Click to expand each of the sections and questions below.
WHAT DO I DO WHEN A SECTION OF ROPE LIGHT BURNS OUT?
Rope lights are wired into sections, and when a single bulb eventually burns out, the entire section that it is in will go dark. The burnt out section then needs to be cut out (look for the cut marks) and replaced with a section of "good" rope light using inline splices. This is why it is always a good idea to get a little more rope light than you actually need for your project, so you can have some spare sections on hand for when a burnout occurs.
HOW DO I CALCULATE HOW MUCH ROPE LIGHT TO CUT?
ARE THE ROPE LIGHTS UL LISTED?
Determining the correct length of rope light available for use can be tricky due to the cutting interval sizes that you need to factor in. Use our handy Rope Light Calculator
to figure out the size you need.
CAN THE ROPE LIGHTS BE USED UNDERWATER?
Some of our rope lights are UL listed in their original condition. Please refer to our article on UL Ratings
for more information.
While our rope lights are suitable for outdoor use and can withstand rain (use appropriate sealant at all connections), they are not waterproof. It is NOT recommended to use them underwater, or in a situation where they would be near a lot of splashing water.
WHAT CAN I USE TO CONTROL THE ROPE LIGHTS?
We offer a variety of controllers for the different types of rope lights we sell. Additionally, most standard commercially-available dimmers will work with our rope lights.
CAN I USE A DMX CONTROLLER WITH THE ROPE LIGHTS?
Most rope lights will interface with a DMX controller through the use of a third-party DMX Controller Power Dimmer. Currently, we do not provide DMX support for rope lights.
ARE LED ROPE LIGHTS DIMMABLE?
WHAT DIMMERS ARE RECOMMENDED FOR MY LED ROPE LIGHTS?
Yes, our LED rope lights are dimmable using our 2 Channel Dimmer Controller
, as well as most commercially available standard dimmers
. Dimmers depend on being able to regulate the power being fed to the lights they control. However, due the extremely low amount of power that LEDs use, you will often find that some dimmers will have a difficult time maintaining full control over the rope light. The most common effect of this is a limited dimming range, meaning the lights may not be able to be dimmed down to extremely low light levels, where even less power is available to control. Of course, different qualities of dimmers will yield different results.
WHAT IS POLARITY (OR "WHY DON'T MY LED ROPE LIGHTS WORK?")
While each installation and application may differ, Lutron Electronics has several models of dimmer switches for LED products. Visit Lutron directly for additional education on dimming LED products through their family of C.L Dimmers
You may find that when you receive your LED rope lights and plug them in for the first time to test them, nothing happens! Don't worry, they're not broken. LEDs are polarized and are sensitive to the flow of electrical current. So when the LEDs don't light up, it means the power is flowing in the wrong direction. Simply remove the power cord from the rope light and connect it to the opposite end.
WHY ARE MY LED ROPE LIGHTS "CLEAR" INSTEAD OF THE COLOR I ORDERED?
Don't be alarmed. LED rope lights often use a clear outer tubing with colored LEDs within to produce the desired color. Most incandescent rope lights use a colored outer tubing to act as a color filter to produce the color. As such, if you have a red incandescent rope light, it will look "red", even when off. However this does not always apply to LED rope lights. When they're off, they will look similar to clear rope light. When you plug them in, the colored LEDs will turn on and you will see the true color of the rope light. (Some of our LED rope lights do use a colored tubing in addition to the colored LED within to enhance the color and provide a more uniform, diffused glow.)
CAN I GET LED ROPE LIGHT CUSTOM CUT TO SPECIFIC LENGTHS?
CAN I GET A SAMPLE OF LED ROPE LIGHT?
If you are interested in testing out our LED rope lights before committing to a full spool or a long length, we recommend ordering a single section of custom cut LED rope light.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "WHITE" AND "CLEAR" INCANDESCENT ROPE LIGHTS?
A colored standard incandescent rope light is created by coloring the outer plastic tubing, so that it essentially acts like a color filter. A "clear" incandescent rope light has a transparent outer tubing, so what you get is the direct warm white light of the incandescent bulb. "White" incandescent rope light is actually considered a colored rope light and has a white-colored outer tubing. This look softens and diffuses the light and is commonly referred to as a "frosted" look. Clear rope light is by far the more popular choice.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MY LIGHTING INVESTMENT?
WHAT DO I NEED TO OPERATE LOW VOLTAGE LED ROPE LIGHTS?
Here are some basic guidelines to follow to improve the reliability of your linear lighting product and protect your investment:
- Power Quality: In order to help product your investment, we highly recommend the use of power conditioning and surge suppression equipment on any line voltage power that will be supplying you lights. This will help provide high quality power to the lights and reduce the risk of voltage drops or spikes in the power, which could damage the LEDs, inner wiring, or both.
- Mounting: For all our linear lighting products, care has to be taken with how they are mounted so that the product is not physically stressed, as most are not mean to support their own weight. Do not hang products vertically, twist, or leave unsupported along a length. A continuous support structure, such as our mounting track or a custom project-specific solution, is ideal for weight distribution. For point supports, such as mounting clips or zip ties, etc., we recommend a spacing of 6"-12" apart. Anything further than 12" (especially on a heavy product like Neon Flex or RGB rope light), and the weight begins to pull down on the light over time, straining the inner wires. Also, with any rectangular product like the RGB rope light, it is designed to bend along the wide sides, but do not bend the light along the short sides, as this will again strain the inner wiring.
- Outdoor Connections: If you are installing a linear lighting product outside, care has to be taken during installation at all vulnerable points along the run of the lights, namely the connection points where either accessories are attached to the light, or light sections are spliced together. Please be sure to review our Outdoor Installations page for tips on how to handle these areas to resist moisture from entering the lighting assembly.
Following these guidelines will give you clean power to a well secured product, all the while resisting the passage of moisture into the product assembly.
Low voltage LED rope lights run off either 12V or 24V current, and offer a safer alternative to 120V line voltage lights (reduced risk of shock), while allowing for smaller cutting increments for more precise lighting layouts. In order to operate one of these lights, you need to have a transformer
of sufficient capacity to output the correct low voltage power.
Low voltage rope lights have special "low voltage-ready" power cords
. Instead of the normal molded 2-prong plug, low voltage power cords simply have bare wire leads. These bare wire leads then get wired directly to the 12V or 24V output side of the transformer.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “LUMEN” AND “CANDELA” BRIGHTNESS MEASUREMENTS?
Both lumens and candela are units that can be used to measure the brightness of a light source, but they represent different things. A lumen (the unit of luminous flux) is a measure of the total amount of visible light emitted by a light source in all directions. A candela (the unit of luminous intensity) is a measure of the intensity of a light source at a particular angle. Light bulbs have their power expressed in lumens, but often times the brightness of individual LEDs is expressed in candela (or millicandela, abbreviated "mcd") by the manufacturer.
WHAT IS CRI?
A great example of how these measurements work is a light bulb comparison. Let’s assume we have three different PAR38 directional light bulbs from the same manufacturer. All three are of the same wattage and have similar specifications with the exception of their beam angle. Bulb #1, with a beam angle of 32°, has an overall output of 780 lumens and an intensity of 1,650 candela. Bulb #2, with a slightly narrower beam angle of 23°, has an overall output of 780 lumens and an intensity of 3,600 candela. Bulb #3, with the narrowest beam angle of 8°, again has the same overall output of 780 lumens but an intensity of 12,500 candela. All three are outputting the same amount of visible light, but the intensity of that light increases as the angle gets smaller. (This example is for illustration only, but is based on actual bulb specifications.)
“CRI” stand for Color Rendering Index and is a measurement of how accurately and faithfully colors are represented by a light source. It is on a scale of 0-100, with a traditional incandescent bulb representing the perfect score of 100. Color-critical applications such as photography require high CRI light sources.
WHAT DOES “COLOR TEMPERATURE” OR “CCT” MEAN?
HOW MANY WATTS IS THAT LED?
The "color temperature" of a light source is used to characterize the type of white light emitted by a source and is measured in degrees Kelvin. It was originally intended for incandescent and similar style light sources. But newer lighting technologies such as fluorescent lamps and LEDs do not generate light in the same manner, and thus needed a way to measure the characteristics of their light output on the same scale everyone was already used to, thus the “Correlated Color Temperature” or “CCT”. Refer to our color temperature page
Because of incandescent light bulbs, most people are used to looking at wattage to determine the light output of a light source: a 100-watt lamp puts out more light than a 60-watt lamp.
All general service incandescent lamps use the same filament material heated to the same temperature, so the only way to increase their light output is to increase the wattage. This is one of the main reasons why incandescent lamps are so energy wasteful.
LED light sources are much more efficient at converting watts to lumens. Different materials can be used within the LED sources themselves, each of which has its own light extraction efficacy. For these and other reasons, two different LED sources can consume the same number of watts but differ widely in lumen output.
Because watts can’t be used as an index of light output, evaluating the “brightness” of LED sources for a given situation requires you to think differently about lighting. A standard 60-watt incandescent lamp emits a total of about 800 lumens, but the light is emitted equally in all directions. When you’re reading at your office desk, your book does not receive all 800 lumens from your desktop lamp, nor do you need it to.
The crucial measurement is delivered light. According to the IES, serious reading requires an average of 50 footcandles (fc) or 500 lux (lx) on the page. Many linear LED under-cabinet fixtures and other task lights can deliver this level of light while consuming far less than 60 watts. For example, an under-cabinet LED light from a leading supplier can deliver 50 fc in typical desktop situations while consuming only about 6 watts per foot.
WHAT DOES SHIPPING COST?
After you have added all your items to your cart, you can use our Shipping Calculator to find out the shipping charges. The Shipping Calculator is located near the bottom of the shopping cart screen. Enter in your shipping address information (including postal/zip code, state, and country) and select the delivery method you would like to use. Click "Apply" to display the shipping charges in the shopping cart.
DO YOU SHIP INTERNATIONALLY?
I HAVE MY OWN FEDEX ACCOUNT. CAN YOU SHIP USING IT INSTEAD?
Yes, we ship internationally. Please note that all international orders (including those to Canada) may also be subject to additional customs duties and taxes. It is the responsibility of the customer to pay these fees. Please refer to our shipping policies
for more information.
Yes, we can ship using a customer's FedEx account. We charge a $10 fee for this service. At checkout, please provide a note that includes your account number in the Comments field. After the order is placed, we will go into your order and manually override the shipping charge that was auto-calculated by the shopping cart and replace it with our $10 fee.
CAN I PAY USING A COMPANY PURCHASE ORDER?
Yes, customers who open a Take Three Pro Account can place orders using a company purchase order and on Net 30 terms. Please see our Take Three Pro Accounts
page for more information.