4 Reasons That Proper LED Power Supply Or Driver Can Make Or Break Your LED Lighting Product

LEDs are versatile and can meet a range of lighting needs. Depending on the manufacturer and temperature settings, a LED light strip can either accent space with a soft, warm glow or, create a futuristic, cool environment.

Often, the terms “LED driver” and “LED power supply” can lead to confusion. Although the terms are now used interchangeably, using the wrong type of driver could lead to premature strip failure and safety hazards.

1. A constant current or constant voltage LED power supply is essential to maximizing a LED lights’ lifespan

There are two types of LED power supplies available today: constant-current and constant-voltage. Constant-current LED power supplies to ensure that set current power a Flexible LED strip using resistors within the device Although the names sound similar, a light strip’s specifications should match the LED output type.

For example, a flexible LED strip using the electronic LED drivers at MX LightForce require a constant voltage LED driver. These provide a set voltage output, of 12 or 24 Volts (V).

KV-30W-24V-TDL

2. A strip of lights’ wattage needs will determine the required power supply

The wattage of the total flexible LED strip is the next factor to consider. A set-length flexible LED strip requires X watts (W) to achieve a desired color rendering index (CRI). Additional LED strips will need a larger wattage power supply. For example, LED drivers at MX LightForce have wattage outputs ranging from 25W to 200W. Not having the proper wattage can lead to an insufficient rendering of the strip’s colors, or to burnout within the strip. This increases fire risk as well.

3. The voltage output may be impacted by the dimming mechanism

Part of the allure of flexible LED strips comes from the ability to dim them, However, different dimming mechanisms (i.e. triode for alternating current (TRIAC) and 1-10V dimmable power drivers) can affect total wattage output. So, knowing the wattage needs upfront is essential to selecting the right driver.

4. The ingress protection rating shows the durability of the power supply

The application of flexible LED  strips makes up the final consideration for selecting a LED power supply. Like flexible LED  strips, LED power supplies have an ingress protection (IP) rating that shows the driver’s resistance to solids, liquids, and pressure. The two-digit IP rating reveals its resistance to solids with the first digit, and the second digit identifies its resistance to splashing or jetting of water and pressure when submerged. The level of resistance increases as the numbers climb.

For example, an MX LightForce TRIAC Dimmable driver rated IP 66 indicates dust-tight power driver with protection against jets of water. This means it is ideal for outdoor where splashing and spraying of water are likely. However, it does not protect against complete, continued submersion in 5-inch depths.

Knowing the Strip’s Needs Will Safeguard Your LED Lighting Product

As evidenced by the reasons above, it is imperative to select the appropriate LED power supply for your project. A failure to consider the factors affecting LED power supply demand and output can result in undesired outcomes when using flexible LED  strips. Through understanding: the constant-current or constant-voltage nature of LED power supplies, their wattage, disability and, IP rating, you can match the right power supply to your project. For additional help finding the right power supply for your next project, submit your question at MX LightForce online.