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.
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.