What Is An LED Driver & Do I need one?

What Is An LED Driver & Do I need one?

Posted by Apex Lighting on 27th Feb 2020

What Is An LED Driver?

Whether it is built right into your bulb or fixture or a separate component, the LED driver is the powerhouse behind your LED lighting system. To ensure that LEDs function properly, the driver converts AC line power (120V or 277V) to the appropriate DC voltage (most commonly 12V DC or 24V DC) or regulates the current (most commonly 350 or 700 milliamps or mA) for your lights. LED light drivers might also include components to make them dimmable.

Types of LED Drivers

There are two main distinctions between electronic and magnetic LED drivers: Constant current vs. Constant voltage. You should pick your driver depending on the electrical requirements of your LED system.

Constant Current drivers fix the current supplied to the light fixture but allows the voltage to vary depending on the load.

Constant Voltage drivers supply a fixed voltage, usually 12VDC or 24VDC, and use a series of resistors or built-in regulators.

Since not all LED drivers are created equally, the quality of your power supply will have a significant impact on the efficiency and lifetime of your LEDs. To make sure that your light has a steady lumen output and no variation, make sure you are using the right kind of driver. Finding the right one depends on the constant voltage or constant current output and the total wattage of your system.

One very important note. No matter which kind of driver you choose, the total wattage of the light fixtures connected to the driver should never exceed its maximum wattage rating.

Special Features

If you want to integrate dimming or other specialized lighting controls like color correction or color-changing controls, occupancy sensors, photocells, remote controls, or automation controls, be sure to verify on the manufacturer’s product data sheet that the driver you plan to use is compatible. Most LED drivers, especially the new electronic ones, should work with these commercially available 0-10V control devices.