Can You Control Multiple Strip Lights With One Remote?
You might want to use strip lighting to create a cool lighting set up in your home. This might cover a large area like running strip lighting under all of your kitchen cabinets. You might want to connect all of these strip lights into one remote controller.
But is it possible to connect a whole row of strip lights to a single remote controller? Keep reading to find out more.
The short answer is, you can control multiple strip lights using a single remote controller.
There are several options available to you when connecting any light strip to a remote controller. It all depends on the type of remote you’re using and how your strip lights connect to a controller.
How To Connect Multiple LED Strips To A Single Remote
The first thing you need is a basic understanding of the different types of strip lights available and how they work. So let’s get familiarised with the various types of strip lighting, power sources and controllers available to make sure the equipment you buy is compatible.
Whichever strip lighting you buy is going to need a power supply. There are 2 choices here, either battery or mains power. If you go for coloured LED strip lighting, you’ll be better off with mains power as these tend to run batteries down fairly quickly.
To operate your strip light remotely, it will need a receiver, this comes already attached and it picks up a signal from the remote or phone and operates the lighting strip accordingly. In some cases the receiver is called the driver or controller.
If you have a white light strip, the controller can only turn the lights on or off or control the level of brightness.
If you have a colour light strip, the controller can also change the colours of the strip.
To control the light strip remotely, you’ll need a remote controller. With smart light strips you can use a smartphone to control them via an app. The majority of strip lights come supplied with a remote controller unless they are designed to be operated using a smartphone in which case there will be no remote as the app turns the phone into the remote.
Some of the smart strip lights need a hub to operate. The strip lights connect to the hub, which in turn, connects the lights to the smartphone. Most smart light strips will be able to connect to an existing smart hub but you’ll need to check that your lights are compatible with your hub.
How To Connect Multiple Light Strips To A Single Zone Remote
Single zone remotes are designed to control one zone at a time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add extra light strips to that zone. Each brand has a slightly different way of connecting but all it usually takes to sync the lights to the remote is holding a button on the remote for a couple of seconds.
Some receivers have a “learn” button which needs to be pressed before pressing a button on the remote to make a connection.
To add another strip light to the remote you just sync it to that same remote too. Once both sets of lights have been synced to the remote, it can be used to control both of them.
If you switch on the lights using the remote, it will turn both sets on at the same time. However, the remote must be in range of both receivers for them both to work.
You’ll need to check your user manual to see exactly how your strip lights have to be synced.
There may be a limit as to exactly how many amps the remote can control per channel. This could limit the number of strip lights you can connect to a single one remote.
How To Connect Multiple Light Strips To A Multiple Zone Remote
Multiple zone remotes can be used to connect lots of light strips and can control each strip separately, which is something a single zone remote cannot do.
If you have an 8 zone remote, it can control 8 different zones. It will have buttons with the numbers from 1-8 on it. Each number refers to a specific zone so pressing number 1 will connect the remote to all of the lights in zone 1 and so on.
Connecting One Strip To A Single Zone
Each LED strip light will have its own power source and its own receiver. You’ll need to check the user manual on each strip light to see how to sync it to the remote.
On a multiple zone remote you can connect one single strip light to each zone. This is done by syncing each strip to a different number on the remote.
Connecting Multiple Strips To A Single Zone
You can connect multiple strip lights to one number on the remote. This is done by pressing the “learn” button on multiple receivers at once and then pressing the number on the remote you wish to correspond to that group of lights. This gives you the ability to change the colours of all of the strips in this zone as well as turn them all on and all off at the same time.
You can also control several zones at the same time by pressing the zone numbers quickly in succession, this selects them as a group and you will then be able to control them all at the same time.
Adding Multiple Light Strips To One Power Source
Smart light strips can be bought with extensions which can be clipped together via connectors. This allows you to use more than one strip of lights powered by the same source. They are all controlled from the one controller too.
There is a limit to how many strips of lights can be connected in this way, which is 10m of strip lights. Connecting the strips lights together in this way is called connecting in series.
These smart strip lights can also be connected in parallel, which involves using a splitter which then gives you the potential to double the amount of lights which can be powered from one power source and one remote.
How To Ensure The Remote Reaches All Of The Light Strips
The remote controller needs to be able to communicate with all of the receivers to make them all work. The receiver has a set range for picking up a signal from the remote.
If you have multiple light strips, try to place all of the receivers close to each other. This makes it more likely that they will connect with the remote and work as they should. If the receiver is too far from the remote, it won’t work which could mean that only 2 of the 3 strips you have connected to the remote will work for instance.
RF Or IR: What Type Of Remote Is Best For Strip Lights?
There are 2 main types of remotes used for controlling strip lights which are RF or IR remote controllers.
If you want to control more than one strip of lights with a single remote controller, an RF remote will be your best choice. An RF or Radio Frequency remote doesn’t need to be pointed directly at the light strip receiver to work. Also if you want to control multiple strip lights at once or just press one button to turn multiple light strips on or off, a RF remote will be best.
IR or Infrared remotes have less range than RF remotes and they need to be aimed directly at the receiver to work.
How To Get The Best Compatibility
If you want to control a few LED strips using a single remote, the best way to ensure they are compatible is to use the same brand of lights and remote. If the remote is too expensive or out of stock, at least use the same brand LED strips and get a different remote..
There are some brands which will only work with others of the same brand, but in all cases there is less chance of any problems if the same brand is used throughout.
Using Your Smartphone To Operate Your Smart Strip Lights
If you’re using your smartphone to operate your smart strip lights via an app, it will use either Bluetooth or WiFi. Both of which are generally more reliable than either RF or IR connections.
Using WiFi To Operate Your Smart Strip Lights
A WiFi connection allows you to control your lights from a further distance than using Bluetooth. You’ll need to check on the smart strip light description to see if they are compatible with whichever system you want to use before buying.
If your smart strip lights won’t work using your smartphone you’ll need to check the following:
- WiFi network set to 5Ghz
Most smart devices including strip lights need a 2.4Ghz network to connect. Most routers use both a 2.4Ghz and a 5ghz frequency network. Check that your router is set for 2.4Ghz usage.
- Light strip is too far from the router or phone
The connection between the lights, router and phone has to be close enough that all 3 can connect remotely. You may need to move the lights closer to the router and/or move yourself and your phone closer. Or you might need to install a booster to increase the WiFi signal in your home.
- App password
It might be something as simple as you’ve entered an incorrect password into the app. This is easy to do (using lower case letters instead of capitals etc).
- App needs updating
Check if there are any outstanding updates for your app. It’s possible the app won’t allow you access if it needs an update.
- Too many devices connected to your router
Your router might have a limit on how many devices can be connected at any one time. You might need to disconnect some devices or try connecting as many devices to 5Ghz as you can to free up the 2.4Ghz frequency.
Using Bluetooth To Operate Your Smart Strip Lights
If you want to run your lights using Bluetooth and they won’t pair, there could be a number of reasons why, these include;
- Your phone needs rebooting
Sometimes it’s as simple as just turning the phone off and on again to establish a connection between your phone and the strip lights.
- App needs updating
Problems with connections are often linked with out of date apps. Check to see if your app needs updating.
- Incorrect settings on the phone
You need to check that the settings on the app are correct. Ensure that Bluetooth is on for the app and be sure the app can access your location.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is recommended that you can connect no greater than 10m of LED strips to one power source.
No, all LED light remotes do not work for each other. It is advisable to get strip lights and remotes of the same brand.
LED strips do not take a lot of power. It is estimated that LED strip lights use up to 85% less electricity than a standard light.