How to choose an LED driver

This step by step guide covers how to choose an LED driver that is suitable for your LED lighting application. For information or assistance with your LED lighting project, contact us!

Here are the steps to determine the best LED driver for you.

1)      Decide if you need a constant current or constant voltage LED driver

  • If you are designing an LED fixture, or looking for a replacement driver for an existing LED fixture, you likely need a constant current LED driver. As constant current drivers require careful calculations to ensure safety and functionality, please consult an electrician or lighting professional. To source a safe replacement driver, please contact us here.
  • If you are installing low voltage (12V or 24V etc.) LED products such as LED strips and LED modules, you will need a constant voltage LED driver. The following steps cover how to select the best constant voltage LED driver for you.

 2)      Identify the Input Voltage of the LED product

Check on the LED product or its packaging for information regarding the input voltage of the LED product. It is likely 12V or 24V. You will need an LED driver that provides that value as the driver output voltage.

For this example, our LED product is an LED strip. We have identified on the product that it uses a 12V input voltage.

3)      Identify the Power Consumption of the LED product

Find the total power consumption in watts of the LED product by checking the LED product or its packaging. You may need to do some simple calculations to determine the total power consumption.

For example, if our LED strip consumes 3 watts per foot and we have 20 feet of the strip, the total power consumption would be 60 watts.

4)      Determine what type of LED Driver you may need

If your LED product is dimmable, you may wish to select a driver that is compatible with dimmers. Not all LED products and LED drivers are compatible with dimmers. As a general rule, if the LED product makes no mention of being dimmable, it likely is not dimmable.

There are various types of drivers available on the market. Basic plug-in low voltage drivers are non-dimmable, but are cost effective, and come with a power plug to directly connect to a wall socket. Magnetic low voltage drivers are dimmable with low voltage magnetic dimmers only, and are space efficient because the electrical connections can be made inside the driver, but are heavy and require hardwiring to the main power. Electronic low voltage drivers are sometimes dimmable with a wide variety of dimmers, but may require the electrical connections to be completed in a large junction box, making them potentially less space efficient.   

5)      Find a driver that matches the Input Voltage, Power Consumption, and Driver Type

Because we do not need to dim the LED strip for our application and it is indoors, we will opt to use a plug-in driver. We would need a driver that has an output voltage of 12V, and a power of more than 60W. During the voltage conversion within the LED driver, unavoidable inefficiencies cause some power to be lost. For this reason, the LED driver we choose should provide a power of at least 20-25% higher than what we have calculated we need. This will ensure the LED product does not fail due to insufficient power. Therefore, while there is a 60W 12V plug-in driver available from Arani, we would opt to use the 96W version instead. 

The correct LED driver for this LED lighting application would be DR-12V-96W. Other LED drivers can be found here.

To contact a lighting professional regarding an LED lighting project, click here.