Selecting the Right LED Driver
Installing LED lighting is a low-cost and energy efficient way to add accent or task lighting anywhere in your home or business. A critical part of installing custom LED lighting is choosing the LED driver that meets your needs. While this may seem like an easy task, it can become a little more complicated than one may expect.
Understanding power supplies begins with reviewing some specifics about LED power supplies. When talking about or searching for LED power supplies, remember that LED power supplies, LED drivers, LED AC/DC adapters and LED transformers are all the same thing and can often be used interchangeably. These essential components transform high voltage AC to low voltage DC to power LED tape light, strip lights, puck lights or other accent/task lighting. The main purpose of an LED driver is to convert 120 volts alternating current (AC) from a wall outlet or residential wiring such as RomexTM to low-voltage direct current (DC) that is needed to power LED lights. By regulating the electrical current, the power supply ensures optimal and safe functionality.
Four Factors to consider when selecting an LED power supply:
- Wattage / Consumption
- Voltage/ Current
- Dimming vs. Non-Dimming
- Indoor or Outdoor (weatherproof)
To select the correct LED power supply for your installation it is important to calculate the required power consumption of the lighting components.
In order to determine the best LED driver for each specific installation, one first needs to calculate power usage/consumption, also known as wattage. Unlike cheaper, lower-end power supplies Armacost Lighting’s pro-grade LED power supplies do not require a 20% de-rating “buffer” or compensation. Simply calculate the wattage needed and select the Armacost power supply that meets the system’s required load. For example, if the LED lighting installation calls for 45-watts of power select a 45-watt LED driver. Determining the proper wattage varies depending on the type of LED lighting being installed, For LED strip or tape lights, use our wattage chart.
For LED puck, landscape and task lighting, simply calculate the total wattage by adding up the usage needs for each item. For example, 6 PureVue puck lights at 3 watts each would be a total of 18 watts This example would use at least a 20-Watt power supply.
When installing or replacing LED lighting installations make sure the power supply output voltage matches the LEDs rated voltages. Verifying the voltage needed will help to make sure your LED lighting runs properly and prevent damage or poor performance. LED lighting products will specify what input voltage needs to be used, but if not refer to the individual product listing, installation instructions or contact us at email@example.com for specific questions regarding voltage.
Large LED tape or strip light installations must take voltage drop into consideration. With LED tape lighting, voltage drop occurs once the installation reaches a certain length or distance from driver. Once this length has been reached, there is not enough voltage to fully power some of the LEDs towards the end of the strip. The voltage drop depends on the LED tape lights’ density and voltage.
Armacost Lighting products generally require either 12 Volts or 24 Volts. Refer to the installation guide provided with your specific products or contact us with any specific questions.
Dimming vs. Non-dimming:
Armacost Lighting’s LED power supplies safely convert 120-volt AC power using high quality, professional grade components that are designed to last. They are offered in both dimming and non-dimming options, as well as 12V and 24V for custom installations. Understanding the difference between dimming and non-dimming power supplies, ultimately comes down to personal preference and if the LED lights in the system allow for dimming. Nearly all Armacost Lighting LED accent and task lights allow for dimming. If having dim-ability via a traditional wall switch is preferred, check out our selection of Universal Dimmable Drivers available in both 12V and 24V. If, conversely, if the system calls for dimming on the DC side of the driver or on/off functionality only select a Standard Driver.
Armacost Lighting’s LED power supplies use integrated microprocessors to optimize performance, prevent hum and eliminate pop-on and pop-off. Because we use professional grade components and designs, our line of drivers have been the preferred choice for professionals and homeowners for over a decade. Both the 12-volt and 24-volt universal LED power supplies are compatible with virtually all 120 volt AC dimmer and lighting controls, including wireless, and standard dimmers. The power supplies will work with both forward phase (leading edge, triac, incandescent) and reverse phase (electronic, ELV, trailing edge) AC dimmers.
Indoor and Outdoor (Weatherproof):
The last, but still very important, piece of the puzzle is to consider the installation environment. LED power supplies operate better and last longer when they are installed in areas for which they are designed. Refer to the installation manual for specs including maximum operating temperature, IP ratings and best practices for placement. Ideally you never want to install an LED driver in a location with no or poor ventilation. Without proper ventilation, the power supply’s components are not able to self-regulate and begin to fail.
When looking for devices that are rated for outdoor use, look at the IP rating noted on the device or in the installation guide. Many of the Armacost Lighting LED drivers are rated IP66, which means they can be installed in either dry, damp or wet (not submerged or direct moisture) locations.
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