LED Basics: How to Pick the Perfect LED Driver

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Traditional lighting fixtures, such as incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, were replaced by LEDs or light-emitting diodes. These bulbs guarantee higher illumination, are resistant to breakage, are flexible (due to their smaller size), and have longer service lives and are energy-efficient.

However, picking LED light fixtures for residential or commercial needs is only part of the equation. It needs the correct type of power supply or driver to realize its full potential. An LED system’s energy requirement must match an area’s power supply. LED bulbs can consume more energy without the proper driver.

Since drivers are principal components of any lighting system, selecting the wrong module can lead to electrical fires or burnt-out bulbs. Also, make sure to check the required input AC voltage before purchasing an LED driver. Here are some pointers for picking the perfect LED driver:

Test the power factor

Testing a driver’s power factor helps you verify the actual load it distributes in the network. This is measured between -1 and 1, and the best LED drivers have a 0.9 or 1 power factor rating. Avoid drivers that have low power ratings or no ratings at all. Shop for other products instead.

Assess the driver’s location

Before buying an LED driver, assess the installation’s location. Location is a critical factor because of its input voltage. Can the driver handle the energy passing through it and adjust the power output for the lighting system to work correctly? Residential homes are supplied with 120 volts, while commercial and industrial areas are supplied with 277 volts.

Home installations need a certified residential electrician. Salt Lake City, for example, requires residential contractors to have an electrician inspect the voltage requirement before installation. Although these modern lighting systems can handle different input voltages, it’s better to have a professional check them first.

Examine the required voltage

Examining an LED bulb or system’s required voltage is important because drivers have different power requirements: 5, 12, and 24 DC volts. They follow a bulbs specific DC voltage to operate safely. Most of the LED bulbs on the market aren’t dimmable, but there are available lighting dimmers for LED systems. Always check the required voltage because they need a steady power supply.

Check the lighting’s environment

Another critical factor when installing an LED driver is the lighting environment. Bulbs and their drivers operate under pre-defined temperature ranges, which are between -4 degrees to 176 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s always ideal to consider the location’s temperature because it will affect the lighting system’s service life and efficiency.

Consider the wattage requirements

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Understanding an LED system’s wattage requirement is vital because it will help you purchase the correct driver. Drivers with higher maximum wattage ratings are ideal. However, you must never pair an LED bulb with a higher wattage rating than its driver or LED systems that use less than half of the power supply’s wattage.

Picking the right LED driver shouldn’t be difficult. Take note of these basic pointers when shopping for a new one. When in doubt, always seek expert advice to save time and money.

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