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I have a 5050 5 meter LED strip and it requires an AC/DC adapter to run the full strip. I was told that I needed a 2A adapter, but I went to electronic store to buy an end adapter and they said this adapter was not powerful enough to run this strip and that it requires a 6 amp. I want maximum light without any concern of over heating.

Which is right?

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    Answers never seem as simple as you hope. 5050 is the size of the led itself, so alone that is not enough to allow us to help you. The light strips come with different numbers of led's per meter, so we need the number of led's in a meter. The led's can use different amounts of power, the 'RGB' type use much more power than the single color ones, so we need to know what kind of led you have. Some of the 'RGB' strips have a chip the controls the chip colors. For some it is separate from the leds and for others it is inside of the led. This is not very important to know for telling you the right – Some Guy Mar 21 '15 at 21:40
  • Hmm, should have declared my assumptions. I assumed 300 leds in a 5m strip and picked the higher of the draws between RGB and white. – Aloysius Defenestrate Mar 22 '15 at 15:05
  • 12 Volt at 5 Amps = 60 Watts = 300 RGB leds. I use one of these, ebay item 201217255753 . It was $10 with shipping and took about 3 days to get here. – Some Guy Mar 22 '15 at 15:32
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Assuming the 2A was correct, then you really cannot go wrong with the higher AMPS and more AMPS will not make the LEDs overheat. AMPS will simply provide more available current to the circuit. This can give you more scalability if you decide to add more lights later on. More AMPs does not translate to higher power consumption either.

Hopefully these illustrations help:
AMPs Volts Funny-VAO

You could go seriously wrong, however, if you over-volt them and it will make them overheat or destroy them altogether. If batteries are involved then there may be some considerations about AMPs.

More reading:

  1. Good info that directly applies to your question.

  2. This is about speakers but the same principal applies.

  3. This is also good info

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A 6A (12v) adapter will probably be sufficient. If your design allows, you'll see less voltage drop (dimming as you get further from the power source) if you can use shorter segments.

  • I have to respectfully disagree with you on your answer. 5 meters of the the leds will not have less voltage drop, no matter how short the segments. – Some Guy Mar 22 '15 at 18:36
  • Appreciate the discussion. I'm not an electrical expert, but I trust this source: budgetlightforum.com/node/9394 . Partial quote: "I hooked up 12V to the wires and voila.. 2 amps... I checked the voltage/current over a 3 LED segment near the wires. The LEDs were drawing 16.5 mA. The full strip should have been drawing 3.25 amps... Hmmm... It turns out that the flexible copper tape conductors that the LEDs are mounted on cannot handle the current. There is a big drop in voltage down the length of the strip. The groups at the far end of the strip were getting less than 10 volts." – Aloysius Defenestrate Mar 22 '15 at 21:19
  • Hi aloysius - I think we are thinking the same thing, just from different directions. There is a voltage drop, to be sure. 10 volts at the end of the strip sounds about right. There is just not very much copper in those things. Copper is expensive, so using less lowers the cost. - What I was saying is that 5 meters of the leds will use the same amount of power if you have 20 segments of 250 cm or 10 segments of 0,5 meters. I think your idea was if you use 4 meters of the stuff, instead of 5. Then you will get less voltage drop. So you will have more power per led and makes improves all leds – Some Guy Mar 22 '15 at 23:11
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    Completely agree that 1x5 = 5x1, from a power consumption perspective. I was trying to suggest shorter segments wired in parallel. Shame on me for breezing through the details. – Aloysius Defenestrate Mar 23 '15 at 0:04

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