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I'm not sure what application this bare mains voltage LED tape is intended for, but the implication in the listing that it can be used under kitchen cabinets, in bathrooms and children's play rooms may not be appropriate.
Despite operating at full mains voltage, this tape can still be cut every 100mm (4") and does not need an external rectifier. It achieves this with built in rectifiers, multi-chip LEDs and current limiting resistors. Rather pleasingly it doesn't grill them for a change - even on a 245 volt supply.
The listing actually showed a linear current regulator on each section, but the tape that arrived has resistors. That's fine. It means there may be a slight intensity change with voltage fluctuations, but the resistors are going to be much more reliable than an active component.
The track spacing is squirmy for the voltages involved. This tape is not suitable for use anywhere with even the slightest risk of condensation forming, and if mounted onto a metal backing there is very little between mains voltage and the surface it's mounted on. Even hygroscopic adhesive could pose an issue.
The only places this tape could be used are in well insulated or grounded enclosures to avoid the risk of it being touched. The possibility of the tape parting from its adhesive would have to be considered, and it definitely needs a low value fuse.
It's interesting stuff, but it has very niche uses. The listing I got it from is here:-
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Things you find on ebay that make you go. Hmm, i'm not sure the intended application of this stuff. It's led tape, but it's mains voltage led tape. This stuff is designed.

Well, the listing says five meter led strip light ac 220 to 230 volt. 2835. 120. Leds meter, kitchen under cabinet stair light.

It then goes on to say not waterproof but suitable for bathroom bedroom, dining room garage hallway, basically, every room including playroom, uh department, baby boys, children's girls, teens unisex, adult um, and then for occasions. It says baby shower baby shower of sparks and bar mitzvah bang emits for more like it. Given this stuff, uh and just basically they're just saying it can be used everywhere. Absolutely that's unfortunate because it is just bear tape with the 240 volt or well, the 220 to 230 volt running all the way along and you can cut it every four inches: 100 millimeters and just hook the mains directly onto this.

So, let's take a look at some of the pictures because they kind of uh indicate the levels of safety that were in the minds of the people selling this. So let's zoom down onto the images here and then we'll test it. So i'm a bit disappointed because i ordered what i thought was going to get this same. One they're, showing here in reality, there's a bridge rect for a rectifier at one end and at the other end of theirs is a linear current regulation with a programming resistor.

But i did not get that mine has uh just three resistors bridge rectifier in each section and then three resistors they've just capped the current at a sort of level that's going to be dependent on the voltage and these will be high voltage leds dropping a fair Amount most of the mains will be dropped across the leds with the rest across the resistors, but the resistors are quite high value, not sure what they're going to get from electrical safety perspective. They've got this. I just want one of these. Actually, this uh, it's looking a bit dark in the picture, but if you know the hoppy tester, i've got which i'll be using in a moment to hook this up, it's basically a speaker connector a little on off switch and a flat screen.

It looks almost 3d printed, that's very tempting to 3d print. One of those i may already have ordered a speaker connector, but they've just stuffed the wires and it's kind of fitting, because this appears to have speaker wire on one end of it. But then again, they show how versatile this stuff is, because literally they show that you can take it and you can just stuff the wires into a socket. If you want some light and that's how they've tested it just stuck it down into the socket to make it light up excellent that sets the standard.

So tell you what let's cut a section this off. I shall bring up your citizen and chop it and i'll give you a close-up of this afterwards, so you can see the construction it's worth mentioning on the back of it. Uh is the usual double-sided tape, but really once you've stuck it on. If you stuck it onto a metal surface for cooling, it's got two bus bars running along the back of this live and neutral uh with just the soda resist, and then that sticky tape between that and any metal surface.

So not particularly great. I tell you what let's get my speaker wire here: bear it back and bring up the hoppy with its speaker terminals and we'll see if this just goes, bang or whatever. So i'm going to stuff this in here, i do like their tester. I do have to possibly make myself one of those right i'll, just zoom back out again here bring the hop in put this down, i'm going to actually just stick it down to the table.

I think i'm just going to stick it down, so it stays down because i want to prove it with a meter. Well, this is a good idea. I do not know that is not coming off right. That is a the double-sided tape.

It's a there's, the layer. I want to come off. Is it coming off? This is this is where it's all going to start going wrong for a start, uh where's, my snips, i usually usually use when i can't get fingernails under this. Oh right, okay, i'll, try it from the other end.

Yeah, it's it's all going horribly wrong. If i had fingernails it'd be easier, yes, but i bite them off and trim them and i just make sure they're short, i do not like long nails. This is just getting irritating. Now, isn't it.

I may just stick it down with other tape, because this backing tape is just not wanting to come off. Is it yeah one moment please and continue i've managed to get it off. That is very good double-sided tape, because the backing tape doesn't come off it. That's gon na make it very hard for the kitchen fitters to stick it under kitchen cabinets.

Perfect. Let's have live connections under kitchen cabinets. You can always run your fingers along it when you're wanting excitement or just maybe, if you wanted to run the kettle, you could just tap a flex off and bring it down right. Let us plug this in.

Oh, is this a good idea, i'm just going to check the rating on this? Does it say it'll be fine yeah, it says 220 is the right stuff. Okay, so the current is 12 milliamps, so about 6 milliamps per section 2.8 watts. How hot are those little resistors going to get? This is where i'm going to probe on with my meter - and i am going to short something here - am ty. It's just guaranteed something terrible is going to happen uh.

So, let's set this to 20 volts, maybe across the resistors and we'll work out what the power dissipation of those resistors is: it's 18 volts across each resistor and they're quite high value resistors. Let me just do some maths one moment. Please kink calculator in position. Let's compute, so there was 18 volts dropped across those resistors 18 volts, divided by the value of the resistor 3900 ohms.

How does that tally? Up with the current, i was measuring about six milliamps, it's showing about 4.6 milliamps to actually this because we're dealing with a full wave rectified, but unsmoothed uh voltage, because these project fires on the tape. It's actually a bit trickier to measure things accurately compared to dc. We get a nice solid value, so let's go with the six milliamps that it showed there. The six milliamps times say the 18 volts dropped across the resistors gives a dissipation 108 milliwatts per resistor, that's uh, less than quarter watts, but about a tenth of a watt which is absolutely fine, so these aren't being grilled the leds.

What's the voltage crossed leds, i shall turn it on an actual problem. What's the worst could happen i'll leave it set to the 20 volt range, the slight shimmer you're, seeing there is because this isn't smooth i'll poke it at some point, maybe not uh. Let's measure the voltage making sure i don't go too close to a rectifier, because i will end up shorting something out and then the tape will explode in flames. It's showing about 15.5 volts.

It's going to be a bit higher, um 15.5. It's gon na be roughly three volts per led. Uh 15.5 divided by the three volts, is about uh five ish, but and that these chips are usually these multi-chip leds are usually a rectangular array. So i'm going to say, there's going to be about six chips in these, it's going to be a three by two array of chips in each of these leds.

That's interesting because uh. That means the dissipation of each package is also exactly what those resistors were. It's about a tenth of a watt which is okay, that's not bad! For these little uh leds here, not sure how hot they'll get. I shall turn the power off and i shall touch it stone cold.

Nothing really warm there at all. I suppose you could use the thermal imaging camera. I could see how hot they get one moment. Please.

Flour says roughly about 30 degrees celsius above ambient because it's about 10 degrees celsius in my little workshop area here so um, that's not bad. The resistor is a little bit hotter, but it's not bad at all. Um, that's impressive! Zoom back down! There focus back down onto that so applications for this stuff. Well, i don't think i'd feel comfortable about it, certainly being put where it could be touched, because it is basically just live um, but the only application i can think of this are where it's laid into a metal channel.

Hopefully, a grounded metal channel or a plastic channel, maybe given that it doesn't get too hot um and then covered with a suitable cover, but it still means terminating thin wires, soldering them directly. I mean that's too forward across that and if any humidity get in it's going to cause flashover it's going to cause tracking flash over in this stuff and i'm not sure that would result in depending on the fuse protection um. The other application that comes to mind is led neon, the where it's mounted sideways pointing into the housing, and it just makes it glow along the full length and it's the flexible, nene type stuff, because this would be really useful for just hooking 240 straight into the End, but not for outdoors i'd rather use 12 volts outdoors uh purely because well, the ac's got the advantage of uh it's less prone to dc electrolysis, but i'm going to turn this off. This is glaring.

This is very gleary um, but uh. The ac has that advantage of the reducing the risk of electrolysis, so there is dc along it, particularly around about the rectifiers themselves, but uh. The issue with the the ac is that it's more like to flash over and because any moisture in there will cause tracking between these pads and then it will actually blow up and potentially cause fires. So i'm not really sure what this is aimed at.

So to finish this video i'm going to actually take a picture of this and just show you the track layout on it. So one moment please that actually took a while the reason being that it's got that horrible white soda resist on it. That makes it quite hard to actually see where the tracks are and the tracks are filling up just about all the space, including the back. We've got two big bus bars for live and neutral on the back.

So i'll show you the schematic first so that you know what the circuitry is like: it's not very complicated. It's the simplest. Ever we have the live bus bar going right through the neutral bus bar going right through and they dip through a redirect fire. The rectifier rectifies it to dc but unsmoothed, and then it goes through 12 of these leds that each contain six chips.

I've now confirmed that by measuring voltage and two 3 900 ohm resistors, just to balance it to the rest of the mains voltage um. I measured the leds at 18 volts at 15 milliamps and at the current it's running at they were running at about 17 milliamps across them uh when running dc. There's around about the five or six milliamp mark very simple circuitry, not a lot to go wrong, except for the track spacing omg right, say! Well, i shall move this up here and then explain that these are the live and neutral pads. So because this section here is one of a complete section of 100 millimeters, which is uh about four inches um.

It effectively starts with this bit and ends with this bit just because that might be confusing because that bit over there is this and that, but over there is this, but here's what happens there are the bus bars in the back. So there are lots of pleated through holes where it joins on to go on to those bus bars at the back. The live just it's the creepiest thing ever it just skirts up here, there's really little separation and goes to the rectifier. The neutral goes down onto that bus bar, but also comes back along this side.

That's it coming back there and goes to the direct fire as well. That's the live neutral on the bridge, rectifier, the positive and negative come out. The positive goes straight to the led to the left of the rectifier and so effectively you can see where the tracks have been cut here. The led to the left is being fed first, so the positive is coming out here going to that led going through the six chips in that led and then it ducts back down under the rectifier to the next led and from there.

It just goes along, led, led, resistor, led, led, led, resistor and the same all the way along with loads and loads of track space. You know it's really using all the copper in this just probably dealt with heat dissipation. Although really it's not that much or an issue with this, it's surprisingly uh. It seems to be running everything quite nicely, which is unusual, but it gets to the end and then to get its negative, and this is another squirmy thing this purple track here is the negative.

The continuation from this uh redirect fires negative it comes along. Does a very sharp turn and squishes in between the live pad and the other end of that led and then goes on to the end of the led, and that is it um really not much else to say it's a string of leds and resistors and a Bridge rectifier, but it's every single 10 centimeters four inches, and so you can cut it quite interesting. Definitely not something you want to stick under fridge cabinets, though uh kitchen cabinets, it will happen and they'll maybe put a bit of maybe insulation tape over and just say. Don't touch i'm not really sure, what's going to happen anyway, there is something we should try.

We should test it for electrical integrity along full length by plugging the whole lot in at once. Noting this is all going to be live, so i'm going to have to be careful here. I shall zoom back out. I shall bring up the hobbit.

I know this. Will go bang if there's a poor electrical integrity. I keep promising things going to combine nothing or will get a nice reading which will give us an indication of the this is not ideal. This is not ideal.

It will give us an indication of the a more accurate indication, because this is a supposedly a five meter length, which means that there should be approximately 50 sections long. I've already cut two off they're here, so it'll be 48 right. Let's see if this makes a connection, the whole lot lights up, making sure there's nothing like it to short circuit. It's all lit up.

What is the reading? I'm getting at 68 watts. 300 milliamps on the button power factor is astounding at 0.926, but that's because of the way these are working, they are riding the same wave to a degree. Okay, so it's creeping up a bit 70 watts, let's say: 300, it's up to 310 milliamps! Okay! I won't leave it too long because it's going to get hot, that's 71 watts along that so 310 milliamps, that's uh, 0.310 amps uh, divided by the 48 sections that are through roots theoretically on that gives the six milliamps or so that it's drawing that's reasonably accurate. Then um, so that's quite interesting and six milliamps uh hold on.

Let's work out the power dissipation per section of that strip, it's 240 volts say times: .006 equals the power. Dissipation is 1.4 watts along here which isn't too bad. Actually, that's! Okay. So let me know what you think this could be used in.

It is kind of spicy it's dangerous. Another seller was selling it with sleeve that you could slide it into um. I'm not sure if this is actually aimed at something else. I'm not sure if it's designed for a for a specific product, like, as i say, the side, glow neon stuff that uh hold on, got a bit here where the tape is mounted on the side and the light comes out the end after bouncing about, because that Would make sense it means you could cut it every uh, 100 millimeter four inch, although the lower voltage stuff is better for that, because uh you can cut it every um inch 25 millimeters, but it is interesting stuff.

Nonetheless, now i'm tempted - i don't really need to do this - attempt to buy all the blue stuff just to take a closer look at the led, but i know, what's going to be in it a little basically a little rectangular chip with a with six sections, because I have merged the voltage across that but interesting stuff. Let me know what you think about this: do you think people are going to put it in dangerous places and do you think it's likely with the presumptive of the connections, particularly the bus bars in the back and people sticking onto surfaces that could get humid and Mucky and metal surfaces is it going to blow up? That is the question.

16 thoughts on “Bare 230v led tape”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars rpavlik1 says:

    I mean, I guess maybe it might be useful in signage applications (where it wouldn't be exposed) so maybe that's why a production line apparently exists, but those sample usage photos in the listing are atrocious….

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Brian Wilson says:

    hey, Clive got a question for you as the king of LEDs. Managed to get me about half a roll of LEDs rated at 24Volit what I am looking for is a driver that is 240V AC/ 50-60 Cycles that dimmable.
    want to use them in a lighting set-up for photography vidiography. the are white LEDs the rest were used in a school hallway.

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars arbutuswatcher says:

    I think it's safe to say a certain number of users, will inherit the title of crispy critters, if they don't exercise serious caution, with this LED tape; especially in moist enviroments.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mr. Brown’s Basement says:

    The perfect under cabinet valence light for the bathroom of a neighbour that you really don't like!. If he doesn't accidentally touch it, you can hope he takes a hot shower so there's a little condensation on the surface that reaches to the nearby metal faucets when he's about to shave. James Bond's quip from the opening scene of Goldfinger applies here.

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Acme Fixer says:

    No! Not even if it was 'only' 120 VAC! I'll stick to the 12 volt LED strip. The chances of getting zapped from arm to arm are too high, and that's through the heart! Way too dangerous! And putting it in a clear plastic insulator might cause it to get too hot, so it would be both a shock and fire hazard.

    The good thing about the 12V switching power supplies is they quit switching when overloaded, giving somewhat of an overcurrent protection. These guys operate directly off the "mains", giving big time sparks when shorted. Or else smoke and possibly fire. 🤪😱😱 Thanks, Clive.

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars JamesAllmond says:

    Oh you know it is going to be put in a nice juicy bathroom, may be in the shower, or just over a sink or may be as floor lighting…what could possibly go bang?

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars turtmaster t says:

    clive, so in other words in regards to the dissipation of the resistors, for once the Chinese engineered something well for once for the first time yet, but it Still being a dodgy product in the first place, strange, very strange,
    except I could possibly see it being used inside of mains voltage signs,
    also clive, have you ever thought about making a test cord, a male plug, cord with alligator clips at the end for testing things with flying leads, although you kind of need both the speaker terminal connector version as well, depending on what you're working on.

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Fred Morton says:

    you could always stick it back to back and then slip it into a clear plastic tube, and use them as pendant lights. High ceilings would be a definite advantage 😄

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars TheWtfnonamez says:

    You are all a bunch of cry babies. If infants are too soft to put up with the occasional 230 volt electric shock, what hope do they have of surviving the asbestos mines when they reach twelve years of age?

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jason Kuehl says:

    Potentially very dangerous? Check. Shoddy adhesive? Check. Ad has unsafe pictures and recommendations to put in wet locations? Check. Minimal insulation on mounting side? Check. That settles it, I want this!

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars John Fitzgerald says:

    That is frightfully dangerous. Jamming wires into a mains outlet is just wrong on so many levels.
    That really is speaker cable. Back in the day I got suckered into the Monster Cable 10 or 12 Guage speaker cable. Almost as thick as jumper cables for my Bose speakers. Ridiculous.
    Love your videos Clive. See ya later on your live stream. Cheers

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Moon Games says:

    Design your own sleeve and turn it into maybe an extra light source for your bench for those horrid black pcb's or just give extra light to read a chip or you could just make an interesting sign out of it and with the channel you could epoxy it in and add clear dye's to the epoxy to add colour effects to them. Or just make a dangling chandelier of death.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Laurie Seto says:

    Though slightly dangerous, it could be used to light up the porcelain bowl instead of the overhead light for those evening jaunts interrupting our sleep. Better to aim the middle of the circle. 😏

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars LightcapMath says:

    Very cool to see and know this exist. Assume that those who know something about electronics will find a use for it. So after cutting said length of strip, one has to solder power lines? what a pain. They should have leads at intervals to help the designer affix leads to power…in my opinion. Peace be with be with you B-Clive. DVD:)

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Uhrwerk Klockwerx says:

    "baby shower of sparks" had me rolling.
    You could also say "baby shower of death" since they ARE live at roughly 240v lol

  16. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars nobody important says:

    It's probably spare LED tape that they forgot to put insulation on. Or it was made at bulk for a specific application and they needed to sell off the extra they had. Just a couple guesses.

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