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Understanding LED Drivers and Controllers

May 18, 2017

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If you’ve worked in the lighting industry in an engineering capacity before, then you understand how costly it can be to erect architectural lighting equipment throughout the structure of a theme park, concert stage or on the night-time deck of a cruise ship. The rgb LED controller is the savior. It allows millions of bits (potentially) via randomizer to quickly produce the many colors needed for the event in question.  Because it does this intelligently, the hardest part is simply finding out certain parameters and entering these values on the ERP Power website to obtain the specific parts:

  • AC Input voltage
  • Drive current range
  • Power
  • Dimming option

Drivers and rgb LED controllers are fairly standard devices as LEDs become cost-effective enough to replace other forms of mainstream lighting, which means you can find a wide array of manufacturers that carry them. You will better understand how to pick the right rgb LED Controller for your needs.

Choosing the Correct LED Controller

An LED controller is the unit responsible for regulating the amount of power your LEDs receive. It is important to gauge the forward voltage and how this varies with temperature. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging the internal components. In the absence of a controller, which limits the amount of current the LED can draw, your units may overheat and burn out prematurely if the forward voltage is diminished as the ambient temperature is increased.

Whether you have a single diode, or a string of them connected in series,  find out some details about your LED set-up before searching for the proper rgb LED controller

  • Determine the forward voltage and current, as listed by the manufacturer.
  • Will your set-up run better using alternating current, direct current, or battery power?
  • Do you require a built-in microprocessor for advanced set-ups? What about dimmable properties and pulsing?
  • LEDs run using either constant current drivers or constant voltage drivers. The one you need will be listed by the manufacturer either on the website or the actual device.

As pertaining to the importance of the features listed above, the drive current determines how much light you can expect from the LED. Higher drive equals greater light output. This is assuming, of course, that your LED is rated to handle it. Excess heat cannot be dumped efficiently, and will build up and burn out the apparatus. Have your in-house engineer or contractor correlate the amount of light you need for an event with the rgb LED controller that will suit your LEDs.

Additionally, you’ll need to find the maximum number of LEDs that a particular driver can handle. The two numbers you need for this are the forward voltage and the output voltage (of the LED itself). Then, simply divide the output voltage by the forward voltage for the number of LEDs that a particular controller can handle.

If you need more information on high-power LED products and accessories, feel free to contact us at Energy Recovery Products. We are experts in the design of smart and efficient LED drivers and controllers, and manufacture all manner of LED-based power electronics. Check out our comprehensive website at erp-power.com, and give us a call at 805-517-1300.