Advice on LED strip lighting

Hoping someone can help with a project I’m working on and offer some advice. I’m installing a sauna in a closet and I want to put led strip lights in it. I want to have two zones with the option of each zone working together or independently. I want a wall mount control panel as well as the option to control through a phone app. I’ve found a wall mount control interface that I think will work for my needs but it requires the addition of a wireless receiver or DMX controller. I’m not really sure which direction to go and don’t really know the difference between the two or how they fit into my needs. I am completely new to LED lighting and am hoping someone can explain how a lighting system works, each part that is needed, and what each part’s purpose within the system is. I am providing a link to the wall mount controller I have found but am open to any suggestions. There is a five color model and a four color model. Any help is greatly appreciated.

If you plan to be at DMS in the near future, I wouldn’t mind sitting down with you and going over various options from Amazon and explaining how they work. I can also bring a simple setup to demonstrate them. One word of caution though; there is a bit of simple algebra involved in selecting components. If that thought terrifies you then you might consider purchasing complete systems from a retail store.

I can make any night this week if you give me 24 hours notice.


If y’all do this, I’d love to join as I’m working my may way through this as well. I’m available Thursday most I’d the day and Friday am or after 1:30 as well as next week during the day. I can do evenings with notice

That would be great if you could meet and explain some basics. I can meet any night this week or weekend with the exception of Thursday. I have other plans that night. If Friday or the weekend doesn’t work with your schedule, I am considering attending the Electronics Office Hours on Tuesday the 9th. If that works better for you, I can meet you then instead. Your help is greatly appreciated.

If you do, I’ll be able to offer some insight on the fundamentals.

1 Like

I can try to make that as well!

I would enjoy sitting in on this too. I’m planning a kitchen under-cabinet lighting project. Is there a particular start time?
Thank you all!

Just to clear, I’m not going to be talking brands and model numbers. I’m not not up on that . I can talk about the fundamentals like voltage, power, color temperature etc.

@jamesyerby How about we just plan on Tuesday the 9th @ 6 PM and everyone can join in? I still don’t mind meeting over the weekend though if you give me a day and time.

@ozindfw I have a basic LED string, two types of dimmers, a 12V power supply, and some aluminum channel that I can bring for working samples. I can also take some pictures of four different installations I’ve done in my house (lighted vanity mirror, food pantry, under counter, and desk keyboard backlight). I can scrape out Amazon links for some of my purchases.

Here’s a quickly drafted outline of discussion points. We can omit any of these where no one is interested in the topic. It is very likely that I omitted something important. Can you add additional topics I might have missed?

Background: rgb-vs-rgbw-vs-rgbic-vs-rgbww-vs-rgbcct-led-strip-lights
Example to Discuss: BTF-LIGHTING-Multi-Colored-Silicone-Coating-Waterproof

  • Practical Experience
    • Don’t blow up your LEDs (polarity, voltage, heat)
    • It takes longer to mount them than you think
    • When you first start, wiring selection is one of the most time consuming tasks
  • Color
  • LED Density (LEDs / m)
  • Diffusion / Mixing
  • Heat Dissipation Considerations
  • Coatings (IP30, IP65, IP67, IP68)
  • Type: Fixed Voltage (RGB, RGBW, RGBWW, RGBCW, RGBCCT)
  • Type: Addressable (WS2811, WS2812B, WS2813, WS2814, WS2815, SK6812)
  • Dimming Techniques (Resistive vs. PWM)
  • Controllers (Manual, RF, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Zwave, DMX, Wi-Fi w/ App)
  • Voltage Selection (5V, 12V, 24V)
  • Connectors (e.g. JST SM, JST XH, TYUMEN)
  • Power Supply Selection
    • Power calculations
    • Dimmable vs. Non-dimable (Dimmer will destroy non-dimmable PS)
    • UL Approved
    • Power Supply Quality
      • I had one power supply that destroyed the LEDs over about 1 year. The voltage looked fine on my Fluke 115 but when I put the supply on a scope, it had ripple that well exceeded 12V. LEDs are not forgiving of even microseconds of over voltage if repeated enough.
      • Another supply dipped to 10V at only 80% of rated output.
  • Voltage Drop in Supply Leads / Wire Gauge
1 Like

@mstovenour Tuesday the 9th at 6 works great for me and I think it is the best time to benefit the most people. Your outline looks to be more than adequate for anything I am doing now as well as any other projects in the near future and your samples for mock-up are a great addition to increase understanding. Thank you so much.
@ozindfw Thank you for your input. It looks like your level of knowledge exceeds my current need so I’d love the opportunity to soak some of it up. Your help on Tuesday is greatly appreciated.

I look forward to meeting you both.

1 Like

These are links to some items I’ve purchased in the past for LED projects:

Power, Dimmers, and Switches



I’m running behind. Google map eta is 6:20p

I wanted to thank everyone who was at the Electronics Office Hours last night for giving up your time to explain the basics of LEDs to me. Especially @mstovenour for bringing components and detailed explanations. I feel like I learned more than enough to complete the project I’m working on. Thanks again and cheers fellas.


I had to miss this because of the kids. Sounds like it was really great!