How To Correctly Wire An LED Sign

Wiring An LED Sign Correctly- A Users Guide

The Lighting Zone shares the rules of wiring an LED sign correctly to prevent fire hazards and ensure secure connections.

Use Stranded Wire

With stranded wire you get more intimate contact, reducing voltage drop and power losses. Poor connections can rob a system of a significant portion of the power being produced. Stranded wire will compress and flatten out, which increases the contact area. This reduces the voltage drop and minimises heating at the connection.

Do Not Use Solid Wire

When using solid wire in a low voltage system you will notice, at best, that you will have three small contact areas between the solid wire and the device connection when using a typical screw down terminal. This also applies to power distribution blocks or wire nuts where you have only two contact areas that can cause a heating connection.

Use Clean, Straight Wire Leads

Having clean and straight wires is important to any LED installation. If your wires are clean and straight you will get the best possible connection and reduce voltage drop. If you want you can solder the ends of your wires to keep them together and know you are getting sufficient contact on your connections.

Do Not Fray Wire Leads

When your wires are frayed and going in all directions you are at risk of multiple wiring issues. First of all, you will notice voltage drop if only a few pairs of your stranded wire are making electrical contact. Secondly, you are putting your installation at risk for an electrical short and potential fire hazard.

Heat Shrink Or Use Connectors

When connecting two wires together, it is always best to use the proper wire connectors or solder your wire together and apply heat shrink for protection. There are a variety of wire connectors for different types of wires so it is critical that your connectors are made for the wire you are using and securely fastened.

Do Not Leave Bare Wire Splices

When wiring your LED lighting project, it is very important to not leave any of your wire splices exposed because it puts your installation at risk for an electrical short and potential fire hazard. Always use proper wire connectors and never leave bare wire splices exposed.

Use Wire Splitters

A common mistake people make when wiring LED lighting products is trying to simplify the installation by jamming 10 wires into a wire nut or phoenix connector. It is better to use multiple wire splitters, terminal blocks, or solder wires together to split your wires, rather than try and overload a wire connector, which can be a serious fire hazard.

Do Not Overload Wire Connectors

Overloading wire connectors is the most common mistake when installing LED lighting products. When there are too many wires in a connector that is designed for a single wire this can cause serious fire hazard issues if a short occurs or the wires begin to arc. It can also cause voltage drop issues if some wires have a more secure connection than others.

Use Parallel Connections

When installing larger LED installations or installations with a lot of wire running to multiple locations, you must wire your lights in parallel to the controller or power supply to reduce voltage drop. Think of a parallel connection as your LED lights running independently back to the power source, or run a home run wire to your power supply and splice into that wire at your different wiring locations. Test with a multimeter to check for voltage drop.

Do Not Use Serial Connections

For first time LED installers, serial connections seem like common sense when wiring your LED lights. What people don’t realise is that each little LED and its components take a bit of voltage away from the next in a series. So the longer you run your LED lights in a series, the more voltage drop that is going to occur and the less even your lighting will be. If you are installing lights over 6m (20ft), or in multiple locations, always use parallel connections.

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