Frequently Asked Questions
How do I pair my wireless remote to its receiver?
Controllers and receivers from different product lines are often paired in different ways. Fortunately, all our controllers and receivers have detailed instructions under their respective Documentation tab on our website. In fact, many of our controllers and receivers have videos demonstrating the pairing process. If you are still having issues, give us a call at 888.880.1880.
Where are product instructions found?
All manuals and available instructions for our products can be found on the Documentation tab of that product’s page.
How do I debug my LED lighting system?
The video below reviews 7 principles you'll find helpful in fixing your LED lighting system. Following the advice of this video will uncover most common problems, however, if you are still having issues, please give us a call at 888.880.1880.
What is the branch limit of your LED strip light? Can I connect more than 1 reel end-to-end?
The branch limit of our LED strip light is usually one reel, so no, you can't generally connect more than one reel end-to-end. We created a 4-part video series that covers proper LED linear lighting electrical design technique.
Can I connect multiple light strips together? What is the limit?
Connecting too many lights together can cause voltage drop and lead to dimmer lights and/or inconsistent color mixing along the length of the installation. You can observe a voltage drop using a DC volt meter, but only if your lights are on fully bright, with no dimming applied. For multicolor lights, such as Red-Green-Blue strip, the voltage drop will affect each color node differently, so the resulting color mix may appear inconsistent and incorrect along the length of the run. If your lights appear to be dim and/or have inconsistent color, you may be seeing the effects of voltage drop caused by runs that are too long.
Connecting too many strips (low-voltage and 120VAC products) end to end may increase the current at the head end above a reasonable limit, causing excessive heat, product damage and fire. Do not exceed the specified lengths.
Please design your projects within the product’s specified Branch Length Limit.
What types of connectors do you offer for LED strip light?
Please watch the video on the subject:
How do I calculate voltage drop?
We recommend using the, “Voltage Drop Calculator” found our calculators webpage. Keep in mind; For 12 or 24 volt DC systems, we recommend using wire thick enough to maintain at least 11 or 22 volts, respectively, throughout the system.
What gauge of wire should I use?
The required wire gauge depends on wire material, voltage, current, run length and whatever you consider to be an acceptable voltage drop. Generally, we consider 11 volts acceptable for most 12 volt systems (a one volt drop) and 22 volts acceptable for most 24 volt systems (two volt drop). The theoretical approach is offered by our calculator. If you have problems on something already installed, the best approach is to turn the lights to FULL brightness and check voltage at various points along the run using a DC voltmeter. Typical wire gauges are 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24. If you need help or guidance, give us a call at 888.880.1880.
Can I use your lighting with a power supply I bought somewhere else?
Yes, but we recommend using high quality drivers from Environmental Lights because we tested them and know they are great. If you use a driver you got somewhere else, it may void our warranty, depending on the driver. Some drivers from other vendors damage LED lighting. The biggest offenders are cheap magnetic dimming supplies offered by various vendors that do not cap the voltage at 12 or 24 volts, as required. If you have any questions, it’s best to ask us before you connect the lights.
What is the difference between a power supply, a driver and an adapter?
They all can power LED lighting, if you pick the right specifications. There are no official definitions for these words and they are sometimes used interchangeably but here is a guide:
- Power Supply – a general term for a device that supplies energy to a load. It converts power from one voltage or current to another and performs other functions, such as protection and filtering.
- Driver – a power supply that is designed to power LED lighting.
- Adapter – a power supply that has an enclosed block used in powering variety of devices, including lighting, which typically has a plug on the primary side for connecting to a wall socket and a barrel plug on the secondary side to connect to the device that is being powered. An adapter where the plug is incorporated into the block is sometimes referred to as a "wall wart".
What type of power supply will be best for my configuration, and how do I know what size to choose?
The best power supply for each installation varies depending on the application and location of the lights. All recommended accessories for our products, controllers, power supplies, etc. can be found on the Accessories tab of that product’s page. Here is a video to help you choose a power supply:
If you have any additional questions or need advice, give us a call at 888.880.1880.
Where should I mount the LED driver and do I need to take anything into consideration regarding location?
Drivers must be placed in a well-ventilated area, so they do not overheat. If you are using a standard non-waterproof driver outdoors, use a NEMA enclosure that keeps water out and maintains good airflow.
Should I keep my power supply close to my lights?
The longer the length of wire between the power supply and the lights, the larger the voltage drop will be. Voltage drop over a length of wire is caused by parasitic resistance and can lead to dimming and inaccurate or inconsistent colors.
Another problem that long wire lengths can cause is called parasitic capacitance which is relevant for installations using Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) dimming. Put simply, a long wire in a PWM light circuit, can act as another electronic component that causes unforeseen and unwanted results. Of particular concern, parasitic capacitance can cause the power supply to overdrive the circuit and the lights to experience voltage spikes that can permanently damage the LEDs.
What is polarity and how does it affect my installation?
There are two poles in a low voltage DC Circuit: (+) and (-). Determining the polarity of all wires in a system is a must to ensure proper installation and function. When installing, ensure the (+) and (-) wires from the power supply are connected to the corresponding (+) and (-) markings on the LEDs or terminals of the dimmer/controller being used. If power is applied but the lights do not turn on, it’s very likely that the polarity is backwards. Remove power, review the system and adjust as needed.
How do I wire White-Adjustable/RGB/RGBW/RGBTW products to their respective controllers?
When connecting a strip that has more than one color (channel) be sure the wires coming from the strip are connected to the controller’s corresponding terminals. Making the black wire the (+) is best practice as it allows the other red, green and blue wires to line up with their corresponding terminals, decreasing the chance for mix-up. Additionally, we offer detailed instructions for all our controllers on our website. Simply go to that product's page and review the documents listed under the Specifications tab. If you still have questions do not hesitate to contact us. Important: wire colors may vary between different strip products. As products have become more complicated over the years, it has become difficult to adhere to consistent wire color standards. If you’re having trouble, look carefully at the circuit board to determine what each wire color is connected to. The strip (circuit board) is always marked with the common anode and various colors.
How many LEDs are in the RGB LED products and how are they spaced?
We offer RGB strip with 30, 32, 55, 60, 72, 84, and 120 LEDs per meter. It is a selection designed to meet the needs of any project. For a complete product understanding see here: RGB and Multi-Color
How do I know if my product is UL Listed or UL Recognized? Where can I find the UL file number for a product?
If a product is UL Listed, Underwriters Laboratories has tested representative samples of the product and determined that it meets specific, defined safety requirements. These requirements are often based on UL's published and nationally recognized standards for safety. A UL Listed product will have the following symbol(s):
If a product is UL Recognized, it means the product has been tested as a component. These components will later be used in complete end-products or systems and will have the following symbol:
The UL Certificate of Completion is listed as a document on the product pages.
What does the “50,000 hours expected lifetime” really mean? Under what conditions can this be affected?
Lighting system lifetime depends on many variables, as explained in this short video:
Can I use your strip light on my automobile?
You may use 12 VDC strip light on a vehicle with a 12 VDC battery if you protect the strip light with a converter. Vehicle voltages vary from 10 to 14 volts. Above 12 volts, you will be damaging your strip and below about 11 volts, the strip will be dimmer than it should be. The role of the converter is to take “sloppy” vehicular voltage ranging from about 10 to 18 volts and produce clean 12 VDC for your lights. We offer a variety of converters - be sure to choose the right converter with the proper voltage output - Shop All Converters. If you need any assistance or are interested in discussing large projects and the possibility of obviating the need for a converter, give us a call at 888.880.1880
What type of wireless control is right for me?
- Wireless 0-10V – Best for simple on / off and dimming. Reliable and easy to use, but no zones or color mixing control.
- Basic RF – This covers basic remote + receiver systems. Can feature color mixing, saved scenes and zones depending on the remote. Easiest setup for basic multi-zone and color control.
- Bluetooth – Provides more advanced app control of the lights. Works seamlessly at close range without requiring network/internet access.
- WiFi – Provides advanced app controls with extendable range through WiFi routers. Requires network access and potentially changes to network settings to work seamlessly and extend range.
- Wireless DMX – Most advanced and reliable professional wireless control option. Requires additional hardware and software to control lighting. Setup can be complicated and more expensive than other options.
What are the ANSI tolerances for Environmental Lights CCT ratings?
|2700K||2725 ± 145||0.000 ± 0.006|
|3000K||3045 ± 175||0.000 ± 0.006|
|3500K||3465 ± 245||0.000 ± 0.006|
|4000K||3985 ± 275||0.001 ± 0.006|
|4500K||4503 ± 243||0.001 ± 0.006|
|5000K||5028 ± 283||0.002 ± 0.006|
|5700K||5665 ± 355||0.002 ± 0.006|
|6500K||6530 ± 510||0.003 ± 0.006|
What are the best practices for designing with LED linear lighting?
For a more complete understanding of LED lighting systems refer to these videos:
- I. Constant Voltage versus Constant Current
- II. Electrical Limits and Considerations
- III. Large Scale Installations
- IV. Controlling Large Systems
Are these LED strip lights dimmable? How can I dim the strip light?
Yes, all our LED strip products are dimmable! We offer an array of dimming options that can suit your needs. For a complete understanding of dimming 12 or 24 VDC strip, look here: LED Controllers and Dimmers
How do you solder wire to the strip light?
Here are two videos explaining how to solder strip lights:
What is DMX?
What are waterproofing ratings or IP codes?
IP (Ingress Protection) codes describe the degrees of protection provided by the enclosures of electrical equipment against dust (first digit) and non-corrosive liquids (second digit.) For example, six is the maximum dust rating, and it means “dust tight.” Eight is the maximum liquid protection and means “Protected against the effects of continuous immersion in water.” So the maximum IP rating for dust and water is IP68. Learn more.
What is CRI?
Color Rendering Index (CRI) is the measurement of how faithfully a light source reveals the colors of objects. The index range is from 0 to 100. The higher the CRI, the better the color accuracy. CRI is an important lighting feature for skin tones, decorating, merchandising and more.
What are the advantages of 24V over 12V LED strip?
The light output (flux) of any lighting fixture depends on the wattage, which is volts x amps. So 24 VDC lighting needs half the current (amps) compared to 12 VDC, for a given output. This means you can get away with thinner wires or longer run lengths using 24 VDC. The class 2 limit of 24 VDC lighting is 100 watts and the limit of 12 VDC lighting is only 60 watts, partly for that reason. Therefore, we usually choose to make our new products 24 volts because you can create more light using Class 2 wiring techniques, which saves time and money compared to Class 1 wiring. For very small luminaires, including strip light with short cut segments, 12 VDC is actually better than 24 VDC because you typically only need three LEDs instead of six on each cut segment. This is one reason we still sell 12 VDC strip-short cut segments..
What is Class 2?
Class 2 is a type of wiring circuit as defined by the National Electric Code (NEC). The NEC defines standards for wiring installations that must be met in order to pass inspection so it's important to keep these requirements in mind. Class 2 wiring is easier and less expensive to install than Class 1 wiring because it does not require conduit. The limits of Class 2 are 60 watts at 12 VDC and 100 watts at 24 VDC. Due to those power limitations, a Class 2 circuit is considered safe from the standpoint of initiating fires. To use Class 2 wiring, you must be using a Class 2 driver, which has to meet a variety of safety specifications and should be marked as Class 2.
How do I know if my product is NSF/ANSI 2 listed/certified?
We engineer our NSF/ANSI Standard 2 products to meet or exceed the requirements for commercial/industrial splash, food and nonfood zones. If a product is certified by NSF to NSF/ANSI Standard 2, Food Equipment, it will have the NSF Mark on it.
This means that facilities that make our NSF/ANSI Standard 2 products are regularly inspected and audited by an NSF representative. The materials and products then go through a testing and evaluation to ensure it meets the rigorous standards. We make sure annual follow-ups are carried out to ensure and maintain certification.
Contact us if you have any questions about NSF/ANSI Standard 2 or to learn about how we can help you with your next NSF/ANSI Standard 2 LED lighting project.
What does NSF certified mean?
Products that are NSF certified have undergone and passed an evaluation that ensures the product and facility meet NSF's standards. NSF/ANSI 2 establishes minimum food protection and sanitation requirements for the materials, design, fabrication, construction and performance of food handling and processing equipment (such as bakery, cafeteria, kitchen and pantry units) and other food handling and processing equipment (such as tables and components, counters, hoods, shelves and sinks).
How do I know if my product is suitable for installation in the storage area of a clothes closet?
Products that are Closet-Rated Certified have passed an evaluation that ensures the product meets UL’s standards UL 2108, 67.1.9 and 60.4. These LED products are UL Listed and suitable for installation in the storage area of a clothes closet. Please contact us so we can work directly with you to understand your challenges and determine the perfect UL-Listed, Closet-Rated Certified Solution.
Contact us if you have any questions about LED closet lighting solutions or to learn about how we can help you with your next Closet-Rated LED lighting project.
Do you offer or provide installation services?
Although Environmental Lights does specialize in engineering solutions, we do not currently offer or provide onsite installation services. We are, however, always available to provide sales and engineering assistance. Whether that be in the design phase of a project or with post-installation support, our team is ready to help. Give us a call at 888.880.1880.
What is your Warranty Policy?
Our Warranty Policy can be found here: Warranty Policy
What is your Returns policy?
Our Returns Policy can be found here: Returns Policy
When will I get my lighting after placing an order?
Environmental Lights ships most stock orders the same day, if ordered by 3:00 p.m. Pacific time. How long the order takes to arrive depends on the delivery service level you selected. For most orders, we provide tracking information. Call us if you have a special delivery requirement because we’re very good at delivering a great solution quickly, and helping people in a big hurry is one of our favorite ways to find new customers!
Why are your strip lights more expensive than what I see on other websites?
One of the most popular questions that our Customer Experience team gets is “Why don’t my [fill-in-the-blank of other, cheaper website] lights work?" Like most goods and services, there is a wide range of quality. This also applies to LED chips, power supplies, decoders and controllers. From the beginning, we have recognized that focusing on the total cost of ownership is more powerful and important for our customers. We offer high-quality, commercial-grade products that have been qualified, vigorously tested by our engineering team and, in most cases, certified by a third-party governing body like UL. Simply put, Environmental Lights offers the best in the business: products, engineered solutions and experience.
Do you have any “reps” that work in my area?
Environmental Lights does not employ the independent rep model that is common within the lighting industry. We engage directly with customers and end users to ensure we meet their exact requirements and needs.
Are you a wholesaler? Do you offer wholesaler pricing?
Environmental Lights has a unique model in which we work with a wide variety of players along the value chain. We do not consider ourselves wholesalers in the traditional sense. Our pricing is competitive and adjusted appropriately to reflect the differing relationships we have.
Do you offer tiered pricing or discounts for large orders?
We provide the highest quality lighting solutions available on the market, which are backed up by excellent engineering support and customer service and we believe our prices are competitive. We also offer an account-based pricing model. In some circumstances, we can provide additional discounts depending on your company and/or project. Give us a call at 888.880.1880 to discuss commercial pricing options.