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Basics of how to find the right LED driver for my light source or luminaire

In the blog post, we will help you how you can find the right LED driver for your luminaire or installation. Basically, we can divide the LED drivers into two categories: constant current and constant voltage drivers. But there is a lot more than that. Click the link above to read more.

Do you have a light source or luminaire that needs a new power supply or, more correctly LED driver? In this blog post, we will explain how to find the right power source from our selection.

Many modern light sources work in a way that you can not connect them straight to the mains power (Usually 120V or 230V), this is why you need an LED driver between mains power and your light source, that converts electricity to the correct type for the light source. There are exceptions, such as AC COB LEDs. Therefore, it's essential to have the right power supply that matches your light source. There are four starting points for choosing an LED driver / LED power supply:

1. Your old LED driver has broken down.

2. A new luminaire/installation requires an LED driver,

3. Is your light source operating on constant current (For example, sec. 350mA)?

4. Is your light source operating on constant voltage (Usually sec. 12V or 24V)?

Next, we will go through the instructions for these situations.

Old LED Driver Has Broken Down

Has the LED driver in your luminaire broken down? Does your LED luminaire burn too dimly, do your LEDs flicker, or do you press the switch and your LED luminaire won't turn on at all? In the next steps, you will get all the basic instructions on how you can purchase the right replacement LED driver from our product selection.

Damaged LED Constant Current LED Driver

You can find all the necessary information to find a replacement on the product label of the broken power source. Check the power (W), current (mA), and voltage (V) of the LED driver. The power of the new power source should be the same or higher than your old power source. The current should also be the same if your old power source supplied 350mA to the light source, the new power source should also supply 350mA*. The voltage range should be the same or wider than the old power source to ensure the operation of the light source. For example, if the voltage range of the old power source was 20-30V, a power source operating within a voltage range of 15-35V is also suitable as a replacement.

Afterward, you can use the filters in the LED driver product category or the search bar at the top of our page to easily find the right product.

*It is POSSIBLY also permissible to drive the light source with a lower or higher current, but it is recommended to use the current recommended by the manufacturer, as indicated on the old LED driver, on the light source, or on the datasheet of your luminaire. Running the light source with a lower current will result in dimmer light and uncertain operation, but it is a safer option. Running it with a higher current will provide more light output, but it will reduce the lifespan of the light source. Your light source may also be damaged by excessively high current, which is not desired.

Then, you can use the filters in the power source product category to easily find the right product.

Damaged LED Constant Voltage LED Driver

Finding a replacement for a constant voltage driver is much easier. However, the easiest way to find a replacement is to purchase an LED driver with the same maximum or higher maximum power, so you will have enough power. The output voltage has to be the same as in the old LED driver. If the label on the old LED driver says the output is 24V the new LED drivers output constant voltage also has to be 24V. More information about how to find the right constant voltage LED driver in just a second later in this text.

Still unsure what you should do? You can also take a picture of the broken LED driver and email it to us at lightshop@light.fi, and our customer service will find the replacement product for you.

I Have a New Luminaire or Installation That Requires a new LED driver

Check the electrical values of your luminaire or light source in the datasheet, product information, or product label. The first important thing is to determine whether the light source operates on a constant voltage or constant current. If the label mentions mA on the secondary/output information, for example, 350 mA, it means you need a constant current LED driver. If it mentions 12V or 24V on the secondary/output information, you need a constant voltage LED driver.

LED strips are common constant voltage light sources and for example, LED modules and COB LEDs are common constant current light sources.

Constant Voltage LED drivers

If it's a constant voltage light source, choosing the right power source is straightforward. For example, if you're using a 24V LED strip, you need a 24V LED driver. You just need to know the power rating of the LED driver you need. For example, an aLED KIDEFLEX 1000lm/m LED strip uses 7W/m. If you have a 5-meters of this LED strip, you need a minimum 35W LED driver. Even slightly more is recommended, e.g. 40W. Then, you just need to decide whether you want a dimmable or non-dimmable LED driver. There are different options for dimming, such as DALI and TRIAC. The right dimming method depends on the system you are connecting the LED strips to.

Constant Current LED drivers

If it's a constant current light source, the matter is a bit more complicated. The first thing is if your light source requires, for example, a 350mA current, you need to find an LED driver with a current of 350mA. Note that in some LED drivers, the current is adjustable, for example, with a DIP switch, so you can set it to the right level for your light source. With DIP-switches, you have to take into consideration that the power output or voltage range CAN change when changing the output current. This information will be on the product page or you can ask about this information from us.

After that, you need to determine the voltage range the LED driver must have. This depends on the voltage of your light source. For example, if the light source is labeled as 36V, you need to find a power source with a voltage range that includes 36V, for example, 28-54V. If you don't know the voltage output of your light source, you can calculate it by dividing power by current (you should use amps (A) as the unit with the calculation formula*, not milliamps (mA)).

*Wattage / Amps = Voltage. For example, a light source is driven by 10W and 700mA, which means the voltage of this light source is 14,28V. Calculation example: 10W / 0.7A = 14,28V

Now how about the power of the LED driver? The power of the light source should be written on the package of the luminaire, on the product label, or on the datasheet of the product. If this value is for example 15W, you should get an LED driver with minimum power of 15W but sometimes it is recommended to use only 80-90% of the maximum power of the LED. So, for 15W LED you should get an LED driver with a maximum power of 16-18W.

With all this covered you need to find a match for your needs. Let's use our 10W, 700mA 14.28V example again. You will need an LED driver with a minimum power of 10W, it has to have an output current of 700mA and a voltage range where 14.28V will fit in. And here we have a perfect fit: 16W 700mA 6-23V Constant Current LED Driver

With constant current, you also need to know whether you need a dimmable or non-dimmable driver and what type of dimming it should support.

What Else to Consider?

Size of the LED driver

Finally, you need to ensure that the new LED driver fits into your old or new luminaire. So, measure precisely what size the power source should be to fit into the luminaire housing or through a hole in the ceiling, for example.

Ambient conditions for the LED driver

The IP rating of the power source is also an important consideration. If the luminaire is used outdoors, you'll need a higher IP rating. IP67 is suitable for extreme conditions, such as outdoor and damp areas. For indoor use, you don't need to worry about IP rating as much as you would for outdoor use. IP20 is sufficient for indoor use, except for rooms with a lot of dust or moisture, like bathrooms.

Approvals and Input Voltage

Is the LED light source and driver package going to market in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, or in the USA? Check what approvals you need and then try to find a driver that suits you, or contact us. As we mentioned in the beginning of this text the mains power input voltages are different around the World. 230V is standardized in many places around the World but for example, in the USA the mains power uses a mains voltage of 120V. Before placing an order, check the input voltage range of the desired LED driver. We mainly offer LED drivers with an input voltage range of 220-240V but we also offer some UN-regulated LED drivers with an input voltage range of for example, 110-277V.

Cautions

Remember that changing the LED driver in a luminaire is a task that should only be done by a professional electrician. Even if you find a suitable power source yourself, it's always a good idea to have a professional perform the installation to ensure safety.

Contact Us

Now we have gone through all the basics, we hope this text was helpful for you. Do you still have some questions? Contact our customer service, and we will help you in finding the right driver for your needs (lightshop@light.fi).

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