Posted on

White Light Temperature Guide (2700K vs 3000K vs 4000K)

When starting a new lighting installation project, a critical decision is determining the best color temperature for the installation. LED color temperatures can look vastly different from one another and range from a warm candlelight glow to the cool bright fluorescent color. LED lighting is the perfect way to add accent or task lighting anywhere inside of a home. LED lights include strip lights, LED puck lights, and LED tape light kits are all great options that offer a wide range of color temperatures.

Measuring LED Color Temperatures

The first thing to understand about LED color temperatures is to understand how these colors are measured. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) and can range from 1700K to 7000K, with 1700K being a dull match flame glow and 7000K being bright “blue-ish” in color.

LED fixtures (LED strip lights, puck lights, linear lighting, etc.) that have a lower Kelvin rating will appear warmer. While those with a higher color temperature will appear cooler and sometimes blue.

Here is a quick guide to understanding temperatures on a scale:

1700K – dull warm glow similar to a match flame

1900K – warm candlelight

2700K – warm incandescent bulb

3000K – soft white, bright sunrise or sunset

4000K – bright white typical of fluorescent lighting

6500K – Cool, bright similar to a computer monitor

7000K – Ultra-cool bright halogen at highest setting

In most residential and commercial lighting applications, a fixture’s color temperatures will range from 2700K to 4000K. 3000K light is the most common choice and often referred to as soft white. 2700K and 4000K light color are commonly selected too. This range of color temperatures provides the greatest flexibility for usable light for both residential and commercial applications.

2700K, 3000K, and 4000K color temperature examples

The “higher” cooler color temperatures are often found in industrial or specific commercial applications where ultra-bright cool light is required. While the soft and warmer temperatures are often found in under cabinet lighting applications or where dimmable LEDs may be preferred.

Posted on

RGB vs. RGB+W LED Strip Light. What’s the Difference?

RGB LED strip lights have been on the market for a while now and have been a great solution for previously unheard of accent lighting features. RGB strip lights have opened the door to creative and colorful LED installations. These LEDs strips give customers a wide range of customizable color for completely unique lighting installations. Due to the popularity of RGB LED strip lights, a new tape light technology is not available! RGB+W LED strip lights takes the existing RGB and pairs white LED diodes to the mix. This article addresses the differences between RGB and RGB+W LED tape light and why/when you may want one over the other.

What’s the difference between RGB and RGB+W LED Strip Lights?

RGB LED Strip Lights

5050 LED chip

Armacost Lighting’s RibbonFlex Pro RGB tape light uses a 3-in-1 5050 LED chip that is made up of red, green, and blue LED diodes. These LED strips can produce a wide range of colors by mixing the three, including an almost white look when LED colors are at full brightness.

RGB+W LED Strip Lights

5050 + 2835 chip pair

The new RibbonFlex Pro RGB+W features red, green, and blue LEDs, but adds a dual LED chip design that features a white 2835 LED that is paired with each of the RGB diodes. With the additional white LED chip, the RGB+W LED strip light can produce a wide range of vibrant colors, along with soft-bright (3000K) white, or a combination of white and RGB.

While RGB can produce color that is close to white, the dedicated white LED chip provides a pure white tone that is better for task and accent lighting, when color is not needed. The extra white chip also allows the LED strip to produce a unique mix of RGB and color lighting.

Kitchen with blue under cabinet lighting

Which is Better?

RGB+W tape light is undoubtedly a much more flexible option than standard RGB LED strips. The 24 Volt RGB+W tape light is slightly more expensive than RGB but is better for a broader set of installations and improved functionality. 12 Volt RGB tape light is generally more cost effective. This is a good lighting option for those looking for vibrant colors, where pure white would not be necessary or for customers with budget constraints.

How to Control RGB & RGB+W Strip Light

RGB and RGB+W LED strip lights use slightly different controls. RGB has four outputs (red, green, blue, power), while the RGB+W (red, green, blue, white, power) tape has five outputs. Armacost Lighting’s ProLine and SlimLine wireless switch controls are offered in both RGB and RGB+W options. They are available in traditional wireless controls and in Wi-Fi / smart controls.

The RGB+W LED controls will work with RGB tape light by simply not wiring the W connection. However, RGB controls will not work with RGB+W strip lights.

ProLine Controllers output: RGB vs. RGB+W
Output of RGB and RGB+W ProLine Controllers

Both RGB and RGB+W LED tape light are low-voltage and require an LED driver or power supply (as well as a controller) to operate. They are very popular for undercabinet lighting.

Posted on

Why LED Lights are Perfect for RVs & Boats

Are you interested in installing custom accent lighting in your RV? Or are you exploring a new build and looking for an energy efficient, easy-to-install solution? This article provides a comprehensive breakdown of why LEDs are the best option for both RV lighting and boat lights.

Looking to shop?

Advantages of LED Lighting

While LED lights have been in existence for well over 50 years, the technology has only recently been converted to be applicable to low-voltage systems that are found in boats & RVs. These days it is possible to find the perfect LED lighting option to fit your specific lighting need. LED lights have several advantages over halogen and incandescent lighting, that make LEDs the perfect option for boat lighting and RV lighting. These advantages include:

Energy Efficient: LED lights are on average 75% more efficient, for both power consumption and light-output, than comparable incandescent options. For example, an Armacost Lighting PureVue Soft-Bright LED Puck Light at 100% brightness consumes 4 watts while producing 375 lumens. This is compared to 35 to 40 watts for an incandescent bulb.

Low/Minimal Heat: In addition to being energy-efficient, LED lights put off very low heat (80F to 100F). Conversely, halogen and incandescent lights can burn at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Because LEDs operate at much lower temperatures, they will not increase the temperature inside of the RV or boat, reducing the load on air conditioning systems.

Do Not Damage Interior: LED lights do not produce UV light. Therefore, LED lighting will not fade or damage drapes, furniture, or upholstery overtime. Both halogen and incandescent bulbs produce significant amounts of UV rays, that overtime wear down and damage interiors.

Long Lasting & Durable: Many of Armacost Lighting’s Pro series lighting has an average operating life of 60,0000+ hours. That equates to nearly seven years of continuous use. <link to RFPro> In addition to being long lasting, LED lights are tough. Because they are solid state and made mostly of plastic and copper, Armacost Lighting products can withstand the bumps and vibrations of the road or sea.

Safe: LED accent lighting, like LED strip lights, puck lights and linear lighting, use low-voltage power in the form of 12V or 24V depending on the application.

Variety: Armacost Lighting LEDs come in a huge variety that include LED strip lights , LED puck lights , LED tape light kits, and Weatherproof LED Tape Light

RV & Boat Installation

Easy-to-Install

LED lights technology in the last few years has drastically improved. With these improvements the applications for LED lighting have expanded to include solutions for both RV lighting and boat lighting.  Installation of LED lighting is surprisingly simple. Since both RVs and boats typically use low voltage systems for power, there is no need for LED drivers or power supplies. Instead, power can be derived directly from the vehicle’s electrical system in the form of either 12 Volt or 24 Volt DC power.

wiring LED lighting to a low-voltage battery

The first step in the installation process is to determine the type, quantity, and location of lighting desired. LED strip lights are generally the preferred choice for running a length of lighting and are often used as under cabinet lighting, for gunwales, awnings, and other accents. Puck lights are generally used to light a more select or specific area.

If outdoor led strip lights are needed, be sure to select waterproof led strip lights that are rated IP64 or greater<link>. Interior led boat lights and RV lighting do not need the high IP rating so greater focus can be placed on style, usage, and white color temperature and/or color.

Control methodology is the next decision to be made in the installation process. One possibility is to tap into existing RV or boat wiring that is controlled by a switch. Alternatively, a new control system will need to be installed such as a manual dial or remote control. If the intent is to tap into the vehicle’s electrical system, the lighting selected must match it, for instance both the vehicle and lighting must be 12 Volt DC.

Once the lighting and controls selections are made, the layout and installation can begin. Installation in camper and marine applications is generally simpler than in residential applications because there is no need to utilize a driver to transform 120 Volt AC to low voltage DC (12V or 24V). Power from the vehicle must be wired into the new control and the lighting must be wired back to the same control device. Or the lighting can be wired into the controlled circuit that currently exists.

Many users will wire waterproof led strip lights directly back to the battery of their boat or RV. In these camper and marine led lights 12v waterproof cases, we suggest the addition of a fuse into the circuit near the positive battery terminal.

Photography courtesy of the team at Holland Motorworks. Check out more custom builds from the Holland Motors team on social media and their website

Posted on

Constant Voltage vs. Constant Current

What type of LED driver do I need?

With all the different variations of LED power supplies, finding the right LED driver for your LED lighting installation can be more difficult than you may think. There are many factors to consider when looking for the best solution that meets your specific installation needs. If you need help finding the best power supply for your installation, please refer to our LED power supply buying guide here. Understanding the power requirements is an important start but understanding the difference between Constant Current and Constant Voltage can help you avoid costly mistakes.

Constant Voltage

Constant voltage LED drivers are designed for a single DC (direct current) output voltage. The most common examples of these types of power supplies are 12VDC or 24DC. LED lights will often specify the voltage they are rated for. Constant voltage LED power supplies are powered by standard line voltage (120VAC), which is the typical output found in wall outlets in a home. These types of LED power supplies convert the alternating current voltage (VAC) to a significantly lower direct current voltage (VDC). However, the voltage will always remain consistent (either 12V or 24V) regardless of the current load. Constant voltage drivers are best for installations where longevity and efficiency are needed.

Constant Current

Constant current LED power supplies are designed with a fixed output current and a variable range output voltage. These drivers work by fluctuating the voltage along an electronic circuit; this allows the current to remain constant throughout the LED lighting installation. With a higher current rating, LED lights will seem brighter, however if unregulated, the LEDs will draw more current than it is rated for. This will result in a drastically reduced LED life-span and premature burn out due to excessive heat. While constant current is great for high power LEDs, because of the increased brightness, these LED power supplies tend to decrease the life of the LED system.

Example Constant Current Label

Which is best: Constant Voltage or Constant Current?

Why Constant Voltage?

Constant voltage on the other hand tends to be slightly more expensive are far more energy efficient and use higher rated electrical components. The LED drivers using constant voltage are far better at heat dissipation and require an extra circuit to deliver the appropriate wattage to the LED lighting system. These factors result in a more efficient and longer-lasting LEDs. These power supplies specifically designed to be used with LED tape light, strip lights, puck lights and LED linear bars. Ultimately, constant voltage LED drivers pair perfectly with undercabinet LED installations as they are the most energy efficient and protect the lifespan of the LEDs.

Why Constant Current?

Constant current LED power supplies work best with high powered or very large LED lighting installations, not typically found in homes. These types of LED drivers are great for high powered LEDs or if LED lifespan is not a concern. As previously stated, these power supplies allow for brighter LEDs, but because the current is unregulated. Without a current limiting device, the LEDs draw more current, which increases temperatures, hotter LEDs means less efficiency and a shorter lifespan.

If you still have questions about which type of power supply is best for you check out our How to Choose a Power Supply post or reach out to us at support@armacostlighting.com

Posted on

How to Pick the Right LED Tape Light Kit

Hassle Free Accent Lighting

Why LED Strip Light Kits?

Accent lighting is a great way to bring custom style and brightness to any room in your home. Historically, these types of projects could be challenging, costly and time consuming for homeowners often requiring the help of professional contractors. With the advent of LED lighting and more specifically LED strip light kits, the issues with “self-installing” accent lighting become a thing of the past. These lighting kits are an easy-to-use, low cost and quick solution to professional quality accent lighting. Installation can be done within 30 minutes and, generally, does not require an electrician. Simply peel the backer from the 3M adhesive, place the tape light where desired, plug in (or hardwire see below), and enjoy hassle free accent lighting. Check out the options below for more information on our LED tape light kits.

Low-Voltage and Energy Efficient, means that the LED lighting kits are safe and easy to work with. Many of the RibbonFlex Home LED tape light kits come with the option to directly plug in or hardwire the LED lighting.

Remove end caps to direct wire (wire not included)
Remove end caps to direct wire

RibbonFlex Home LED Tape Light Kits

Selectable White LED Tape Light Kit

The RibbonFlex Home Tunable White LED Tape Light Kit is a fully assembled, highly versatile accent lighting LED strip light kit. This is the perfect solution for anyone looking for ability to select the white-color temperature that is best for them. Using the RF (Radio Frequency) powered remote, users can select the white color between Warm (2700K) and Bright (5000K). The RF remote control works through doors and walls without requiring line of sight and can be used to control up to three installations for larger, custom setups. The tunable white kit features 16ft of fully dimmable LED tape light that is cuttable, re-connectable and can be hardwired or plugged in. The kit includes one reel of LED tape lights, pre-installed LED power supply, two connectors for bridging gaps, two mounting clips and an RF remote control.

AC Dimmable LED Tape Light Kit

Dim-to-Warm LED Tape Light Kit

RibbonFlex Home Dim-to-Warm Tape Light Kit

The RibbonFlex Home Dim-to-Warm LED Tape Light Kit is a fully assembled LED strip light kit that offers unparalleled dimming control. At full brightness, this kit offers a Soft-Bright (3000K) white light; when dimmed, the color temperature gradually transitions to a glowing warm white (1800K). This kit is great for those looking for a warm, dynamic lighting option. Similar to the other kits, the 16ft of LED tape light can be cut, re-connected and comes with the option to plug in or directly hardwire. The kit includes one reel of LED tape lights, pre-installed LED power supply, two connectors for bridging gaps, two mounting clips and an RF remote control.

“when dimmed, the color temperature gradually transitions to a glowing warm white”

Soft-Bright White LED Tape Light Kit

RibbonFlex Home White Tape Light Kit

The RibbonFlex Home Soft Warm White (3000K) LED Tape Light Kit is the perfect solution for anyone looking for a simple, inexpensive, professional option. The strip light kit is fully assembled and ready to install right out of the box. Featuring 16 feet of easy to install LED tape light that is dimmable from 100% to 0. The LED strips can be cut and reconnected for custom installations and come with connectors for jumping corners. The kits RF (Radio Frequency) remote can control up to three kits and, unlike cheaper options, this remote works through walls and around corners. The kit includes one reel of LED tape lights, pre-installed LED power supply, two connectors for bridging gaps, two mounting clips and an RF remote control.

RibbonFlex Home Multi-Color + White Tape Light Kit

The RibbonFlex Home Soft Warm White (3000K) LED Tape Light Kit is the perfect solution for anyone looking for a simple, inexpensive, professional option. The strip light kit is fully assembled and ready to install right out of the box. Featuring 16 feet of easy to install LED tape light that is dimmable from 100% to 0. The LED strips can be cut and reconnected for custom installations and come with connectors for jumping corners. The kits RF (Radio Frequency) remote can control up to three kits and, unlike cheaper options, this remote works through walls and around corners. The kit includes one reel of LED tape lights, pre-installed LED power supply, two connectors for bridging gaps, two mounting clips and an RF remote control.

RibbonFlex Home Warm-White LED Tape Light Kit

RibbonFlex Pro White Tape Light Kit

The RibbonFlex Pro Warm-White LED Tape Light Kit is the ideal solution for anyone looking for professional grade under cabinet lighting that is easy-to-install and hassle free. The pro strip light kit comes fully assembled and can be extended with RibbonFlex Pro Soft Bright Tape Light (142210<Link>). The RF remote can control up to three strip light kits and allows for 100% to 0 dimmability. What makes this kit stand out from the rest is the fact that it is the only kit in the line up that can be extended with other RibbonFlex Pro tape light strips. Additionally, this kit uses professional grade, premium quality components and lasts for 65,000 hours or over 7 years of continuous use. The 8 feet of LED strip light can be cut and re-connected for custom installations or bridging gaps. The kit includes one reel of LED tape lights, pre-installed LED power supply, two connectors for bridging gaps, two mounting clips and an RF remote control.

In the end, each LED strip light kit offers a hassle free way to add accent lighting anywhere in your home. If for some reason the kits above do not fit your specific needs, Armacost Lighting also offers component based kits, that are designed for larger or more custom installations. You can check out all Armacost Lighting has to offer HERE. For questions, comments or concerns feel free to reach us at support@armacostlighting.com.

Don’t forget to check out our other blog posts for more LED lighting knowledge. Follow Armacost Lighting on social media to stay up on new product offerings and specials.


Featured Products