It comes as no surprise that LED lights have become the go to option when it comes to your lighting needs. As these lights become more accessible, people have started considering replacing traditional lights with LED lights.
It is no different when it comes to the general lighting of the household.
As LED lights are very economical as well as versatile, we’re starting to see the use of LED lights as room lights and other normal use lights.
However, oftentimes just one strip is not enough to light up the desired area. With rooms having a limited number of outlets, its very normal for you to ask how to connect multiple LED lights to one switch?
Well lucky for you, this guide will help you learn everything regarding connecting multiple lights to one outlet.
Can You Run Multiple Lights From One Switch?
Yes, you absolutely can. As long as you wire the LED strips properly, you should be able to connect multiple strips to one outlet.
The only thing you need to be really concerned about is not overloading your power outlet. Simply put, a single outlet can only accommodate a certain wattage. As long as the total wattage of all your outlets is less than that, you should be fine.
The good thing is that LED lights consume very little electricity, so overloading outlets is not a great possibility.
The Basics of Light Switch Wiring
You shouldn’t start thinking about wiring multiple LED strips to each other unless you already know about wiring in general. Traditional outlets usually have three wires, one positive, one negative, and the other one for grounding.
The positive and negative ends are usually black and white in color. The black one is the only one that gets connected to light switches. The return or white wire doesn’t pass through the switch itself.
Things You’ll Need
- Power Supply
- Wire cutters or wire strippers
- Electrical tape
- Soldering iron
- Heat shrink cover
- Heat gun
Step by Step Process: How to Connect Multiple Led Lights to One Switch
1. Get Your LED Lights Kit
Obviously the first step in learning how to connect multiple LED lights to one switch is determining the right LED light set for you.
The things you need to consider before buying the right LED light strip include the kind of light, the wattage requirements, the length of the LED strip, whether the strip is compatible for connection with other strips, etc.
For multiple strips, its always convenient to just use the same brand strips for connecting. Strips of different brands have different features which might make them noncompatible with each other.
2. Look For A Switched Power Source
Once you’ve chosen the desired LED kit, its time to decide which power source to use. Ideally, you want to use an outlet that’s hidden behind some furniture or is obscured. This helps hide all the wiring.
Using a power outlet that can be turned on or off using a switch is very convenient for this purpose, as you can just use the switch to turn the lights on or off instead of having to plug and unplug the adaptor again.
3. Identify The Power Requirements of LED Lights
As said earlier, you have to make sure that the combined power requirements of the LED lights are not higher than the handling capability of the switch.
The packages of the LED light strips should contain information about their power consumption. For the outlets, a typical US household outlet is wired for 20 amps at 120 volts capable of handling 2400 Watts.
4. Identify Common Ground
For the majority of the outlets, the plug already contains a pin that connects to ground. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about grounding.
If the plug you’re using is two pronged, consider using an adapter that’s three pronged.
5. Set Up Your LED Lights
Before attaching the LED strips to your desired surfaces, first place the strips close to the location. This way, you’ll have a good idea as to how much wiring you’re going to need.
It’s a good idea to do this before permanently attaching the LED lights to the surface, as it gives you room to make mistakes.
6. Connect All Of Those Wires
Using the strippers, carefully remove the outer covering of the wires. Once the copper wires are exposed, carefully twist the corresponding ends together. Don’t forget to connect the grounding ends as well.
If you’re using strips of the same brand, the process of how to connect multiple LED lights to one switch may become easier. This is because you may be able to connect the strips using connectors.
7. Soldier and Heat Shrink All Connections
If you can’t use connectors, go ahead and use a soldering iron to permanently solder the exposed wire connections. Once the solder cools down, use a heat shrink tube to cover the connection. Using a heat gun, shrink the tube to permanently secure the connection.
Avoid using electrical tapes, as they’re not the safest choice.
8. Attach Strips to the Surface
Now that the strips are connected, go ahead and attach the strips to the desired surface using the adhesives that came with the strips.
9. Connect It To The Power Outlet
Check all the connections once again just to be safe. Once you think that everything is safe and ready, go ahead and plug the adaptor in.
Step 10: Make A Test Run!
10. Make A Test Run!
You’re almost there. Turn the switch on and check to see if the lights are working properly. After they’ve been on for a while, check again to see if all the wirings are functioning properly.
1. Always plan out the orientation of the LED strips before you start cutting the wires or even attaching the strips to the surfaces. This is the safest way to do this without making mistakes.
2. Electricity is highly conductive and dangerous. We cannot stress this enough. Before working with wiring, make sure all power running to the wires is switched off.
Once you have finished the wiring, insulate it with solder and shrink tube before running power through them.
3. Be very careful when wiring exposed ends together. Make sure you connect positive to positive ends and negative to negatives. Doing it the other way will cause a short circuit.
4. Make sure the soldering points do not touch each other to avoid short circuits.
5. In order to be as safe as possible, wear electrical insulating gloves.
6. Even though all standard household outlets accommodate the same wattage, it’s always convenient to test your outlet before connecting the LED lights using a multimeter.
7. Avoid running the wires or soldiers across metal surfaces to avoid risks of short circuit.
8. Even if your LED lights are working properly, check on the lights often to see whether there are any damages to the wires or circuitry over time.
Circuit Type for Connecting LED Lights
Two types of circuits are most commonly seen in use. They are:
In a series circuit, all the electrical components are places serially one after another. This means that current flows through the first component and then the second and so on. For LED lights, making the wires run from one strip to the next would mean that they’re in a series circuit.
Series circuits are easier than parallel circuits to make, however they also have a fatal flow. As all the components are connected one after another, one component breaking down would cause the whole circuit to collapse.
This means that if your LED lights were connected in series, if one strip stopped working the entire set of strips would stop working as well.
Even though parallel circuits are more difficult to construct, they are safer and more functional than series circuits.
In parallel connections, the current flowing from the power source gets divided into branches which run to different components. Even though the current gets divided in this process, the components are not dependent on each other.
This means that even if one of your LED strips stops working, the rest of the strips will still run.
Which Circuit Is Ideal For Connecting Multiple Led Lights?
For understanding how to connect multiple LED lights to one switch, you need to realize that it is always best for components in a circuit to not completely rely on each other.
As mentioned earlier, if even a single component breaks in a series circuit, the whole circuit stops working. Therefore, a parallel circuit is the best option when it comes to wiring LED light strips.
How Do I Connect LED Lights in a Parallel Circuit?
In principle its very simple. You need a primary circuit that runs directly to the very last LED strip in your planned circuit.
Once that is set up and back to your power supply, use your wiring skills to connect additional strips to that circuit. Make sure that the beginning and end of your additional strips are connected directly to the original circuit.
Visualize it this way, every one of your LED strips will have positive and negative ends that connect to the main circuit and not the ends of other LED strips.
What Is The Proper Way To Wire A Parallel Circuit For Connecting Led Lights?
If the end of one of your LED strips directly connects to another LED strip that has no direct connection to the power supply, you have a series circuit.
In a parallel circuit, every strip needs to have direct wire access to the main power source. These wire accesses don’t need to be separate for it to be parallel. As long as current can flow directly to every strip without running across another strip, it’s a parallel circuit.
How Many LED Lights Can Be Connected To One Switch?
As long as your power outlet supports the total load of your LED light strips, theoretically you can connect all of them. However, there are some limitations to this theory.
First, you have the sheer volume of wiring. If you’re connecting the circuits in parallel, you’ll need a lot of wiring. This causes issues with tangling, short circuits, etc.
Secondly, it is not safe to run a lot of strips from just one outlet. For this, we recommend using a transformer.
Frequently Asked Question
How Do You Wire 4 Led Lights Together?
For a series connection, just connect the strips together one after the other. For parallel, create a master circuit from the power supply back to it. Then add additional run offs for each of the light strips.
How Do You Wire Multiple 12v Led Lights?
When thinking about how to connect multiple LED lights to one switch, if you have 12v LED lights the process is a little different.
The main wiring of the circuits will follow the same methods as any other LED strips, however you’ll need to add a power supply or a transformer that will convert your 120V AC current into 12V DC current.
So for the circuit, make the wires from the outlet run through the power supply before connecting them to the strips.
Why Does My Led Light Bar Have 3 Wires?
The 3 wires in your LED bar means that the light is capable of handling additional functions such as blinking or flashing. The 3rd wire needs to be connected to the relays in order for the functions to work.
3 wired 12V LED lights are commonly seen in cars and other vehicles.
Can You Wire LED Light Bar Directly To Battery?
If you’re connecting your 12V LED light bar to your car, you might just be able to connect it directly to the battery. The 12V wiring that the light bar comes with allows you to do it safely.
However for maximum safety and avoiding burnouts, you should consider running the wires through the fuse or relax box.
That’s all for our guide on how to connect multiple LED lights to one switch. We’ve told you how to work on the wiring, what kind of circuits are best for this purpose as well as answered any questions related to this matter.
Compared to other DIY projects, this one is a little more complicated and requires a solid understanding of wiring and circuitry.
So if you don’t feel confident doing it yourself, consider asking for the help of an expert.
As always, maintain the maximum safety measures. Make sure all the wires are disconnected from power before cutting them. Once you have finished soldering and insulating, check the wires once more before connecting them to power.
I am a fellow LED light enthusiast who has completed his Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering and now has been doing my Master’s on the same subject. Born in 1994, I am a big fan of shiny things since I was just four years old!