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What are CCT LED strips?

CCT LED strips are relatively new in this exciting, evolving world of high-efficiency LED lighting technology. Confusingly, various manufactures use different terms to describe these dual white strips:

CCT = Controllable Colour Temperature* ; CT = Colour Temperature ; Dual White strips.

Simply put, these CCT LED strips contain an equal number of Cool White and Warm White LED’s. These alternate running the length of the strip, which is usually 5m in length, and supplied on a reel. Furthermore, the strips have a self-adhesive backing (similar to draught excluder) allowing them to be fitted quickly and effortlessly.

CCT LED strips

Since they are usually low voltage – typically 12V or 24V DC, they therefore require a power supply and a CCT controller. Consequently, this allows adjustment of the temperature by adjusting the relative power fed to the warm white and cool white LED’s. Colour temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin (K). The chart below gives a rough indication of the range between 2500K and 7000K. Dual white strips typically display between 3000K and 6500K.

Colour Temperature scale

Some CCT LED strips use alternate cool white and warm white LED’s along the strips (photo above). Later versions utilise a dual white LED – this has a cool white and a warm white device in the same package and this is known as a 2-in-1 CCT LED.

The strips are terminated with 3 wires. One to control the cool white LED’s, one to control the warm white LED’s and a common wire. The common wire, V+ is usually at +12V/+24V. The CCT controller has corresponding terminals for a straight forward connection as shown below. Here, two separate strips are connected to the Output terminals on the right hand side. The Input terminals on the left hand side are connected the 12V/24V power supply via 2-core cable.

CCT controller connections

Where to use CCT LED strips

There are many applications for CCT LED strips where bright colours (such as those created with RGB coloured lighting) are not required. Under-cupboard kitchen lighting traditionally used fluorescent tubes. Also, but the hazardous chemicals contained inside the tubes (including mercury) has inevitably led to more environmentally friendly lighting solutions. LED technology is widely accepted as a clean, efficient alternative to both filament bulbs. Furthermore, bulbs are seldom more than 20% efficient – and fluorescent tubes, both of which have a fairly limited life span.

CCT LED strips are ideal replacements for the rather dated fluorescent tube types. They are well suited to kitchen environments because they are available with a waterproof coating to protect against moisture such as splashes and steam. They can also be used in a living room to provide coving / cornice up-lighting to illuminate a pale or white ceiling.

In a living room environment, LED strip lighting should be considered as secondary lighting because the light is reflected, providing a warm even glow similar to a filament bulb when in warm white only mode. In the kitchen, the CT strips will normally face downwards towards the work surface and, because this is direct light, the strips are able to provide sufficient light for reading cookbooks etc.

CCT strip demo video

This demo video shows our CCT RF Controller “in action” :


. Finally, check out the range of dual white CCT LED strips and controllers at Visualchillout, the mood lighting specialists.

*CCT can also refer to Correlated Colour Temperature.