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Voltage Drop Effect In LED Strip Lights

August 04,2023

The voltage drop effect of the  LED light strip  refers to a phenomenon in which the brightness of the tail end of the light strip is reduced due to a decrease in voltage. The voltage drop effect is generally easier to be mentioned in low-voltage light strips (5V, 12V, 24V). Generally, for a 12V SMD5050 60LED/M light strip, the voltage at a position 5 meters away from the power supply end is about 11V. There is already a 1V voltage difference between this position and the power supply end, but it basically does not affect the brightness and light effect of the light. But for a length longer than 5 meters, the voltage will start to drop rapidly. For example, at a position 7 meters away from the power supply end, the voltage may only be 8V. Because the voltage has dropped a lot, the brightness difference between the front and rear parts of the led strip is very large when viewed by the naked eye (white light has the largest difference, and red, yellow, green, blue and other colored lights have smaller brightness differences). For high-voltage light strips, the difference in brightness generally occurs at about 50 meters (according to the quality of the plugs matched by each manufacturer, the degree of voltage drop of the product will be different).

Why LED strip voltage drop happen?

1. Line impedance: Since the working voltage of the light strip is low, when the line impedance is large, the voltage at the input end will drop more.

2. Line load: Loads such as resistance or capacitance connected to the light strip will affect the stability of the current, resulting in a drop in voltage.

3. Line length: Due to the resistance of the wire itself, the farther the light strip is from the power supply, the greater the line resistance will be, which will cause the voltage to drop.

In fact, all LED strips will have a voltage drop effect more or less. However, 24V, 36V, and 48V constant-current LED strips can avoid the influence of voltage drop to the greatest extent within the limit length. There are constant-current ICs on these constant-current strips, and these ICs can keep the current flowing through the LED constant. As long as the current flowing through the LED chips is constant, the brightness of the LED chips is also constant.

In addition to affecting the brightness of the product, the severe voltage drop effect will also affect the high temperature resistance of the product. Due to the voltage drop effect, the electrical energy will be converted into heat energy of the resistor, so when too much electrical energy is converted into heat energy, it will damage the double-sided adhesive of the product, the LED chip of the product and the nearby heat-sensitive mounting materials.

How to reduce the disadvantages caused by the voltage drop effect? Here I will provide you with some effective solutions:

1. Parallel connection wiring of LED strips

When it is necessary to install a long LED strip, it is recommended to connect the LED strips every 5 meters in parallel to the power supply.

2. Power supply at both ends of the LED strip

If there is a 10-meter LED strip in the project, it is usually necessary to supply power at both ends of the LED strip

3. Using Multiple LED Power Supplies

The use of multiple LED power supplies allows the product to be very close to the power supply end, minimizing voltage drop.

4. Use 36V and 48V LED strips instead of 12V and 5V strips

Higher operating voltage means lower current and less voltage drop

5. led strip lights adopts thicker PCB

Copper is the most commonly used material in wires and conducts electricity well. Copper thickness is usually measured in ounces. The thicker the copper wire, the more current will flow through it. We recommend a 2oz or 3oz PCB for the LED strip. Used to reduce the voltage drop of high-power LED strips. The thicker the copper wire, the lower the internal resistance. Therefore, copper wire products will bring higher power efficiency, in addition, the heat dissipation of the product is also better.

Summary: In order to solve the impact caused by the pressure drop effect, there are many options for us to choose. These solutions either cost time or money. The effect of voltage drop shouldn't be a problem for anyone, as long as you're willing to spend a little more time or money.

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