Top critical review
51 of 59 people found this helpful
Lots of problems
on February 2, 2014
First, these took about 2 months to arrive from China. What's up with that? Second, the "3M" adhesive backing was either a 3M knock-off, or it became highly degraded at some point. When the package finally arrived, upon peeling back the release liner (the paper part you pull off to expose the adhesive), all of the adhesive pulled away from the back of the light strip and stuck to the release liner. We had to use my own actual 3M double-sided tape to use the lights as I had planned.
If I had looked more carefully to see where the product was coming from, I would have purchased from inside the US. Although the item would still probably have been made in China, like everything else these days, it would be much easier to deal with a US seller for refund and return shipping. A word to the wise. Made in China, sold from China = Bad. Made in China, sold from US = Better.
Otherwise, this is a pretty good product. The strip is encased in silicone (I am pretty sure). The back side is flat (where the crappy adhesive is) while the front side is domed or cylindrical. The pattern of LEDs and gold contacts repeats every 3 inches (75 mm) or so. The strip can be cut at any gold contact, as many times as desired. Each cut then requires you to get 12 VDC power to the new segment.
To use the associated push-on connector (different manufacturer and seller) to connect one segment to the next,
you have to use a safety razor to remove the silicone dome down to the gold contacts, back about 0.25 inch (6.5 mm), being careful not to damage the contacts or backing.
It is not possible (without cutting the strip) to make a right-angle bend and still have the adhesive back side remain in the same plane for both segments. You can cut the strip at the nearest gold tabs (leave some gold on both sides) and then solder two short connector wires to make the bend. If using outdoors, I would suggest encasing all of that in silicone caulking.
For outside (not outdoor - outside) corners, like when you have the lights facing you on a wall and want to make them bend around an outside corner to continue on the new wall, still facing you: The silicone, while flexible, is too stiff to make such a sharp bend and remain with its back in contact right up to the bend, through the bend, and around the bend. For this case I would recommend cutting partially into the silicone from the top/front enough to allow the bend. I did not try this, and it might cause the flexible printed circuit board (PCB) backing to crack. No guarantees.
For inside corners, see my comments above, but in addition: In this case, it might not matter too much if the light strip makes a curved corner (you can get about a 0.5-inch (13-mm) radius of curvature) tucked into a square corner. This would require no cutting and splicing.