How Do I Choose An LED Driver And 9 Things To Consider

LED driver is part of LED technology, we have a variety of the LED driver, which can bring confusion in choosing among them. In this post, I explain the LED driver varieties and things you should consider when choosing the LED driver for your light.

Someone might ask, what is an LED Driver?

A LED driver is an electrical device that controls the power supply to a LED light. It is an important part of a LED circuit and operating a LED light without it can cause a system failure.

Types Of LED Drivers

There are two main types of LED drivers:

  •  Those that use a low voltage DC input power: generally, from 5-35VCD.
  • And those that use a high voltage AC input power: generally, from 90-277VAC.

LED drivers that use high voltage AC are called off-line drivers (AC LED drivers). For most applications, it is recommended to use a low voltage input DC LED driver.

Even if your input is high voltage AC, you can use a DC input driver with additional switching power.

The low voltage DC is recommended because it is more efficient and reliable. For smaller applications, there is a dimming and output option to work within your application compared to high voltage AC drivers.

Also, you need to know the drive current you want to install in your LED. Please note that higher drive currents will result in more light from LED and will require more wattage to operate the fixture.

To make a proper decision, you need to know the specifications of your LED, so you know the drive currents and the heat sink required to avoid burning the LED by too much heat or current. Please remember that you need to choose a driver with dimming capacity.

Things You Need To Consider When Selecting An LED Driver

1. Output Voltage

This value is usually given in volts. For constant voltage drivers, the output voltage must match the voltage of your LEDs.

If you have multiple LEDs, each LED voltage requirement must be added to get a total value. For constant current users, the output voltage should exceed the LED requirements.

For LED to work, either 12 or 24 volts are required. For efficient operation on 12 volts, you must use a 12-volt driver, for operation on 24 volts you must use a 24-volt driver.

If you choose a LED driver for a constant current LED that requires a fixed output current and range of output voltage, then you should consider the current output, which is specified and labeled in amps or milliamps.

For example, the output current can be 700mA and the output voltage range is between 4- and 13-volts DC.

2. Input Voltage

The supply of the current to the LED light is the most important thing to consider because you need to know the input voltage that will be used in a particular area, such as inside the light and the same output voltage that will be drawn.

So, if there is no relationship between input and output voltage, damage can occur. For example, car drivers prefer a wide range of input voltage because they can also ensure the brightness of the light, especially at night.

3. Output Power

The output power is always given in watts. You must use your LED driver with the same wattage as your LED light.

Always make sure that your driver has a higher output power than your LEDs to increase the safety of your LED light.

If the output wattage is the same as the LED wattage you need, it will run at full power, if it runs at full power, it may result in short driver life.

4. Maximum Wattage

You also need to consider the wattage requirements of your luminaire, and according to national electrical regulations LED drivers should be paired with LEDs that consume 20% less than the maximum rated wattage.

However, this does not apply to AC LED drivers which, if you also take AC into account, can reach 50%.

If this is the case, the driver should not be paired with a LED that is equal to or greater than the maximum wattage of the driver to avoid overloading the driver component.

If you have a driver that can run a maximum of 80 watts, it should only run LEDs that consume a maximum of 64 watts (80*0.8=64)

5. Life Expectancy

LED drivers are always quoted life expectancy in thousands of hours, which can be around 70,000 hours, which is called MTBT (Mean time before failure).

If the temperature of the LED light is controlled, then it is possible that it will last long, just as the LED driver will also last long.

The life of the LED driver is determined by other components like batteries and temperature. When the voltage or temperature increases, the life of the LED driver will shorten.

It is recommended that the LED driver be operated at a power level that will extend its life and help reduce maintenance time and cost.

6. Efficiency

Efficiency is the most important factor in selecting the LED driver. Since efficiency is expressed as a percentage, the LED driver delivers 90%, which is equivalent to 0.9 efficiencies, and this is the range of constant voltage and current drivers.

If the low ripple is less than 50% or 0.5 can be called inefficiency, for the driver to work in a better efficient way, then it should install more LED lights

7. Temperature And Weather Resistance

As you choose a LED driver, it is very important to consider the environment in which you will be using the LED driver.

The LED driver will do its job effectively in an environment that can be friendly. If the temperatures can either rise or fall than what is supposed to be regulated within the LED driver, then it can cause damage.

Each LED driver has its own IP rating which categorizes into two groups like liquid and solid which can withstand the temperature.

So based on IP rating, there are two numbers, the first number shows solid which can be dust or hard particles, and the second is liquid pressure based on water example rain.

Accordingly, the temperature and weather can be controlled if you choose an effective IP rating.

8. Dimming

Choosing a better-LED driver will also depend on how you choose a better dimmable driver because it will help you change the brightness, there is always specification of the power source, which will determine whether they are dimmable or not.

A better dimmable driver can control the high voltage power supply when it works with the input AC. This will change the voltage and it can also be used to control the dimmable power supply where the output current can also be controlled based on the duty cycle.

9. IP Rating

IP rating can be used to choose the LED driver since can control both liquid and solid particles like water and dust respectively, for example, if you like to go to the place where there is a lot of dust, mud or rains frequently then it is better to use the better IP which can be used to protect your car from getting damage example IP which you can use is IP65 driver where the first digit (6) is solid and the second digit is liquid.

This means that a LED driver can be protected by both dust and water particles that can affect the driver. If you want to protect your car LED driver from water particles like rain, it is better to use IP rating IP67 or IP68 which will protect the LED driver from damage by liquid particles.

Also, these numbers can range from 0 to 8, where each number can be used either liquid or solid to explain what it means, e.g., IP65, 6 (solid) = dustproof and 5 (liquid) = protected against low pressure that allows water to pass through from all directions.

See the table below for more information

IP Rating Codes

No protectionNo protection
Protect against solid particles which are greater than 50mm e.g., handsProtect against water example rain
Protect against solid objects which are greater than 12.5mm e.g., fingersProtect against water droplets which are at an angle of 15 degrees
Protect against solid objects greater than 2.5mm e.g., screwdriverProtect against water spray at angle of 60 degrees
Protect against solid objects greater than 1mm e.g., wireProtected against water at every angle and direction
Protected from dust cause harm, will not interfere with the operation of the equipment from 2 to 8 hoursProtected against water from low pressure from different directions
Dust-tight complete protection against ingress of dustProtected against powerful jets of water and rough seas.
NONEProtected against temporary immersion which is between 1 to 30 minutes at a depth of 3feets
NONEProtection against permanent immersion in water which is more than 30 minutes continuation up to 13feets depth

Final Thought on How To Choose An LED Driver

I hope this article has provided you with the basic information you need when choosing a LED driver. However, I recommend you consult a technician or specialist who can advise you based on the capacity of your LED lights, or you can contact your supplier to get more clarity about the LED drivers you have purchased from them.

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