AC or DC? That is the question

We want to help streamline your online ordering process as much as possible, and one of the easiest ways to accomplish this is through the sharing of complete information. Today I will discuss the importance of specifying if you need your lighting to be Alternating Current or Direct Current for our outdoor lighting; more commonly known as AC or DC. So the million-dollar question we ask you is: Which type of current do you have, AC or DC? The answer can be found in a couple different ways:

1. LED’s inherently take current in only one direction which is why all Inspired LED strips require DC. If you decide to purchase your power from Inspired LED and choose to buy a plug-in power supply or transformer to power your outdoor lighting, you will have DC power.

2. Sometimes customers wish to supply their own power source or wish to use these lights in conjunction with their current low voltage outdoor lighting system. If this is the case, you must know what type of power you currently have. If you are using a transformer from home, you can find this information by simply looking at the transformer. A sticker on the transformer or the box it came in will usually show AC or DC. If it does not give you the information, you can easily find this information by looking for the product online. In our experience, when a customer has an existing outdoor transformer, it outputs 12V AC. However, you should always double check before ordering.

How to tell if you have AC or DC on transformer

How to tell if you have AC or DC transformer











Although this small bit of information may seem insignificant, it’s actually quite important to know when it comes to manufacturing your custom designs. For example, if your transformer is outputting AC, I, as the manufacturer, will solder a diode bridge rectifying the AC to DC so the LED strip will function correctly. However, if you choose DC on your order, soldering that diode bridge on the strip is not necessary because the strip already takes DC. Also, please keep in mind that, when choosing AC for your outdoor lighting, the maximum LED strip length per diode bridge is 20′. There are very specific requirements depending on AC or DC.

Another area of confusion we encounter with customers is how to set up outdoor lighting so it can be easily installed. All our outdoor strips come with either:

a 3′ female lead (or cable) for DC, or

AC or DC: DC end of outdoor strip

a 3′ male lead for AC attached to the LED strip.

AC or DC: AC end of outdoor strip If you are using a transformer, you will be cutting off the end connector of the lead. An important aspect to look at when buying your outdoor lighting is if you will be running all the strips in parallel (meaning the strips will all be routed to thtransformer from their own lead). Since this is how the strips are set up, if your online order does not specify how you want the strip, we will ship the order with a 3′ lead. If you need the leads longer, just specify in the customer notes how long you need the lead.

The other way to set up your lights is to run them in series (meaning the first strips’ lead will go to the transformer and the rest of the strips will be connected through that one series). If you choose to set them up in series, we need to know which strip will be connected to the power source so we can build it accordingly, as only the first strip in a series needs a diode bridge. Whichever one you choose, you need to specify in the customer notes section how you would like us to set it up. As you can see, it is very important when placing an order to specify AC or DC, or any other important details.

Hope this helps you make informed decisions for your future outdoor lighting purchase! You can explore our outdoor lighting products on our website.

Feel free to contact our design team with future questions regarding your order. We also offer an online live chat feature for quick responses to all of your questions.