What are LED drivers and what are the available options?

LED lighting in companies and homes is increasingly being opted for. Not abnormal given the durable nature of LED lamps. Now, one of the reasons these lamps are durable is because of the LED driver. This is a specific part of LED lighting that is necessary for the proper functioning of the lamps. In this blog we would like to give more information about the importance of these drivers and what possibilities exist.

What are LED drivers?

LED lamps operate on low voltage and need the help of a driver to convert the supplied mains voltage to the correct low voltage in order to work. In addition, LED lamps are also more sensitive to fluctuations in the power network, so that in such circumstances they work less well or can even break without the intervention of a driver. LED drivers therefore offer some major advantages such as a longer life for your LED lighting and an increased light output of the lamps.

Types of LED drivers

LED lighting can be controlled by two types of drivers, namely a LED driver with a constant current (DC driver) or with a constant voltage (AC driver):

  • Constant current LED drivers

These drivers keep the amperage of the lighting system constant and allow the voltage to differ depending on the load of the LED lamp. One or a series of luminaires can then be connected in series per driver. The DC driver therefore supplies constant current which ensures that connected LED lamps are supplied with a constant current of 12 volts. This driver is suitable for all types of LED lamps.

  • Constant voltage LED drivers

These LED drivers require a voltage at which the load of the LED lamp is added parallel to the output of the driver so that a maximum output current can be achieved. The AC driver uses AC voltage, so it does not deliver exactly 12 volts, but just a little more or less. This means that you can only use this driver for LED lamps that can tolerate such an AC voltage.

In addition to these types of LED drivers, there is also a difference between internal and external LED drivers. In case of an internal driver, it is in the same housing together with the LED chip. This is often found, for example, with lighting for homes because they make replacement easier. 

External LED drivers are housed in a separate housing and are often used for outdoor lighting, roadside lighting or commercial lighting. Here, too, the intention is to make replacement easier, because malfunction of such types of lighting is often due to a malfunction of the driver. Instead of dismantling the entire lighting, you can simply replace the external driver.

Aplis 80 directional low XTM exploded view.6

How do you choose the right driver?

There are some important factors involved in choosing the right LED driver, namely:

  •     The type of driver required for your LED lighting: AC driver or CD driver
  •     The correct format
  •     The IP encryption on the housing. It shows to what extent the driver's cover is resistant to dust, moisture or other substances
  •     Power of the driver
  •     Possibility to dim lighting
  •     Maximum wattage
  •     Compliance with international safety regulations

A few points of interest

Finally, we have some important points for you to take in account when you consider switching to LED lighting.

  • IP encryption

As mentioned earlier, the IP encryption indicates whether the driver enclosure can withstand external factors such as moisture and dust. It also tells you whether the LED lighting is suitable for outdoor use. If you are looking for outdoor lighting with LED lamps, you should always take this into account.

  • Multiple LED lamps on one driver

You can connect multiple LED lamps to one driver, provided you think about the maximum wattage the driver can handle. The rule you should follow is to use a maximum of 80% of the total wattage. This way the driver works optimally and sustainably.

Would you like to know more about LED lighting or are you curious about the possibilities for your office or house? Then don't hesitate to contact us! We are happy to assist you with our advice and expertise.

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