Mounting requirements should also be carefully considered to ensure compatibility between transformers and lights. You will not achieve brighter lights by pairing a 24-volt DC supply with 12-volt LEDs - in fact, this may damage both power supplies significantly - leading to fire risks as a result of multiple power supplies being used on one LED controller or LED strip. To make sure everything works together as intended it is wise not to combine multiple power supplies for single LED or controller applications.
This post will show you how to select and install an appropriate power supply, including basic troubleshooting steps if there are issues with your LED Power Supply.
1. What to Consider.
With so many LED drivers to choose from, finding the appropriate driver can be challenging. In this guide, we discuss which factors you should take into account before purchasing an LED driver that fits you best.
Why Use LED Power Supplies?
Low-voltage LED strips are commonly used, with voltage options of either 5V or 12V DC. Since most homes use AC 120-277V electricity, you cannot simply plug your strips directly in. Because of this large voltage difference, drivers or power supplies must also be utilized for your LED strips in order to convert high AC voltage into lower DC voltage.
Consider these considerations when selecting a power source for your LED strip lights.
1.1 LED Power Supplies: Constant Voltage or Current?
What Is Constant Voltage Drive? A constant voltage power supply offers a constant direct current output voltage; typically 12VDC. LED light bulbs with constant voltage drivers often specify their required input voltage in their specifications.
Constant voltage supplies are powered by standard wall outlet voltage of 120-277VAC, converted by constant voltage drivers into direct current (VDC). No matter how much current flows through them, their constant voltage remains constant and unchanging.
What Is Constant Current Driver
A constant current supply has an established output current. Drivers use electronic circuitry to maintain constant current throughout LED systems.
There are two amperage ratings of constant current LED drivers:
- 350 milliamps (mA)
- 1 amp
Constant current drivers are an efficient means of powering high-power LEDs, as they offer consistent brightness across an entire series.
Which LED strips should I buy?
LED strips typically run off constant voltage LED drivers and come in two main standard designs.
Constant Voltage Power Supplies without Integrated ICs
Many LED strips are created using Constant Voltage Architecture, which is cost-effective and straightforward, although not very efficient in terms of current regulation or efficiency. Such designs require constant voltage power units.
Constant Current Device with an Integrated IC
This architecture can often be found in high-quality LED strip. This design offers more accurate constant current output while simultaneously reducing voltage drops; an external constant voltage unit may also be necessary.
1.2 Determine LED Strip Specifications
Your power source requirements depend on the specifications of your strip light.
Lightstec series 2835 LED strips light is an example.
LED strip batteries typically use either 24v or 12v voltage as their source of power.
Before selecting your power supply, double-check to ensure the compatibility of your LED strips with its output voltage driver.
Watts per Meter
Next, it is essential that you determine how many watts your strip requires.
If your LED strip consumes at least 14 Watts per meter, you must calculate its wattage consumption. Assuming an 8.5-meter length consumes 14 Watts per meter means it would use up 119 Watts in total based on calculations above.
Select a power supply with at least 20 more watts than the strip you are using, to ensure optimal performance and prevent premature failure. In our example above, this would require at least a 150-watt supply.
Length LED Tape
LED tapes come in reels. When selecting the appropriate power supply for this tape, be mindful of its anticipated length.
Longer reels consume more power; similarly, more SMDs per meter consume even more.
If your strips are lengthy, a powerful driver is necessary.
Calculate Power Consumption
To determine power usage for LED strips, multiply their total length by their Watt/meter consumption rate.
As an example, assume you own a 10-meter 24V strip that consumes 9.6 Watts/meter; by multiplying 9.6W/M by 10m you will end up with 96 Watts.
1.3 Determine Minimum Wattage Of Power Supply
To choose an electric unit, apply the 80 percent rule when making your selection.
Based on this rule, LED strips should only consume 80% of their power source to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Running at or over 80% of its rated power will also maintain ideal temperatures for the strip.
Assuming our example above with 96W LED strip lighting is correct, the power driver for such lights would need to be:
At least 120W is needed. You will require a driver with at least that much power.
1.4 Select an appropriate power supply.
Compatibility between an LED strip and power unit is of utmost importance when pairing them together, with this decision depending on the installation process and project scope being the two major determining factors.
Power adapters are often the more appropriate solution for applications that require lower power.
Install them easily while still achieving optimal performance from your strips.
Make your fixtures appear more visually appealing by concealing power adapters.
LED Power Suppliers
LED power supplies compared to adapters are much more powerful.
These LEDs are the ideal solution for large projects with longer LED reels.
1.5 Other Considerations
Are Dimmable LED Drivers Needed?
A dimmable driver for LED Light is often necessary for proper operation of LED Light fixtures.
Dimmable LED strips allow users to control the brightness, but be sure that your power source is capable of dimming properly before setting this function up.
Dimmable strips come equipped with various power supplies that will complement them perfectly, so be sure to read over its label carefully when shopping for one.
2.Are You Needing LED Strip Lighting Solutions Indoor or Outdoor
If you plan on placing your strips outdoors, they must be protected from weather conditions in order to function optimally. Not only should their power units be shielded but so must their strips.
Waterproofing your power supply provides protection from moisture that could potentially wreak havoc on its components by waterproofing.
Certain indoor applications involving humid environments may necessitate using a waterproof motor driver.
Check Safety Protection
Power supplies for LED strip lights should include safeguards to safeguard against overcurrent, temperature spikes, and short/open circuit risks. A comprehensive protection protocol must cover such concerns.
Safety features in a power supply will allow it to shut off if there are any dangerous or faulty conditions and can help ensure you remain safe if your unit malfunctions. Although they're not mandatory, adding them could prove invaluable should something go amiss.
Install only power supplies with built-in protection features for optimal results.
Check for UL Listing
UL standards are widely recognized for assessing electrical products' safety and quality, providing consumers with peace of mind.
Products that have met this standard are awarded with a UL certificate to confirm compliance with safety and quality requirements. To make sure your unit meets these standards, always verify if it has one before purchasing.
Class 2 drivers adhere to UL1310 standard. This entails contact-safe output without primary safety protection on LED/luminaire products; thus indicating minimal fire risk. Power units used must not exceed 60 Volts dry/wet voltage (both dry/wet), 5 Amps current capacity, or 100 Watts total; these safeguards make these drivers safer; however, they limit how many LEDs a Class 2-driver can manage simultaneously.
UL Class 1 certified drivers differ significantly from UL Class 2 drivers in that they require higher voltage output and require safety precautions in the fixture, yet are more energy-efficient with reduced safety measures.
3.Recommended Brands of Power Supply
Here is a selection of recommended power units. Use the list to find one suitable to power lighting projects.
Mean Well is an industry leader when it comes to electronic power supplies.
Micro Technology reports that it will become the fourth-ranked electrical power supplier by 2021. Their LED driver products have proven extremely popular due to their design and quality.
Tridonic is another top manufacturer of strip light power supplies and lighting solutions, offering solutions for various applications.
Innovative lighting company located in Austria that also provides energy-efficient LED power supplies has won the trust of numerous companies around the globe with its cutting-edge lighting products and efficient power supplies.
Inventronics, is another global leader in lighting solutions. The company specializes in developing reliable, innovative LED lighting products.
LED drivers and power units produced by this company are among the highest-selling products on the market.
Eaglerise began operations in China during the 90s and quickly became one of the leading lighting suppliers.
Through its three R&D centers, LED Lighting Systems continues to deliver global LED lighting and driver solutions.
4. How to Connect Low Voltage LED Strips to Power Unit
Low-voltage LED strips are electrical products. As with any electrical product, when connecting LED strip lights directly to AC 110 or 220 Volts they should use a driver (power supply unit) in order to change from high (12v or 24-volts).
An additional factor to keep in mind when installing electronics is polarity. You have two choices of poles to connect wires from (+) or (-). Be mindful when connecting incorrect polarities as this could damage your device. No need to worry about power adapter polarity though!
Connect a strip to an adapter by simply plugging its male DC connector into its socket.
5. Can I connect multiple LED strips to the same power supply?
Depending on the output of your unit, multiple LED strips may be connected together in parallel as long as their total wattage does not surpass what your supply unit can accommodate.
Connecting multiple reels in parallel may cause voltage fluctuations; by switching them off in series instead, this technique provides more consistency when running continuous rolls.
6. What is the maximum distance I can install an LED tape from its power source?
Voltage drops become more noticeable as SMDs move further from a power source. If you plan to run long cables between the power source and LED strips, copper reduces voltage loss within LED strips.
A gauge chart can help you choose the cable thickness that's best suited to you and LED strip applications.
Read this article for more details: " How to Prevent Voltage Drop across LED Strip".
7. How to Install Your Power Supply
Like most electronics, LED drivers can be susceptible to temperature and moisture extremes. To protect their reliability, install them in an area with sufficient airflow and ventilation.
Installing the fan properly will aid airflow and temperature transfer by improving airflow, and keeping temperatures stable. Doing this will:
Maintain an Ideal Temperature Level
Prevent overheating and ensure optimal performance by following these guidelines to avoid overheating and ensure optimum performance.
Increase service life
Give Your Power Supply some Leeway
For optimal service life, do not exhaust all the available power from your supply unit at one time - aim to use only 80% of its maximum rating as this will prevent running at full power all of the time, which would heat it up faster.
Avoid Excessive Heating Airflow of your power supply can make or break its success or failure, so during installation, it's vital that all drivers receive sufficient airflow - tight spaces may restrict airflow too much, leading to overheating.
Reduce Your Drivers "On" Time
Minimize how long your drivers remain powered on by installing a switch you can flip off to close off their circuit.
8. Troubleshooting Common Power Supply Issues
Discover the Mounting Restrictions of Your Power Supply
All power supplies cannot be installed identically for every project; each power source comes with its own installation requirements that must be strictly observed if you want the best performance out of your device. It's essential that you observe these installation restrictions in order to achieve optimal performance from your device.
Take, for instance, a power unit that is waterproofed as an example. Place waterproofed units facing upward in an area with good ventilation in order to allow heat from usage to escape through their mounting method and dissipate into the air.
Should you disregard this advice, the possibility of power outage increases significantly.
Mounting restrictions for our waterproof power supplies are more flexible. They can be installed upside-down, sideways or even underwater - although direct sunlight, direct exposure to elements outside or standing water should be avoided when possible. Furthermore, weatherproof boxes must be used if being used outdoors.
At its core, every unit relies on proper wiring. When troubleshooting an issue, first check the wiring to make sure there are no errors or exposed wires touching power sources - even experts make mistakes in this field!
As previously discussed, it is also essential that all connections are made in accordance with their polarities. A multimeter can help determine if your wires are connected in an appropriate fashion.
Many power units come equipped with built-in short circuit protection. This feature works by switching on and off whenever there is a short-circuit, usually indicated by burning or smoking wires that come into contact.
Other causes for concern could include installing copper pads without proper protective covers on metal surfaces or solder joints that have become disconnected over time.
Make sure your power unit is configured appropriately to accept voltage input by double-checking its settings for input voltage settings.
Failure to properly set your power supply could result in irreparable damage; long-term use at an incorrect setting can cause irreversible harm.
Some power supplies feature internal switches for setting the input voltage. Use these to configure your driver with the correct voltage source.
Selecting the proper power supply for your project shouldn't be difficult. When connecting low-voltage strip lights to their transformer, some key factors must be kept in mind when making this choice.
Power sources for LED strips can have an enormous effect on their performance and lifespan, providing maximum benefits when coupled with reliable supplies. When it comes to getting maximum performance from LED strips, quality power supplies are vitally important.
Need high-quality LED drivers for your project? Check out the selection at Lightstec. We have been offering LED strip lights suitable for every imaginable application for almost 10 years - as well as adapters to ensure maximum functionality and maximum functionality.