Originally Posted by Jcharxed
Can anyone help me figure out how to run a few strip light kits together. I know I can use the same remote. Just wonder what I need to connect and power them.
Usually an RGB controller will handle around 10 amps, and if you need more than 10 amps you can run amplifiers. If your amplifier can handle 24 amps, and your 12 volt strips draw 5 amps per roll with all colors lit up, then you could run 4 rolls off one amplifier (20 meters). Each amplifier would require a power supply then, and it has to be sized for your load. If you are running 4 rolls of 12 volt RGB led strip that draws 5 amps per roll max, then you would need 20 amps of power supply at 12 volts, or 240 watts. You don't want to max it out, so a 300 watt power supply would work here.
So the first thing you need to know is the max amp draw of the LED strip. 24 volt strips usually draw half as much as 12 volt strips, so you can run half the amps with the same length. However, wattage is volts times amps, so either way you have the same amount of power being drawn, and need the same size power supply. Strips vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and RGBW might draw more than RGB, and a single color would draw even less. Some strips are 300 led's per roll, some are 600. Some use 5050SMD's, some use other size and configuration LED's. You just need to find out how many amps a roll draws with all colors lit at max, and you can plan from there.
Next you need a controller that can control all your colors. This is where things get tricky because sometimes you need it to remember your settings after power is cut (like if you power it from a light switch), sometimes you want wifi of bluetooth or just an RF or IR remote. There are a lot of options out there. If you are running 1 or 2 strips, just a controller is usually fine, for more strips, you need to run amplifiers.
Finally you need to figure out how many amplifiers you need and what size power supply for each amplifier. If you are running 12 volt RGBW strips that draw 20 amps at max at your designated length, then you need a 12 v power supply that can do 20 amps. If you run 3 amplifiers at 20 amps each, you need 3 power supplies, one for each amplifier.
Those wall wart power supplies are usually 1-3 amps, and might be able to run a single color 5 meter strip or maybe an RGB with 300 LEDs per roll. The power supplies that look like a laptop power supply are usually around 5 amps, and can run a single RGB or RGBW 5 meter strip, or 2-3 single color strips. Anything more and you probably need a hobby power supply that kicks out 250-500 watts of power. 24 volt strips will take smaller wire and use less amps, but also take 24 volt power supplies.
The wiring of amplifiers is simple - run power to your controller, and then the output feeds the amplifier inputs. If RGB or RGBW, you run the red output from the controller to the red input on the amplifier, blue to blue, green to green, etc. Then you can just jump each wire to the next amplifier (i.e. run them in series). The amplifiers have a power input that comes from the power supplies, and the output goes to the strips from each amplifier. The controller won't take much power if you have amplifiers, so you can just run it off one of the amplifier power supplies.
A 20 amp 12 volt power supply doesn't mean it takes 20 amps to run from the wall, it probably needs more like 3-5 amps, so you can plug 2,3 or even 4 20 amp power supplies into a single wall outlet.
The only other thing is sizing your wire from the power supplies to the amplifiers and then from the amplifiers to the LED strips. With 12 volt RGBW, you might need 16 ga wire, where with 24 volt you might get away with 22 ga for short runs or 16 or 18 ga wire for longer runs. Wire is rated by amp draw. Higher temp rated wires can handle more "ampacity", but you also need to consider length so you don't get voltage loss over too long of a length.
And finally, I recommend you feed both ends of a strip with power from the amplifier, so that one end is not brighter than the other.
I have around 240 feet of 24 volt RGBW strip in my ceiling, running off of 3 350w power supplies, 3 amplifiers, and one controller. My strips are 24 volt 4 color SMD's (RGBW on one LED) that I solder together and trim to 220" lengths, and run 4 lengths off each amplifier. Each 5 meter roll uses 2.7 amps max with all 4 colors lit up.