If you need help with choosing which LED driver to use, here are 5 key factors to consider:
1. Type of Output - Constant Voltage or Constant Current
Constant voltage is usually required for LED strip tape; it will require either a 12V or 24V DC supply. Constant current is usually required for high powered LED ground lights and miniature downlights. Constant current LED drivers usually have a 350mA or 700mA output.
Be careful when selecting constant current LED drivers as you also have to ensure that forward voltage of the LED lights is within the voltage output range of the LED driver.
Constant voltage lights are wired in parallel and constant current lights are wired in series. An example of series wiring is shown in the diagram below:
The wattage rating of the LED driver needs to be higher than the total wattage of the LED lights that are connected to it. If you have 1 metre of LED tape that is 14.4 watts per metre then you need to select an LED driver that is capable of carrying the load. The closest LED driver for this example would usually be 20 watt.
This can be shown in our table of power below:
All you have to do is find out the wattage per metre of the LED tape, then multiply it by the length. You can run multiple LED tapes from one LED driver, just repeat the formula and add them all up together.
Also ensure you consider any ‘volt drop’ issues. 12V 60 LED (14.4W) per metre LED tapes have a maximum of 5 metres per single run. Compared to 24V LED tapes which can incorporate runs of up to 10 metres.
We also have constant current LED tape that allows runs of up to 20 metres in one continuous single run without ‘volt drop’ occurring. There are many ways of getting around ‘volt drop’ issues such as wiring each run directly to the LED driver or by using amplifiers or receivers.
3. Output Voltage or Current
If you’re powering LED tape it will almost certainly require a 12V or 24V DC supply. Make sure your LED driver matches it.
If its constant current, again make sure this also matches the current requirement of the LED light. With 350mA or 700mA being the most common currents.
4. Dimmable or Non Dimmable
If you want to dim LED tape, we offer a selection of TRIAC (mains voltage) dimmable LED drivers. These drivers can be dimmed from a conventional LED compatible dimmer switch such as the Varilight V-Pro or Varilight V-COM series.
They also work with many home automation systems such as Lutron, Rako, Lightwave RF and many more.
This table of power below shows our dimmable LED driver recommendations:
If you’ve got RGB colour changing or RGBW colour changing with white and want to dim it, you need a non-dimmable LED driver. This is because the controller will do the dimming as well as the colour changing and effects.
5. IP Rating
If you’re installation is going inside a wet or moist area you’ll need an IP rated LED driver. An IP rating is the measure of its resistance to dust and water. An IP67 rated LED driver is fully water and dust resistant.
Most LED downlights we sell are supplied with an LED driver but some lights like LED strip tape require an additional LED driver. The LED drivers are sold separately as the LED strip tape can be cut. This means the wattage requirement is different allowing for different LED drivers to be used.
What is an LED driver?
An LED driver has a mains voltage 230V AC (alternating current) input and a DC (direct current) output. The output current of a constant voltage LED driver is usually 12V or 24V DC.
Is an LED driver the same as an LED transformer or LED power supply?
Yes these are just different words to describe the same thing. The term LED driver is more accurate though as transformers can have an AC output and be used with halogen lamps. Power supplies can be used in more industrial applications like in electrical control panels.