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Jul 2021

LED Power Supply - the Brain of LED Lighting Systems

LED Power Supplies

What is an LED?

A Light Emitting Diode (LED) is a synergistic blend of the light source, LED power supplies (also known as LED drivers) thermal management systems and optics. Nevertheless, the true potential of the lighting technology can only be unlocked when the performance metrics of LED power supplies are constantly equalized to the electrical aspects of the LED light source. 

Why Do LEDs Need Power Supply?

LEDs consume a very small amount of energy, as compared to traditional lights. Due to the low voltage DC requirements, they cannot be plugged into the wall socket directly, as the high alternating current can damage them instantly. LEDs need a constant stream of direct current, and this is where the LED power supply becomes inevitable.

An LED power supply is considered the brain of an LED lighting system. It is a power transformer to convert power to a designated voltage or current which is ideal for the luminaire. LED power supplies ensure optimum performance and stability of LED lighting applications.

How Do LED Power Supplies Work?

The LED power supply is an essential component that continually supplies the right voltage and current through an LED circuit. It accurately regulates the power as required by LEDs. Additionally, power supplies act as the interface to integrates sensors and wireless communication modules that enable efficient human-machine interaction for a wide range of lighting applications. 

Types of LED Power Supplies – Internal and External

There are two types of LED power supplies, internal (integrated) and external.

  • Internal (Integrated) : Household bulbs have internal power supplies rather than separate ones as they make the replacement of old incandescent or CFL bulbs easier with no change in the socket or fixture.
  • External: These are ideal for use in both indoor or outdoor commercial signage, cove lighting and street lighting LED applications. External drivers can be replaced safely instead of changing the whole luminaire, saving time and money and without affecting the LED performance.

Key Factors to Consider While Choosing an LED Power Supply

These factors are crucial while choosing the right LED power supply for any lighting application:

  • Constant Current and Constant Voltage: Constant current drivers supply output through which the current is regulated, while constant voltage LED drivers supply voltage output that is stable in magnitude.
  • Environmental Conditions: Factors like indoor or outdoor installation location, ambient temperature, ventilation and the possibility of exposure to dust, rainwater or submersion in water are critical while choosing the LED power supply.
  • Ingress Protection (IP) Rating: Each LED power supply has an ingress protection (IP) rating, marked by the manufacturer based on the size of the solid and exposure to liquid pressure. 
  • Future Requirements Concerning Current and Voltage: LED power supplies are flexible in terms of voltage and current adjustment on the higher side by a margin of 10-15 percent. Although it may cost more, it offers flexibility to cater to increased power requirements in the future.
  • Protection: From a protection point of view, it is vital to choose an option that comes with built-in output over-voltage, over current, over temperature protection and output short circuit protection in case of short LEDs. The LED power supply must have an apt Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV) for surge protection based on whether the application is indoors or outdoors.
  • Dimming Option: LED power supplies should be compatible with any of the following and can be selected based on the application’s requirement: 0-10V analog dimmer, pulse width modulation (PWM), Triode for Alternating Current (TRIAC) dimmers and Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI).  

Innovative Solutions from Blue Rhine

We offer high-quality, reliable LED power supplies from well-known brands like Agilight - Tridonic, FINE POWEREX, MEAN WELL and Wave for indoor as well as outdoor LED projects. Our scalable, future-oriented LED power supply solutions ensure constant current/constant voltage supply to light up your applications with optimum efficiency.  

Major advantages of our LED power supplies include:

  • Overload Protection: Automatic shutdown of the LED control gear when the maximum output current is exceeded. Automatic restart when the output current goes below the limit.
  • Over Temperature Protection: Automatic shutdown of the LED control gear when the temperature limit is exceeded. Automatic restart when the temperature goes below the limit.
  • No-load Operation: The LED control gear is not damaged in the no-load operation as the maximum output voltage can is obtained during that time.

Our LED power supplies comply with worldwide safety regulations for lighting, and most of them are burn-in tested. For large outdoor projects, we offer water and dustproof LED power supplies that can withstand rain and extreme weather conditions effectively.  

Conclusion

Even though there are various power supply choices, they can be curtailed by matching the specifications and functionality of the power supply to the application. It is also crucial to evaluate the design and manufacturing processes to assure that the power supply works accurately as a reliable solution for the life of the lighting system.

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