There are many different applications for LED lights. In order to power those LED lights, you need the proper LED driver. Unfortunately, LED drivers are not a one-size-fits-all solution. You’ll need to choose your LED driver based on a number of different factors. However, one of the most important factors to consider is whether you need a constant current (CC) or a constant voltage (CV) LED driver – or whether you need both.
Constant Current or Constant Voltage
The first thing you need to figure out is whether you need a constant current or a constant voltage LED driver. The following are the main differences between the two:
- Constant Current – These drivers use a variable voltage, which allows them to deliver a constant voltageÊthroughout an electronic circuit. This allows for more control and higher efficiency. CC LED drivers can be used for single bulbs or a series of LEDs. They are often used for office lighting, mood lighting, retail lighting, LED downlights, LED signs and entertainment lighting. The only drawback, if the circuit is broken, then none of the LED lights will work.
- Constant Voltage – These drivers have a set voltage. They can be used to run several LED lights in parallel, such as LED strips or strings. However, the voltage output has to meet the voltage requirement of an entire LED string to work. CV LED drivers are often used for outdoor lighting, street lighting, stage lighting, moving signs, architectural lighting and LED light engines.
It’s worth noting that there are some LED drivers that contain both CV and CC options. These drivers will run as CV during standard operation but will switch to a CC mode if the output current passes its rated current limit. If you need a driver that can handle multiple applications, this type of driver could be your best option.
Other LED Driver Factors to Consider
Once you’ve determined whether you need a CC or CV driver, there are a number of other factors you will need to consider. These include:
- The Output Current – Check the current requirements of the LED lights you’re using. If you’re using a CC driver, it will need to reflect that output.
- The Output Power – The output power is provided in watts. Your LED driver should have the same output power as your LEDs at a minimum. However, choosing a driver with a higher output power will provide extra safety since it means it won’t have to run at full power, which could end up shortening its life span.
- The Output Voltage – If you’re using a CV driver, then it needs to have the same output voltage as your LED’s voltage requirements. If you’re using multiple LEDs, add the voltage requirements together to determine the output voltage your driver needs. If you use a CC driver, make sure the output voltage exceeds the requirements of your LED lights.
- The LED Driver IP Rating – The IP ratings determine how resistant the driver will be to certain elements. If your driver is going to be in an environment where there is water or dust, you should consider an IP65 rated driver. If you need a water-tight driver, look for an IP67 or IP68 driver.
- The LED Driver Enclosure – Enclosures help protect the driver, but open frame drivers can be built into a system.
Keep these factors in mind when choosing an LED driver and be sure to contact us at Energy Recovery Products for more information about our LED products and accessories today.