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12-volt vs. 24-volt LED strip lights – what is the difference?

12v or 24v LED strip lights… What is the difference? Which to choose? And what are the benefits / negatives?

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Based on both LED strip lights being the same specification, how would the 12v and 24v versions differ?
e.g., Both strips are 120 LEDs per metre, 3528 smds, and from the same manufacturer using the same quality components.
The differences will be as follows:

Brightness:
There is no difference in brightness between a 12v and 24v LED strip light; the voltage does not determine the light output. (Other things do, such as the quality of the LEDs.)

Longest run in series:
The 24v strip suffers less voltage drop than the 12v type. While the usual length-limit for a 12v strip would be 5m (powered from one end), a 24v can be run further, maybe 7m powered from one end. So if you need longer runs, you would choose the 24v type.

Cut points:
12v LED strips almost always have half the distance between cut points compared to a 24v strip.
e.g., If on a 12v strip the cut points are 50mm apart, then the 24v type would have 100mm spacing. This is because the 12v LED strips are cuttable every 3 LEDs, whereas the 24v types are cuttable every 6 LEDs. (This is due to the way they are made.) So if you have a lot of tight corners, then the 12v option will give you truer accuracy.

Life:
12v or 24v will both have the same life expectancy

Amperage (amount you can put on  a controller):
24v LED strips draw half the amperage of 12v, so when it comes to control gear 24v is the clear winner. It allows you to power double the amount of LED strips on the same receiver.

e.g., A receiver has 4 x 5amps. The calculation works like this:
4 x 5amp = 20amp max | 20a x 12v = 240w maximum
compared to:
4 x 5amp = 20amp max | 20a x 24v = 480w maximum

There you have it. These are the main differences between 12v and 24v LED strips!

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By |2019-04-04T15:46:10+00:00April 11th, 2019|Categories: Tutorials - product advice and technical support for your LED projects|Comments Off on 12-volt vs. 24-volt LED strip lights – what is the difference?