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Should you replace default wires on LED strip

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When starting out with doing your own LED strip installs (Analog or Digital) there is a lot of information to digest and one of them is how much current you need and especially for 5v addressable LED strip how many injection points you need to make.

To guide people in this I have my real-world LED power usage sheet which gives you much better numbers to work with then manufacturers often state. Combined with that I have a power injection live stream which teaches you how to calculate everything you need.

But one of the things that I assume in those guides is that an edge injection to an LED strip can effectively carry about 4Amps of current and a middle injection about double that. That’s the very reason the Dig-Quad pre-assembled comes with 5Amp fuses by default, since this suits most situations.

But why am I so sure about that? If you just connect thicker wire, doesn’t that mean it can carry more? (basically no). So I recently did a livestream to test exactly this.

Livestream video

The livestream video shows all tests in real-time including results and conclusions but I can understand this might be a long watch if you just want the results. For the results please see the next paragraph in this article!

The results

The document I typed during the livestream is here but please find a condensed version of the 100% RGB white (highest power usage) tests below.

Conclusion

As you can see in the table, either using the JST connector (officially only rated for 3Amps) or connecting the extra wires or even replacing the wires with 16AWG (1.3mm2) makes very little to no difference in the amount of current a single injection point can supply to the LED strip.

Then looking at the last result you can see that adding extra current using a power injection at the end of the strip does make a very big difference and now the LED strip can draw almost double the current  versus what it did using a single injection point.

This shows 2 things, a single power injection basically can’t inject more then 4Amps into an LED strip and if you want to use the LEDs on your LED strip to its fullest potential you are going to need 1 or more extra injection points transporting the extra current over separate cables.

Hope this article and video clarifies a little bit more on how to build your own LED setup!