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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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