LED Rolls of Lights

These things are amazing, easy to use, and really cheap.  There are now LED specialty shops all over the place (including two in Progreso on C.78 near the beach), and they’re sold at the big places like Niplito and (for more money) at Home Depot.  Easy to buy online too from places like Masluz.

A typical package has 5 meters of LED’s rolled up on a reel.  (Remember audio tapes and 8mm film?  It’s a reel like that.)  One end will have a connector on it, and you plug that into the power supply.  Plug the supply into an outlet and the whole strip lights up.

There are also LED strips made up of red green and blue (RGB) LEDs.  These will come with a controller that connects in between the strip and the power supply, as well as a little remote control the size of a credit card.  These strips let you change the colors, dim them, and even start them animating with constant color changes.

And what can you do with these things?

  • If you have a recessed area at the top of a wall, unroll a strip for beautiful indirect lighting.
  • Stick a strip under a shelf for even lighting along the entire length.
  • Light an entire china cabinet by running strips vertically down the sides.
  • If you buy a strip rated for use outdoors, string it along anything to light the area.

MOUNTING THE STRIP:  The flexible LED strips come with an adhesive strip along its entire length; you take off the backing and press it in place.  That’s great provided your surface is perfectly smooth, and perfectly clean.  I find that strip does not work well, but there are lots of little clips (made for purposes like holding wire to a wall) that can be used to hold it up.

CUTTING THE STRIP:  LED strips cut easily with sharp scissors or wirecutters.  BUT you must be careful to cut the trip at the right place!  You will see the little square LEDs, and between them will be pairs of small copper foil surfaces.  Cut the strip right across that copper foil, so you leave a bit on each of your cut ends.  If you do this, you’ll be able later to solder thin wires to them and use the part you cut off for something else.

ADDED SEPT 2020:  I had to replace a strip this summer, and the new ones came without a remotecontrol.  These operate thru Wifi or Bluetooth from your phone, tablet or home assistant (e.g., Alexa).  The app, called Tuyasmart, lets me adjust the colors and brightness and also set timed events (turn on every evening at 7PM, off at 10:15PM, etc.).  A very nice addition, although if it loses its wifi connection I have to go up a ladder to reset it.