Is 5-in-1 LED tape worth it for a fancy fake window?

Kat the LD

Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2017
Location
Columbus. OH
I have a renovation project happening that involves covering some high windows. We're planning to install LED tape as cove lighting in the area to prevent to room feeling weirdly dark, and I want to have it change between warm white and cool white according to sunrise/sunset times when we don't have an event going on. When the room is in event mode, we'll use it as part of the stage lighting system, so RGB is necessary.

We used some City Theatrical 5-in-1 tape for a project last year, and it made beautiful light but was absolute torture to solder. This project isn't likely to require many solder joints (we'll probably use whole rolls for the most part), but also the area where we'll be installing it is only accessible via a gigantic drive-it-around-the-building-cause-it-won't-fit-through-most-interior-doorways lift.

So here's the question: can the RGBA, RGBWW or RGBCW mix a genuinely nice 6000K and 2700K? Or are the colors tuned such that I'll need WW and CW to accomplish a clean-looking white for both color temperatures?
 

soundman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2003
Location
Nashville TN
I can't speak to the best product for your task but I can offer some advice on installation.

See if you can get some connectors like this I had to do some single color tape and I struggled pretty hard to get two wires landed and I am an OK solderer. Mine weren't fool proof, you need to be square with the cut and even then some rough handling can cause the pads not to make contact anymore. In hindsight some superglue might have helped it stay in place.

Failing that do all the soldering on the ground. Either by taking the time to measure all the windows and figuring out how to efficiently use the roll OR just estimate how much each window is, add 10% then trim off any excess when you install it. IMO choose the best product for the job, rather than the one that makes install go quicker. Better to be happy with the look every time you turn it on than wish you had the extra channel for the rest of your time in the space.
 

NJLX

Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2009
Location
Boston, MA
Personally, I like having the WW and CW whenever I'm trying to mix a specific white - RGB or RGBW just can't do the range of whites.

Definitely solder - those connectors may be quicker, but especially for an install, solder will work better in the long run. If you're installing it, and you're not confident in soldering LED Tape, I would recommend either finding some old scrap to practice on, or buying a spool of cheap LED tape from amazon, cutting it at every junction, and soldering it back together(with and without wires in between) for practice. It's a very useful skill to have.

Agree on soldering on the ground if you can - it's easier. Soldering on a vertical surface isn't too tricky, but upside down is much more challenging.(I learned this one the hard way while installing my custom under-cabinet lighting).
 
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ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
If the goal is dimmable or white color temp. in primary goal, I would first be spcifying a dimmable color changing white product as primary goal achieved to do. Soon no doubt will be high output dimmable white. Overall, RGB than perhaps in higher output (seperate tape) next to it in doing dual strips option? Do you have the width to mount two tapes - a 26mm channel or space? Good you solder (solder stations topic in making it less miserable) - connectors in the field fail and take up space unless you can specify pre-cut tape lengths to factory end product and construct the mounting for them for allowing for that..

Wait a few months? LED tape is constantly getting more and more interesting. This be it 5-Node, 1" on center City Theatrical LED tape say 1" on center, or 4-Node Wide, 1/2" on center stuff otherwise available for white or single color and huge output. If you can wait, I am sure it won't be long before a RGB/Color Temperature Mixing high output tape will become available.

In choosing tape, also look to output and node spacing. A kind of shame you often have to do the math for at least luminous output if available in converting to compare. Few more months and even CRI will become a norm to compare with I think across the industry.

The longer you can wait on the project, I think the better the choices you will get.
 

FMEng

Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Location
Tacoma, WA
As for soldering, melt a small amount of solder onto the tape and onto the bare wires, separately. That's known as pre-tinning. Then, heat both up, tack them together, pull the heat off and hold still until it solidifies.
 

BibbieMok

New Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Location
Virginia, USA
Hi...after using some of the white strip lights for a build project, I was warming to the idea of placing lighting behind our television. These lights have some really great features that lend themselves to that such as dimming and, my personal favorite, the beat mixing feature to fluctuate based on what you've got running. Considering I paid over half what I paid just for the plain strip and it wasn't dimmable, these were an absolute steal. I'm hoping they add Alexa control in a future iteration of their app but with a smartswitch that's pretty much a non-issue anyway. Either way, these are incredible bang for the buck
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
Advice would be double sided tape from the factory needs a clean flat surface to mount to. Aluminum or steel paint without texture to it. Even with that, given you cannot wall paper roller the LED tape to the surface - adhesion will probably fail with time himidity and heat.

Two options I have used in the past for other projects in doing this to a flat backing vertically.
1) Apply double stick VHB tape with a roller to a flat plate behind the tape by way of that wallpaper roller so as to assure adhesion. Than stick the VHB to itself in that will stick to itself properly.
2) As opposed to to in addition to this, do cable clips or even 1" clear packaging tape over it to supplement this. J-Lar scroller tape while expensive, is not as much used these days. Might be stock about of the high temperature clear tape to use some of. This again to a flat surface.
3) To a wall or rough surface, use a thicker VHB tape - Silicone based thicker tape and roll it again with wall paper roller to the wall again for adhesion. Than apply the LED tape double stick to this with hand pressure and pushing against with flat palm. Cable clips at important places would be good especially near the cord.