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How to use correct LED power supply for LED strip light

Normally, DC12V LED strip light need to use power supply. LED strip lights rely on a peripheral unit called a power supply, also referred to as a transformer or driver, which is needed to make them work. Power supplies have many shapes and sizes, ranging from very basic 'plug and play' units to commercial style transformers which can be hardwired into your mains supply. You will also hear these power supplies referred to as transformers.

There are a few considerations you need to make when it comes to selecting the type of power supply you need. Firstly, do you want to be able to plug into a wall socket, or are you planning to hardwire your LED strip light into a light switch?

If the answer to the former question is 'yes' then you will require a standard 'plug and play' driver. This is the most basic supply available and allows quick and easy setup for standard domestic applications via a wall plug power source. The entire unit consists of a black transformer, a kettle-lead with a standard UK mains 3-prong plug and a 12V male connector which attaches to the LED strip light via a corresponding female connector. The entire unit closely resembles a lap top charger and is about 2 meters in length.

In addition to choosing the type of power supply, you will also need to determine the size of it. These supplies come in varying sizes, ranging anywhere from a low 20watts to many times this figure. These figures described the maximum 'load' that the supply can manage. The 'load' of your LED strip light is calculated by taking the wattage per meter and multiplying it by the number of meters you are using. For example, if the wattage per meter is 7.2W and you are using 10 meters, then the complete load is 72watts. It is important to make sure that this load does not exceed the maximum load on your supply; otherwise, you will experience performance issues with your LED strip light, such as voltage drop, and reduce the life span of your lights.

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