philips hue light strip installation guide

Having used the Philips Hue Generation 1 strip light for about 1 year now, it was time to check out their latest Hue Gen 2 product called the light strip plus. The first truly accurate color strip-light that can do white light just as well as color.  In a nut shell I was glad that this product was a simple plug and play install.

I found that many people were asking questions on how and where to mount their new LED Hue rope lights. So it was time to do a full write-up on the Philips Hue light strips installation procedure.

My last project was some wireless Stair lighting, which needed around 4m of light strip LEDs using Philips Gen 1 light strip. We had to modify it a little to get a full 4 meter run out of it, as it comes in only 2m lengths. This was a lot of work. This Hue gen 2 light strip plus solves this problem by making each extra length plug and play.

 

Philips Hue Light Strips Plus Specs

Power 100 – 240V – 50/60 Hz
Max brightness 1600 lm @ 4200K color
Power Usage Per 1000 hours 24 kWh/1000h or approx 24 watts/h
Light Strip Power Input 24V DC 1000mAh
Dimensions W: 0.57 in, H: 0.19 in, L: 78.7 in
Max Expandable Length Extendable up to 32 ft or 10m
Hue Extension Light strip Length size 3.3 feet or 1m
Can you cut the light strip plus Yes Cuttable every 12.9 inches
How Many Colors 16 million colors
Warranty 2 Years
Length of Power Cable 8 feet
Where to Buy

 

More information on the Philips Hue light strip plus can be found in the user manual here

So how does  the New Philips Light Strip Replicate Color and White light so well?

The new feature of this Hue light strip plus is the addition of 2 extra LEDs per color changing LED. These are a warm and cool LED that sit side by side of the larger color changing LED. They help by boosting the quality and luminosity of the color LED. They will all dim and brighten, according to the light recipe you have set.

The original wireless gen 1 Hue light-strip, did not have these smaller white LEDs, so it would struggle to show a true tune-able white light.3 leds philips hue light strip plus

Philips Hue Light Strip Gen 1 vs Gen 2

The newer light strip plus from Philips is such an improvement over their generation 1 product. It’s not untill you see them side to side that the brightness intensity really comes into play. The generation 1 light strip was not very efficient in controlling true white light and its dimming capabilities were slightly average.

The Gen 2 light strip plus really improved in all these areas. It’s slightly wider to accommodate the WRGB color LEDs. It’s also made out of a different plastic cover, compared to the silicon encased Hue gen 1 strip light. As seen below.Philips hue light strips installation gen 1 vs gen 2

 

Where to install hue strip lights?

You are only limited by only 2 things, when deciding where to mount your light strips. Your imagination and a source of power. 

Most people like to use Philips hue light strip plus as accent or back lighting. This makes it easy on the eyes but still provides a functional source of light. Because its wireless you can really make a totally clean hidden Hue installation.

The trick is to be able to hide the light strip and the power cable, to provide a magical display of light. Some places where we have installed light strips are:

Monitor or TV back lighting

Having the Hue light strip plus mounted on the back of your large flat screen TV really makes your favourite shows and movies come to life. Couple it will a color changing app like, ScreenBloom.

ScreenBloom is a PC/Mac application that grabs the average color of your screen and sends that value to your Hue lights. Your lamps or light-strips will in turn replicate that color, and intensity. 

Home theatres, Use your imagination

I have seen some really cool light strip projects on the net. Lots are in home theatre rooms, which have large speakers, projector screens and TVs. Mounting light strips behind these and in the ceiling spaces will  add to the cinema effect. 

This post checks out 3 of the best LED lights for behind TVs. They are cheap and easy to install. So there is now no reason not to do any back lighting.

I just wish I had a spare room to set up a movie room. We just have a projector mounted on the ceiling of our longer room, with a drop down projector screen. Simple but effective.

Hue Under Cabinet Lightinghue under cabinet lighting

As well as looking great, having light-strips mounted in the kitchen in places such as under above, and inside cupboards or cabinets, can really make a statement in your home.

The kitchen is usually a feature of your house, so why not fill it with light. As the Hue light strip plus is low profile you can mount it virtually anywhere with the supplied 3m backing tape. Cut it to length, stick it on and plug it in. Easy

We have our Hue plus led lights coupled with a few motion sensors to help automate our lights during the night.

It’s so great to walk into the kitchen in the middle of the night and only have the accent lighting come on at a nice blue or red color which is easy on your eyes.Philips hue kitchen light strips

Bedroom under bed accent lighting.

All our bedrooms have at least one light strip mounted under the bed. This is also coupled with another hue motion sensor. This programmable detector is set up to only come on at night once it detects motion and then turn off at night after about 10 minutes of no motion. We do this to save power so the strip lights don’t need to come on during the day. It’s a true wireless LED light strip installation.

This setup enables us to turn off the room lights and get into bed, still with some nice coloured accent lighting. When we get up during the night the light strip will automatically turn on again.

Philips Hue Stair lighting using Gen 1.philips hue stair lighting home automation

One of our more popular projects was the DIY stair light-strip Install. One of the reasons I wanted to share this project, was due to the fact we used a generation 1 hue light strip controller and spliced it with a 5050 generic 60  LED per meter light strip. (Quite a mouthful) You can read all out how we did this in the DIY strip-light project here

motion detector Philips hue review
Philips Hue Motion Sensor

It’s a project that made our stairs safer, as you didn’t need to go up and down in the dark. Coupled with a motion sensor you have a full automatic lighting system for your stairs. This is a simple easy cheap retrofit, that is now even simpler by using the Hue gen 2 light strip.

As you can see I love my Hue motion sensors with 5 of them now scattered around the house they truly have made our life easier and safer. Check them out in the link below.

Under lounge light strips.

I haven’t done this project yet but it does look really cool. You just have to have some solid metal or wood beams to mount the strip light onto. The 3m backing tape will stick to material and leather, but not very well.

Just be aware that if you want to remove your lounge you will have to first disconnect the power cable.

 

Light strip for aquariums and fish tanks.

The Philips hue light strip plus is perfect for fish tanks. With the ability to adjust your light color and brightness you will always have the perfect light for whichever fish, yabbies or turtles you keep.

These light strips are protected by a plastic silicon outer sheath, that will protect the Light Emitting Diodes from any moisture. But be sure to keep the electronics like the transformer and the power outlet away from a water source. 

You can even set up an auto scene that will turn off or dim the lights after dark. The Hue echo system is truly a magical way to paint with light. 

 

Philips Hue light strips installation guide

Everything you need to install your light strips plus comes in the box. You get the power adaptor, the light strip plus and the 3m backing tape to mount your light strip. 3m are the world leaders in adhesive backing. If mounted correctly the 3m sticky tape backing actually get stronger over the next few days.

philips hue light strip box The most important thing to remember is to thoroughly clean the area before mounting your light strip plus. This will enable the 3M backing tape to bond easily to the wood, tile or glass surface.

Measure twice and cut once. Peel of the backing tape and then start from one end slowly peeling off the protective strip and pressing down on the light strip onto your surface. Try not to press down on a LED diode hard.

I have found that 3M tape will work better if actually heated up a little for a few minutes. So go a head and turn on the Hue Light strip plus for a few minutes. This will heat up the light strip slightly. Now turn off your lights and go over the entire length and press don to re attach it again.

This process makes the ultra fine sticky glue backing, contour to fill any voids in the surface you are gluing onto. Once this process is complete, wait a few hours and your Hue rope lights will be extremely difficult to remove.

If you do need to move the light strip plus, do it within the first 10 minutes as this will be easier than later when the 3m backing starts to bond.

Cutting and Joining Philips Hue Light Strip Plus

The benefit of expanding and adding another length of light strip, is that Philips have made it simple. All that is required is to purchase an extra expansion strip length and plug it in. No settings or power changes are required, as it’s all taken care of in the smart integrated circuit.

Philips make it easy to cut your strip lighting by placing a cut line image where you are able to cut. This is not an exact science, so you can be slightly to either side of the line if required.Philips Hue light strip plus installation cut light strip

When you come to the end of your run and you have a little bit of over hang, don’t worry you can cut your light strip plus where it shows a picture on the light strip. These cut marks are shown about every 13 inches. A sharp pair of scissors will cut through it easy.

The important thing to remember is that if you sever your light strip, you are unable to add any more extensions. (Unless you solder them back on)

Mounting Light Strips using Cable clamps

There are 2 different sizes of Hue light strips that you can purchase online. The Generation 1 Hue light strip has a width of 0.43 inches, and the Hue Gen 2 has a width of 0.57 inches. This means if you chose to use cable clamp saddles to hold up your strip lights, you have to get the correct width of clamp.

The main reason of using light strip saddles rather than the 3M backing tape is if you are placing your new strips in either a public place.  This is because people will pick at the strip light to remove it, or if it’s in the weather where moisture could de-bond the 3M backing tape. 

There are two types of light strip mounting brackets. Single screw and the double screw clamp. It’s all a personal preference but the double screw light strip brackets are stronger. Make sure to attache every 30cm or so to prevent sagging.SurLight 20 Lots Strip Light Mounting Bracket Clips

Strip Light Mounting Bracket, One Side Fixing

  • Waterproof Version, Hollow height (4mm)
  • Suitable for SMD3528, 3014, 5050, 5630 Waterproof Strip Lights installation.
  • There are 100pcs in a box. Easy to fix by the included self tapping screws.
  • Made of high flame retardant material NyLon66 UL 94V-0. Temperature resistance achieves up to 100 degrees. Not that your strip lights should ever reach that temperature.
  • Safe and secure to hold strip lights,no damage on brightness Comes in clear and white

Check out the full range of light strip mounting bracket clips here.

Aluminium Channel System with Cover, End Caps, and Mounting Clips, for LED Strip Installations

Aluminium channel covers are also a very tidy way to protect your Philips Hue rope lights from mechanical damage. They come in a range of sizes and shapes so its important to get the right size for your LED strip type.  Popular sizes are 3528, 5050 & 5630 LED strips. The mini diffuser shown below accepts LED strip lights up to 12.5mm wide

  • Comes in a pack of five (5) 1m segments
  • Extruded U-shape aluminium channel with translucent cover
  • End caps and mounting clips included
  • Excellent system for installing LED strips, ribbons and rope lights.
  • Protects delicate weather proof, and non weather proof LED strips/ribbons from dust and physical contact.hue light strip aluminium channel

After Market Light Strip Controllers.

In the old days you would have to work out the power draw, and maybe even have to add in an extra power amplifier to expand your strip-light. Not with the newer plus model, you are good to expand up to 10 meters or 33 feet of smart bright light.

As Philips have included their own LED controller you are limited by the output of this controller and transformer. As Philips let’s you expand this rope light up to 10m the only way to not exceed the transformer and controller ratings is by reducing the load.

They accomplish this by capping the power output, so as you add extra extensions the overall light intensity will drop. For most applications this will be fine. But if you want the brightest light available you may have to add in another complete Hue light-strip and power outlet.

The Light Strip Plus output is a consistent 1600lm at 4200K, if it’s 2 meters or 10 meters. So in a 2 meter space this is one very bright output light strip. But at 10 meters you will still have the same 1600lm but over a larger distance.

What to do with left over light strip off cuts.

Once you cut your light strips, don’t throw out your strip off cuts, but re-use them for other projects. You will have to solder on plugs or cable leads to your strips so you can power them up.

Make sure to use a soldering iron with a very fine tip. If you only have larger solder tips, you can file them down. 

Under cupboard lighting will work great with light strip off cuts. By using some small cable and a normally open door switch you could have lights inside your kitchen cupboards. The LED Magnetic Switch is a little control device, which allows you to switch on or off your LED light strip with just opening, or closing of the cupboard door.Magnetic Switch - Inspired LED - Use for Stage Cabinet lights - Under cabinet lighting - kitchen

The LED magnetic door switch works by mounting a piece of magnet which will activate a proximity sensor. This then sends power to your light strip. These can be retro fitted to any light strip on the market be it Hue, LIFX or a Chinese copy.

LED Light Strip 4 channel amplifier

The Hue gen 2 light strip uses a 6 pin output rather than the standard 4 pin output for their generation 1 strip light. This makes finding a LED compatible driver a little difficult. 

Fortunately there are a few 4 channel WRGB amplifiers that can do the job. Such as the RGBW LED Signal Amplifier from Torchstar. It’s a Data Repeater for RGBW LED Strip Lights to help with longer runs to minimise voltage drop. Rated at 12V-24V 288W

  • 4 channel output: for RGBW strip, maximum 6 Amps per channel and 24 Amps in total
  • PWM compatible: accept PWM signal, amplify RGBW signals using PWM technology.

 

Conclusion

At the end of the day I absolutely love the old and new Hue light strips from Philips. They both integrate well with our current Hue bridge. If you want to save some money you can still purchase the gen 1 hue strip light. But if you have a run of over 2m then your Philips Hue Light Strips Installation will go smother, if you get the newer gen 2 plus model. Both can be found in the links below. All the best for your painting with light projects, and welcome to the Hue family.

 

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