED warning light strips is majorly around reducing risks associated with poor visibility at night. The common applications include:

Signage

LED Signage Warning Light Strip

LED Signage Warning Light Strip

Some important signages are not visible at night. LED warning light strips help in resolving this. They not only illuminate the signs but also draw attention to the signs.

Paths

LED Path Warning LIght Strip

LED Path Warning Light Strip

LED warning light strips can be used to lighten paths at night. You can install them in various designs along the path.

As a result, you are less prone to injure yourself by accidentally knocking over objects if the path is illuminated.

Housing Interior

At night, if you do not have a bedside lamp, you may not easily find your way when you wake up.

Installing LED light strips around the house is helpful. It will offer just the right amount of light you need to walk around the house at night safely.

Also, LED light strips can be installed under cabinets, in wardrobes, and on staircases.

This not only makes the house appealing but also illuminates the various places at night.

LED Housing Interior Warning LIght Strip

LED Housing Interior Warning Light Strip

Landscaping

Using LED light strips for landscaping is gradually gaining traction.

They make the exteriors of buildings and barriers look exceptionally beautiful at night.

Most exteriors, swimming pools, gardens, lawns, art used in landscaping, etc., are fitted with color-changing LED light strips.

They make a building and its surroundings exquisite at night.

Display In Retail Shops And Stores

Most stores and retail shops have LED light strips fitted on the shelves.

The lights create ambient lighting making the products appealing to the customers.

Moreover, you can choose various light colors for different products.

For example, meat goes well with light pink, bright blue fits with chilled products, and bread blends with warm white.

Vehicles And boats

You can install the LED light strips in your boat or vehicle.

In vehicles, the LED light strips are commonly installed beneath the vehicle, on the floorboard, dashboard, and interior body.

They improve the beauty of the vehicle’s interior.

The same applies to boats. The various sections of the boat can be fitted with LED strip lights for beautification.

Also, most motorbikes are employing LED light strips on the bike’s frame to enhance its beauty.

Recreational Facilities

Blue LED light strips create a cool atmosphere in a room. Most restaurants, spurs, massage parlors, etc., use these light strips to appeal to their clients.

Additionally, the adjustable color option that most LED light strips have enables the easy change of a room’s ambiance.

Concerts And Lighting Shows

LED Concerts and Lihgting Show Warning Light Strip

Concerts and Lighting Show Warning Light Strip

No one will want bright lights shining on their faces during a concert. So the LED light strips are used to provide just the right amount of light needed in a concert.

Similarly, for lighting shows, the lights also need not to be too bright. Additionally, they should light in a pattern and display various colors. LED light strips offer all these.

Fashion

LED light strips have recently made their debut in the fashion industry. There are several trendy bags, shoes, and apparel fitted with LED light strips to make them attractive.

In-water Applications

Water applications, such as aquariums or swimming pool interior, require lighting use LED light strips. However, the lights ought to have either IP65 or IP67 protection.

LED In-Water Application Warning LIght Strip

LED In-Water Application Warning Light Strip

Benefits of LED Warning Light Strips

LED warning light strips have several benefits, which include:

Less Risky

LED warning strips do not have a high heat emission making them less likely to cause fire accidents.

Also, they have a low voltage capacity making them safer compared to other high voltage lighting equipment.

Flexible

Compared to the traditional lighting options, LED warning light strips are flexible. As such, they can be attached to any surface with a lot of ease.

Longevity

Most LED warning strips are waterproof and can withstand harsh weather conditions. This makes them have a higher life span than the other lights.

Easy Installation

Many LED warning lights come with their installation guide, which is simple to understand. Consequently, you can comfortably install them by yourself.

Additionally, if you buy a self-adhesive LED warning light, installing it will only involve sticking it on the required surface and connecting it to the power source.

Customizable And Programmable

It is possible to program certain LED light strips. As a result, you can make them move in a specific or pattern motion.

What’s more, you can even program and customize them to blend in with music beats.

Low Energy  Consumption

Compared to incandescent light bulbs, LED light strips to use 75 percent less energy.

This not only saves energy but also reduces pollution associated with energy production.

Easy Visibility

The fact that the LED warning light strips emit light in a straight line makes them easily visible. In addition, this property makes them be seen at night and even in poor weather conditions.

Low Maintenance And Replacement Cost

LED light strips are long-lasting; hence you won’t be constantly bothered about any replacement or maintenance cost.

Types of LED Warning Light Strips

Some of the available options include;

DC LED Flex Strips

DC LED Flex Strip

DC LED Flex Strip

The DC LED Flex Strips usually come with an adhesive backing which enables their mounting on any surface. They require 12 Volts of Direct Current Power (VDC).

Also, they are mostly waterproof. Moreover, they are in various lengths giving you the option of buying the length that is ideal.

Alternatively, the length can be customized according to your needs.

Lastly, the number of LEDs per meter in DC LED Flex Strips are normally either 30 or 60 LEDs/M.

AC LED Flex Strips

AC LED Flex Strip (2)

AC LED Flex Strip

These types of light strips operate straight from the power source. All you need to do is plug them, and you are good to go.

Similar to the DC LED Flex strips, they are flexible and may come with an adhesive backing. Due to their flexibility, they are at times referred to as reeled strips.

Additionally, they can be held in place using clips usually enclosed in the packaging.

The AC power volt requirements of various AC LED Flex strips usually differ.

High Output LED Light Strips

Unlike the previous two types, these are rigid strips with circuitry and onboard drivers.

Also, they are manufactured using high-powered LED.

This necessitates the need for an adapter or power charger when connecting them.

Lastly, the High output LED light strips normally come in fixed lengths. Meaning they cannot be easily cut once manufactured.

LED Rope Light

They have a corded electric requirement of mostly, but not limited to, 24 volts.

LED rope lights are LEDs inserted or encased in a pipe-like transparent or plastic tube.

These light strips are normally weatherproof since the tubes are IP65. Their connection is simple, plug and use.

The length of the LED rope light varies. The longer the length, the more the number of lights or LED bulbs used.

LED Rope Light

LED Rope Light

LED Warning Light Strips Material

An important component of the LED warning light strips is the flexible Printed Circuit Board (PCB). It is the surface on which the LED bulbs are mounted.

The materials used to manufacture the PCB include:

  • Prepreg; used to glue the PCB together and also build the laminate component of the PCB.
  • Laminate; built from prepreg (resins and cloth fabric). It is then coated with copper sheets on both sides.
  • Copper foils; also referred to as copper circuits. They are the conductors in the PCB.
  • Soldermask; the green epoxy coating that protects the conductors on the PSB’s outside.
  • Nomenclature; sometimes referred to as silkscreen. They are the white letters at the top of the solder mask. They guide the installation of the various components on the PCB.
  • Metallic coating; protects the parts not protected by the solder mask, such as copper holes for soldering other components. The coating can be made from materials such as gold, tin, nickel, silver, etc.

Notably, copper is an important material in LED warning light strips due to its conductive role. A high amount of copper composition translates to minimal cases of voltage drop.

Also, high-quality LED warning light strips will include a white paint coating to increase light reflectivity. Lastly, a double-sided adhesive may be pre-applied on the backside of the LED warning light strip.

How LED Warning Light Strips Work

To power up a LED Warning Light strip, you first need to connect it to a power source.

The connection type you will use is entirely dependent on the type of wire or plug the light strip has.

It can be connected to a DC power supply or to another light strip connected to a DC power supply. The latter is referred to as a daisy chain.

Of course, the power source has to be sufficient. Mostly, LED light strips are powered on 5V, 12V, and 24V.

The working of LED light strips varies depending on whether it is analog or digital.

Analog LED Warning Light Strip Working

An analog LED light strip has the LEDs wired in series.

The segments have parallel wiring, which ensures equal voltage all through the strip.

They also lack driver chips, meaning that all the LEDs work together (non-individually addressable).

This implies that LEDs that blink and fade simultaneously are in the same segment.

Digital LED Warning Light Strip Working

Unlike the analog LED light strip, the digital version has a driver chip.

Consequently, the LEDs can be controlled individually (individually addressable).

Additionally, they are fitted with RGB LEDs.

This feature, plus the driver chip, enables the digital LED warning light strip to create various color patterns.

A microcontroller comes in handy when programming and making the LED warning light strip reactive to switches and sensors.

The dependent nature of each LED bulb will enable you to achieve various color swirls.

LED Warning Light Strips Vs. Regular Warning Light

LED warning light strips differ in many ways from regular warning light.

First, LED warning light strips are adjustable, unlike the latter.

You can trim the LED warning light strip to your desired length.

However, this is not possible with regular warning light.

In terms of flexibility, LED warning light strips are more flexible than a regular warning lights. This is due to their structure and makeup.

Also, LED warning light strips have a wider color variation than a regular warning light. Currently, most of the LED warning light strips are fitted with RGB LEDs.

Consequently, offering a range of color options.

Regular warning lights are larger than the LED warning light strips (which are not more than 1/16 inches thick) concerning the size.

As such, it is impossible to hide the regular warning lights from the plan-view.

On the other hand, the opposite is possible for the LED warning light strips.

Continuing, installing LED warning light strips is easy and straightforward compared to the regular warning light.

Installation of regular warning lights is demanding. Conversely, most LED warning light strips are plug and use.

Moreover, LED warning light strips are dimmable, unlike the regular warning lights, which emit a constant light intensity.

Cost-wise, LED warning light strips are an affordable option compared to the regular warning light.

This can be attributed to their cheap design and materials used.

Lastly, the LED warning light strips are a safer option.

Unlike the regular warning lights, they have an IP65 and IP68 rating that ensure they are both dust and waterproof resistant.

General Life Expectancy Of LED Warning Light Strips

Looking at the how long the LEDs last will be important in estimating the life expectancy of LED warning light strips.

Generally, LEDs can last of about 50,000 hours – an equivalence of 6 years of continuous operation.

At the 50,000 hour mark, the LEDs diminish to 70 percent of their original light output.

Apart from the LED life, other factors may also affect the life expectancy of the LED warning light strips.

These include:

  • The materials used.
  • Adhesive weakening over time.
  • Quality of LED used.

Power Consumption Rate Of LED Warning Light Strips

The power consumption rate or power supply of of LED Warning light strips can be calculated using two main methods.

From Power Consumption Per LED

You can apply this method if you know the power consumption of each LED. The equation used is;

Led light strip power consumption = (Length of LED Strip x LEDs per Meter x LED power) / operating voltage

Suppose we have the following data:

Length of LED strip = 2m

LEDs per Meter = 60

LED Power consumption (each) = 0.24 watts

Operating Voltage = 12V

Then the power consumption will be:

(2 x 60 x 0.24)/12 = 2.4 amps

From Current Draw Per LED

Suppose you do not know the power consumption per LED; you can use the current draw of each LED. The equation for this method is:

Power supply of LED strip light = Length of the LED Strip x LEDs per Meter x LED current draw

Now suppose the other figures remain constant, and the current draw of each LED is 20 mA. The power supply will be:

2 x 60 x 20 = 2,400 mA

To convert it to amps, we divide it by 1000 to get:

2,400/1000 = 2.4 amps.

The two methods imply that the hypothetic LED strip warning light will require a power supply that can offer 2.4 amps and 12 volts (which is the operating voltage).
LED Warning Light Strip Temperature

The temperature rise in a LED warning light strips is dependent on the design, quality and ambient temperature.

Waveform warning light strips have high-temperature rises due to their high density and high power.

As such they can have a higher temperature rise than other types of LED light strips.

Typically, an LED light strip will have a temperature rise of 30oC (54oF) over the prevailing ambient temperature.

Meaning, if the LED is in a room with a temperature of 24oC (75oF), the LED strip will have a temperature of 54oC (129oF).

It is important to note that temperatures above 50oC (122oF), can start causing burns on bare human skin.

Also, most LED warning light strips have circuits designed to withstand temperatures of up to 85oC (185oF) or more.

Meaning, LED warning light strips can last longer and operate efficiently in relatively high temperatures.

Control Options For LED Warning Light Strips

The control option you will choose for your LED warning light strips will depend on the size of your project. Different controllers suit different project sizes.

Also, your choice of the controller will depend on how you plan to control the lights. Whether you want to control the LEDs individually or together.

In terms of projects, you can use the below information.

For Small Projects

In this scenario, a small project means a LED warning light strip with just a single transformer. Or simply, a few LED warning light strips.

You can go for an RF controller or an inline wired wall controller. These controllers are less complicated and you can use them on the go.

For Large Projects

Here, you probably have more than 30 LED warning light strips, with each having its own transformer.

The ideal selection will be going for a DMX or DALI control system which can manage multiple areas.

Depending on the type, DMX control systems are less complicated compared to the DALI system (Used in large structures or buildings.

Next, the below information will guide you if you plan to control the lights individually or together.

Controlling The LED Warning Light Strips Together

If the project is small, as earlier explained, you can use a single-zone RF controller.

This controller will not permit you to control the light strips independently. Also, an inline controller will make do.

On the other hand, for a large project, you can use a DMX controller.

It also only permits collective control of the LED warning light strips.

Controlling The LED Warning Light Strips Independently

For clarity, you can best understand independent control using this example.

Say, you have a LED warning light strip installed under the cabinet and on the stairs.

You will be able to control these two separate LED warning light strips from one central control device.

You will still use an RF controller for small projects.

However, this time it will be a multizone RF controller, which allows for independent control.

Larger projects  like a large building will require a DALI controller.

Who can manage all the LED warning light strips in a building from  one point. This system is pre-programmable and also allows independent control of the various light strips.

NOTE:

  • DMX means ‘DMX 512’ since with it you can control 512 different channels.
  • DALI means Digital Addressable Lighting Interface mostly used for dimming and switching the LED light strips on and off.

Brightness And Illumination Of LED Warning Light Strips

Typically, a LED warning light strip should offer a brightness of 1500 lumens per meter, which is an equivalence of 450 lumens per foot.

This is equal to the brightness a T8 fluorescent lamp provides.

Three major things determine the brightness of a LED Warning Light Strip:

  • How many LEDs per foot are there on the strip
  • The light output and efficiency of each emitter
  • Power draw per foot of the LED warning light strip

To brighten a LED warning light, you can make use of the controllers depending on the LED warning light strips you have.

These controllers can either dim or brighten the LEDs.

However, it is also important to note that if the LED Warning light strip is too long, the LEDs towards the end will be dimly lit.

Some manufacturers coat the PCB of the LED Warning light strips with reflective metals. Consequently, making the light strip have more illumination.

Notably, you can spot a quality LED warning light strip if it has the brightness specified in lumens.

Available Colors For LED Warning Light Strips

LED warning light strips have two major color options:

  • White color; majorly used for indoor lighting.
  • Colored; which include red, violet, blue, amber, green, and infrared or ultraviolet. The colored LED warning light strips can have one fixed color among the mentioned colors. Alternatively, it can color-change (incorporate more than two of the mentioned colors).

Dimmability Of LED Warning Light Strips

Any LED warning light strip is dimmable provided it is fitted with the right dimming equipment. The most common equipment are the AC phase-cut dimmer or the DC low-voltage dimmer.

The DC low-voltage dimmer is fitted between the LED warning light strip and the DC power supply.

It can then manually or digitally used to dim the LED strips.

On the other hand, the AC phase-cut dimmer is used in most traditional pre-installed LED warning light strips with a switch dimmer.

How To Install Vehicle LED Warning Light Strips

Installing a LED warning light is quite straight forward:

  • First, wipe the surface you intend to install the LED light strips.
  • Fix the LED light strip on the chose surface of the vehicle. Preferably, you can use a double-sided tape. However, if the light strip has and adhesive surface you can simply stick it.
  • Extend wires of the light strip to the vehicle’s bonnet and connect them to the battery. These will act  as the power source.

LED Vehicle Installation

LED Vehicle Installation

Best Connector Clip Options For LED Warning Light Strips

You can use any of the below connector clips for your LED Warning light strips:

  • Tape to tape connector – They will help you join two LED tapes making them function as one strip.
  • Starter-lead connector – It help fits a starter cable to LED strip minus soldering.

Both of these connectors can be used for single-color and RGB LED strips.

What Is IP67-rated LED Warning Light Strip?

An IP67 rating means that the LED warning light strip has 100 percent protection from solid objects such as sand and dust.

Recommended Voltage For LED Warning Light Strips

The higher the wattage the higher the voltage requirement.

Typically, low wattage (less than 10 watts) LED warning light strips will require 12V power supply.

On the other hand, high wattage (more than 14 watts) LED warning light strips will require a 24V power supply.

Benefits Of The Flood Mode Feature For LED Warning Light Strips

The flood mode feature will enable the LED warning light strip to be brighter making it more visible. As such it can be effective in giving a warning signal.

Regulations Surrounding The Use Of LED Warning Light Strips

The usage of LED warning light strips is entirely dependent on the state you are in.

For instance:

  • Some states do not permit the installation of any red light on any part of a vehicle except the rear.
  • Others do not permit flashing, stroboscopic, or spinning lighting.
  • Also, other states prohibit the use of certain colors, for example, blue, in lighting.

Troubleshooting LED Car Door LED  Light Strips

The table below will guide you in troubleshooting various LED light strip problems.

Problem Possible CausePossible Solutions
Inconsistent Flashing LEDs      Power Overloadü  Get a larger power supply

ü  Reduce the number of strips

LEDs showing different colors in a section       Faulty LEDs on the sectionü  Replace the section
LEDs showing different color entirely      Faulty connectionü  Check the connection between the strip and the controller.
Strip is too hot when touched      The voltage is high.

Possibility of a ‘short’ along the strip.

ü  Reduce the voltage.

ü  Check the strip and ascertain there is no across connection of any solder.

LEDs are less bright towards the end      Voltage dropü  Strip should be less than 5m
LEDs don’t light up at all      Faulty power supply

Damaged strip

ü  Check the power supply

ü  Check the strip.

Strip tripping the breaker      Faulty power supply.

Inrush current is too high.

ü  Check the power supply.

ü  Increase the breaker size

Wrong colour selections      Faulty controller connectionü  Check the controller connection.

LED Warning Light Strips And The Environment

LED Warning light strips consume less electricity making them energy efficient. Their energy efficiency ensures environmental conservation.

Compared to the traditional light bulbs with high wattage of over 40 watts, their wattage is usually less than 30 watts.

Also, their durability means they are not constantly produced hence reducing carbon emissions to the environment.

Quality Standards For LED Warning Light Strips

Most quality standards for LED warning light strips are dictated by organizations such  as ANSI, IESNA, UL, and NEMA.

Some of these standards include:

  • ANSI C78.377-2011
  • IES LM-79-08
  • IES LM-80-08
  • IES TM-21-11
  • UL8750
  • NEMA White Paper: LSD-45
  • IES TM-28

Warranty Considerations For LED Warning Light Strips

The warranty of LED warning light strips can be as long as 15 years depending on the lighting period.

The more the lighting period, the lesser the warranty period.

For example, a light strip functioning daily for 24 hours has lesser warranty period than the one functioning for 12 hours daily.

LED Warning Light Strip Price

The price of  LED warning light strip depends on the length, type, colour and other features like  the type of adhesive installed.

Also, other properties such as water and dustproof may add up to the price.

With the information in this guide, am sure you can choose a perfect LED warning light stirps for all your applications.

At GoldMore, we have high performance and low energy consumption LED warning light strips.

Contact us today for all your LED warning light strips.

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