NEW BLOG: How to light with LED tape


Posted 15 April 2020

This article takes you through the general considerations for lighting with LED tape; a quick reference guide to product selection and specification.

There are lots of manufacturers offering LED tape, a quick google search will land you with a few hundred thousand results. However, not all products are created equal; but more on how to compare products later. 

Firstly, what's the difference? 

LED strip light, LED tape, LED ribbon, Flexible Linear, in short, there is no difference per se! It is just a name. Different manufacturers just call their products different things. We call our LED strip lighting ‘FLEXISTRIP’ and sub categorise the family using the names of snakes… 

LED tape has lots of uses. Perhaps the most common is cove lighting to provide a glow of light (also called accent lighting) around a room. You will also find it used to fill shadow gaps, edge light steps or illuminate plinths and pelmets - who doesn’t love a beautiful feature staircase? under kitchen cabinets or shelves, around a bathroom mirror, in feature ceilings, and walls; the possibilities really are endless.

Where do I start? 

The following questions are designed to give you a step by step guide to all of the elements of a product specification you’ll need to consider in selecting the right product for your scheme:

What will you be lighting? And where do you want to install it?

Is the lighting functional or decorative? If you want a high-output tape, for functional illumination, then a guide figure would be to look for one that emits upwards of 1500 lumens per metre.

For decorative - where the product is used to detail, for ambient or accent lighting, or as a feature, colour rendering is usually more important. A minimum CRI of 80Ra is recommended, the higher the CRI, the better the quality of light - for many interior lighting projects a CRI of 90Ra is preferred.

It will also help you to decide details such as the products IP (Ingress Protection) rating and how it will be installed i.e. if the product will be seen or hidden?

In what application/setting?

This may affect decisions such as colour temperature & brightness - for example, ultra-warm colour temperatures such as 1800K or 2400K can be used to create snug areas, bedrooms or lighting restaurants and bars, bringing the warmth of ‘candlelight’ to a space.

Whereas, our most popular 2700K or 3000K work better to complement general lighting elements throughout residential and hospitality environments.

Colder/Daylight temperatures of 4000K upwards could be used for spaces that lack natural light, commercial environments, gymnasiums, and similar functional spaces. 

Selecting a light source with the appropriate lumen package is also very important, although we can dim our tape to as low as 0.1% with EldoLED drivers, this relies upon the quality of the dimming system and if your source lumens are already too high, even your lowest level setting could be too bright. 

Does it need to be waterproof?

If it’s going in a damp environment - think bathroom or indoor pool: we recommend a minimum of an IP67 product (our waterproof FLEXISTRIP is an IP68 - submersible - solution), as opposed to IP65 which is just splash-proof. This will ensure product longevity.

If you want a long-lasting installation then don't forget about the connection, which should be as good, if not better, than the IP rating of the tape.

How will I install it?

Will the fitting be concealed or visible? If visible, then consider an extrusion that will ensure a trimless, flush, recessed finish: ask us about our Plaster In profile. 

What type of light is required?

Mono, Tuneable white, Dim-to-Warm, RGB, RGBW, RGBA, RGBVW?

Mono-Colour Whites are available from 1800K through to 6500K.

Our Tuneable white range is selected by you with any 2 or 3 colour chip combination from 1800K through to 6500K so the power is truly handed to you to control your specification. 1800K+2700K+4000K , no problem! Tryka custom variants can be delivered within as little as one week from order, but typically our lead time is 2-3 weeks from order.

Our dim to warm is available from 3000K to 2400K, or 2700K to 1800K.

RGBW allowing full colour spectrum, or our newest 5 colour RGBVW featuring RGB+27k+50K LEDs for maximum performance and maintenance of high CRI through our variable white range.

Colour temperature?

Are there other lights in the area and if so, what colour temperature are they? Do you want to complement or contrast?

Colour quality and performance

CRI & Macadam Ellipse are the key metrics here.

Our Flexistrip products feature a 2 step MacAdam Ellipse, within a single BIN for optimum colour consistency.

Our most premium variants offer industry leading Chroma Parameters with a CRI Ra98 @ 2700K, with R9 value of 99!

Do I need to achieve a minimum lumen output?

Will the Flexistrip form part of the emergency lighting function within the built environment?

How far apart are the LEDs? Can I achieve homogenous illumination?

Tryka can achieve homogeneous lighting in our 8x10mm PRO002S with a lumen package up to 1100lm/m delivered!

Control

How will it be switched on/off?

Switched only,

DMX,

DALI,

DALI-2,

TRIAC (Leading or Trailing Edge Mains Dimming),

0-10V/1-10V,

or combined protocol solutions.

Comparing products (in addition to using the above guidance), the key metrics you may want to consider:

  • Can it be cut on site or do you need to specify lengths?
  • LED population (or in simple words, the number of LEDs) per metre?

Products that offer upwards of 120 per metre will offer greater light uniformity and less chance of hot-spotting in even the slimmest and shallowest profiles.

  • Power consumption

The power draw per meter is almost always listed in an LED strip's datasheet.

  • Lumens per watt or Lumens per metre
  • Lifetime

a minimum of 50,000 hours (L70) is recommended

  • Operating temperature
  • Colour quality

Tryka provides a made-to-measure service whereby our product is supplied in custom lengths, in a wide range of colour temperatures; from an ultra-warm white - 1900K to a cool white; 6500K. For guidance on the most suitable product specification for your application, contact us > info@tryka.com


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