LED Drivers 101 – Replacing the LED Driver in an LED Fixture

While the market for LED drivers has been heating up, LED lighting fixtures have actually been installed since the early 2000’s. Why has it taken so long to catch on? Thanks to the long life cycle of LED technology, little focus had been placed on the replacement driver market. As LED fixtures mature and go past their warranty period and components begin to fail, there is a dilemma – do we replace the fixture entirely or tend to the components that have failed? A big factor in this decision making process is how confident the installer is in selecting the correct LED driver for the fixture.

Types of LED Drivers

The two main types of LED drivers are Constant Voltage and Constant Current. Constant Voltage Drivers are typically used in outdoor fixtures and signs. These LED drivers provide a constant DC voltage output, typically in the 12V to 24V range. The LED module is connected parallel, designed to run at a specified voltage. With the aid of a current regulator, the current to the LED is controlled. Constant Voltage LED drivers are the ideal choice for signs due to their ability to connect a wide range of modules in parallel.

Constant Current LED Drivers utilize a different technology that ensures the current sent to the LED module is constant and within a specified voltage range. The driver may power just a single LED module or multiple LED modules within a given fixture. Driver Output Ratings can include output current as well as voltage range. Currents can be rated anywhere from 350mA to 1000-1400mA.

Tunable LED drivers have made newer LED fixtures even more efficient. Tunable LED drivers are Constant Current LED drivers that have been finely tuned to provide a precise current  to the LED module that is less than what the driver is rated for. This is done as a way to adjust light levels while minimizing heat loss.

Keystone SpeedDial Programmable LED Driver

What Information is Needed to Replace an LED Driver?

If you have a driver that goes bad, you will need to know the following about your defective driver:

  • What type of fixture is the driver being replaced? While you do not necessarily need the exact dimensions of the driver, it is important to note the type of fixture where the driver was installed. Drivers found in Outdoor fixtures, Linear Fixtures, Track, and Sign Lighting generally have the same driver size and form factor. Take a measurement within the fixture to see what the maximum size of the replacement driver would be.
  • Is the driver Constant Voltage or Constant Current? As mentioned Constant Voltage drivers are most often used in outdoor fixtures and sign lighting. Constant Current drivers are found in everything from outdoor fixtures to general indoor and architectural lighting. If you are unsure, keep in mind Constant Current lists voltage as a range (ie. 14-30V) and a specific output current. Constant Voltage drivers list a specific voltage like 12V or 24V.
  • What are the Output specifications? The three specifications you will need to look for is the Voltage Range (V), Max Power (W) and Current (mA). Output Voltage refers to the operable voltage range output of the LED Driver. This may be listed on as max voltage. Max Power (W) refers to the available amount of Watts, not necessarily what is used by the LED modules within the fixture. When looking at Current (mA), make sure the LED Drivers mA is equivalent to or up to 10% less than the mA rating on the fixture/LED module. Any less than that and there is a risk of a detectable difference in light levels for the fixture.
  • Are there any control requirements? Many LED drivers are equipped with 0-10V dimming. Note that an LED dimming driver can always be used in non-dimming applications as well.

Do you have an LED Driver that needs to be replaced? Head on over to our LED Replacement Driver Questionnaire and fill it out as best as you can, and we will message you back with a replacement option.

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6 Responses to “LED Drivers 101 – Replacing the LED Driver in an LED Fixture”

  1. CherylNovember 21, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    I have a Model #DVR45 M Volt A Driver and want to replace it with a dimmable driver, just need to know a replacement.

  2. Mr R.K. TinsleyDecember 13, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    I am attempting to identify replacements for the following LED Driver :

    Model (4-7)x1W
    Input : AC85-265V 50/60 Hz
    Output : DC 12-28V 300mA +_ 5%
    Ta : 40deg C(Max) Tc : 75 deg C

    This driver is used to power a 6W LED Lighting Unit.
    I would appreciate it if you could assist.

    Many Thanks
    R.K. Tinsley

  3. Ralph BradshawMarch 2, 2018 at 12:14 pm #

    Hello and Help!

    I bought a pendant light from China that came with no instructions/specs but did include a light bulb in a box. After installing the fixture and wiring it to a 120 volt outlet box, I looked at the bulb box. Most of the printing was in Chinese, but two things stood out in English: Big letters saying “LED” and “input voltage-220V”. This doesn’t look or feel like a plug-and-play LED replacement type bulb. It stopped working the second day. Does this mean there’s a driver somewhere in this fixture that will only work with a 220V power supply that I’ll have to replace somehow with a 120V driver? There’s a Phillips plug-and-play bulb in it now, but it flickers, some times for several minutes, when the fixture is turned. It’s all wired into two three-way switches one of which is a dimmer, but we haven’t even tried using the dimming. What are our options, please?



  4. Adrian HobbsApril 4, 2018 at 3:42 am #

    One of our kitchen LED oyster lights has failed (so much for the hundreds of thousands of hours life – not much use if they have to be replaced after 4,000 hrs because the driver failed).

    I have isolated the LED Driver as the culprit by swapping components around with the another and identical light. Given the cost and supposed life of the LEDs, I figured I’d just replace the driver.

    The local lighting shops were totally useless in finding replacements. So I need to do a detective job and get them on-line – they seem quite cheap, but the bewildering choice is hard to understand.

    The figures on the device are:-
    INPUT AC85V-AV265V 50Hz/60Hz PF≤0.6
    OUTPUT n=92% DC=24-90V 280mA±5% (8-25)x1W

    The LED circular strips in the lights say the following:- (part numbers?)
    5730-251-18W (outer ring)
    5730-88-5W (inner ring)
    and they seem to be wired in series – which I guess means 23W total

    Some of the figures are obvious, and explained on various website Q&A pages – but others are not – so what are they all? and what is the significance of variations in the values? Which values are important? what does “(8-25)x1W” mean? what “AV265V? a misprint perhaps for ‘AC265V’?

    From my reading they look like ‘constant current’ devices, but I can’t get any from eBay that are the same values. There are a few on AliExpress that come close, but I am not sure if the different values are acceptable or significant – for example 300mA, or DC=24-48V.

    Very confusing – and is it possible to select a higher rated driver, to reduce the likelihood of future failure. I assume as with most consumer goods the cheapest most marginal component that worked was selected in the original design.

    A site that explains all this and sounds like they know what they are talking about would get my vote.

  5. Brian CullenJuly 22, 2018 at 2:04 pm #

    I am trying to trouble shoot gas station overhead led lights .How do I test if it’s the driver or the less or do I have to change both ?

  6. Sagor khanJanuary 29, 2019 at 5:56 am #

    led driver model 8-18w kivabe bujbo valo na kharap…

    bujte parsina je light o jole na..Naki Led driver nosto…

    ar led driver line dile eta ke check korar somoy dui mathar tar ta dui ta line pay…

    kintu line paowar kotha ekta..tahole duto line pelo keno…ekt help korun

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