Electronic LED Lighting Drivers
These drivers are a compact solution for powering LEDs. Typically smaller, lighter and less expensive than magnetic drivers, an electronic LED driver may be preferred for installations where space is at a premium.
Hardwire and plug-in drivers in different wattage ratings are available in both constant current and constant voltage models. To customize your lighting system, look for features in your driver like remote mounting, or specialty lighting controls such as dimming that are compatible with your driver.
Magnetic LED Drivers
Available in both constant current LED and constant voltage models, these magnetic LED drivers come in a variety of wattage ratings.
While a magnetic driver may be bulkier and in some cases more expensive than an electronic driver, they tend to be a more durable and dependable option for powering your LED lighting system.
12-VOLT LED Drivers
The main purpose of an LED driver is to convert AC input voltage to low DC voltage. A 12 Volt LED driver goes a step beyond just voltage input.
It also fixes the output voltage of the power supply to a stable 12 volts, while allowing the wattage load to vary. As LED loads are added, the output voltage remains the same (12 volts) and the output current increases until the driver reaches its maximum load.
Constant voltage drivers are commonly found in commercial applications like architectural signs, where several LEDs are connected together, as well as LED tape lights, strip lights, and puck lights.
24-VOLT LED Drivers
LED light fixtures that need a fixed 24 volts of output voltage but a varying amount of output current require a 24 Volt LED Driver. These constant voltage drivers combine a steady 24V of output with a range of wattages to LED lighting systems like tape lights, strip lights, puck lights, etc.
As you add LEDs to a lighting circuit, the driver will deliver more output current until it reaches its maximum available wattage.
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. Basically, it controls the range of voltages coming from your power supplies.
LED light drivers might also include components to make them dimmable. But regardless of whether you add dimming, the voltage control component is essential.
Types of LED Drivers
There are two main distinctions between electronic and magnetic LED drivers: constant current drivers vs. constant voltage drivers. You should pick your driver depending on the electrical requirements of your LED system.
Constant current LED drivers fix the current supplied to the light fixture but allows the voltage range 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. Otherwise, protection won’t do much good.
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. 0-10V dimming works by varying the voltage from 0 to 10 as needed.