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Choose the Right High-power LED Circuits

April 6, 2017

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The uses of high-power LED circuits include a wide variety of industrial and commercial applications. Street lamps or security lights are examples of energy-intensive items that become more effective and energy efficient with the introduction of high-power LED circuits.  Regulating the power to these applications is necessary because many forces can have a significant effect on them. Some of these include something as simple as the weather.

Managing the flow of power and keeping it constant is critical, which is why most LED arrays use LED controllers or drivers. The question is: how do you determine the best choice for your application?

Deciding on what works best for you is confusing and challenging for a couple of reasons: 1. The LED industry is changing quickly and many small variations that enter the picture add complexity to your choice. 2. Many old-school participants in the industry use old terminology muddying the waters regarding definitions.

Constant Voltage or Constant Current

The first thing you need to know is which type of LED array you need, constant voltage (CV) or constant current (CC). CC is the more efficient of the two. When you're unsure about how much current is required or if your array has a fixed range of current, you may consider CV. Keep in mind that all high-powered LED circuits need to be connected to constant current sources to ensure the voltage stays within acceptable parameters.

These sources include a series of resistors that stabilize the current. The set-up of resistors stops voltage spikes that could cause damage. For even more energy efficiency, you should consider one of the newest generation of LED controllers. These are wireless and programmable CC circuits that offer increased durability, versatility, and affordability.

Length of Service

Always consider array lifespan and incorporate LED controllers that closely match that amount of time. For example, once a LED bulb reaches the 50,000 hours of use milestone you might assume that’s it for this bulb. The truth about LED bulbs is that to date no one can say how long they live. They don’t burn out, but their brightness just slowly begins to fade.

The industry standard says that after about 50,000 hours of service these bulbs shine at about 70% and that is the point where people notice the difference. The idea is to pick LED controllers to match that lifespan and remember drivers last only if the parts inside them last. Temperature is the key factor in the lifetime of these components, especially the electrolytic capacitors which operate like batteries.  The hotter the array runs, the shorter they last.

 

If you have questions about high-power LED components, systems, circuits, temperature control, or energy-saving lighting products, please contact Energy Recovery Products (ERP) by either visiting their website or by calling 805-517-1300. ERP’s representatives will be happy to answer any questions you have.