What is voltage drop?
Voltage drop is a decrease in voltage from initial power supply’s 100% voltage, across all part of an electric circuit. Excessive drop in voltage can make your LED lights to burn dimly.
Voltage drop depicts how the supplied energy of a voltage source decreases as electric current travels through passive components (components that do not supply voltage) of an electrical circuit. Voltage reduces across conductors, contacts, resistances of the source and across connectors is undesired;
In DC circuits, voltage drops gradually as it travels along through a LED strip light. In this way, with each foot of wire, the available voltage to each foot steadily reduces along the length of wire. This can lead to having one end of your strip lights being brighter than the other flip side.
One of the fundamental causes of the voltage drop is implementing the wrong connection type while adding extra distance between the LED strip lights and their power supply.
How will the voltage drop affect the led strip lights?
If you want to mount a LED strip certain distance far from its power source or transformer, then voltage drop may influence your lights. In case you use the wrong wire for connection( for instance of unsuitable thickness ) or fit a continuous distance of LED tape longer than 5 meters, then you may notice that you have fewer volts reaching the start of your LED tape. This will result in a reduction in the brightness of the LED strip!
Factors that affect Voltage Drop
1. Cable thickness:
For long cable runs, you will require a thick cable to prevent voltage drop – whereas for short runs you can make use thin cables yet still have no voltage drop problem. The thickness of a cable is the most significant factor influencing voltage drop: In case you use a cable that is very narrow, this will lead to voltage drop towards the end of your long cable run.
2. Cable composition:
Just like the current, the material a cable is made off will influence how well it conducts electric current. Some materials are more resistant than others.
3. Length of the LED tape
Voltage drops can happen not just across cables used to supply power to the LED tapes, but additionally across the LED tapes themselves. As a universal rule, any continuous run of LED tape longer than 5 meters will begin to experience a voltage drop problem.
The solution to prevent voltage drop
To solve the problem of voltage drop: Divide long runs of LED strip lights into shorter strips, then connect extra “Parallel” wires from the power supply to each new LED strip. This procedure can be repeated the same number of times as you need. You may likewise run the extra wire from the power unit alongside the uncut LED strip and join it when voltage drop begins to happen. Just make sure you are using the right wire gage as clarified beneath.
Example 1: Create a parallel connection from the power supply and split the runs in various directions
If you wanted 60 feet LED tape lighting, we prescribe installing the power supply unit in the middle of the run and having one 30ft segment running from the power supply to one side, and one 30ft area heading off to the other side. This is known as a “Parallel” connection.
Example 2: Running different parallel runs at longer distances
If you want to install a continuous run of more than 90 feet, or you are using a much longer length of wire from the power supply to the strip, use a “Parallel” connection.