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LED rope lights

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  • LED rope lights

    I'm looking for some basic info on LED rope lights. I've done a lot of household electrical work over the years, but I've never used LED rope lights and I'm not sure of some things. (Will be run under deck handrail.)

    Since it will be used outside, I'm looking at using the "waterproof" variety. When I started looking at this, it seemed very simple - but the more I look, the more I realize that I don't know about this stuff.

    I see both flat and round types available - are they both good? Or is one better than the other (round would seem to make bends better)?

    Are connectors standardized, or do I need to make sure I stick with the same manufacturer?

    Has anyone done this? If so, any tips?



  • #2
    Are you talking about rope light (round clear hose with tiny incandescent bulbs imbedded in it) or true LED strip light?
    I used quite a bit of rope light on my houseboat, the clear round incandescent type. I also use it now above our kitchen cabinets to light up my wife's "treasures" she puts up there for me to have to dust! I think that all of this is 25' lengths, I didn't shorten it, just curled the excess on top of the cabinet.

    The 110 volt rope light is relatively easy to use, it lasts a long time and the ropes can be shortened if necessary. Look for the kind that you can connect the ends together vrs single ropes that you would have to cut and splice together. I never found the maximum number of strings that you could tie together, we had probably 200-250 feet connected in series with never a problem. The drawback to all of the rope light, incandescent and led is the mounting hardware. A mounting track is available for the round light but it cost 5x the cost of the light. I found that 1 hole loom or cable strap works better, or tie wrap it to the rail.
    Some of my dock friends used 12 v incandescent and LED lights of various mfg's. They were all more problematic than the 110v because most used a transformer that had a short life and some brand specific connector that wasn't that waterproof.
    When we finally get around to installing rope light in my patio ceiling it will probably be the continuous rope that is sold off the spool at the big box store so I won't have to the dead spots created by end connectors.
    LED does put out a nice bright crisper light vrs the incandescent rope lights soft slightly yellow light. Some of the LED colors are nice too, but were not what I wanted on a houseboat.
    Hope this helps


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply. I believe that I'm talking about round clear 1/2 diameter hose with tiny LEDs embedded in it, 110 volt. I'd probably get a spool of ~ 100' if possible.


      • #4
        I've used both the "rope" and the flat strips (both with silicone outer weatherproofing and without.

        Please note that these are not permanent products... they will eventually fail. Just wanted to start by saying that as LEDs are sometimes sold as essentially "working forever".

        I would think the strip would work best for your application... it can be installed perfectly flat under the rail. The rope is like a stiff hose and will essentially never be able to be run in a straight line unless you place it in some purpose-built C-channel which adds a lot to the cost.

        Just some thoughts.


        • #5
          I used several strips of these ( modules mounted on PVC custom made pieces. Used stainless steel screws and ample amounts of silicone sealant to prevent corrosion. This assembly was mounted under the railings with a switched outlet supplying a dimming driver under the deck.

          It has been 5 years and it still works great.


          • #6
            Both Costco and Sam's Club sell LED ropes that you can just plug in. That's what I have on my patio. The kit included the hanger clips and a normal 120v plug.


            • #7
              Woot deal on LED color changing weatherproof LED strip lights,


              • #8
                Unless you specifically want colors, don't get that. Get warm white if what you're looking for is lighting and not decoration.