Introducing LED Drivers

Although upgrading to LED is a smooth process, we’re here to ensure that you feel confident with your knowledge of LED lighting! In this segment, we will be looking at the significance of the LED driver for 12V LED lighting.

Within the past few years, the popularity of LED lighting has soared, with many upgrading to LED due to the reduction of energy usage that they offer.

We’ve all heard the joke:

“How many _____ does it take to change a lightbulb?”

Considering that traditional bulbs only last for around 2,000 hours, its no wonder lightbulbs were used for the comedy value.

In comparison, LED lighting can have a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours, drastically reducing the need to change lightbulbs!

Click here for additional benefits that LED can provide for you.

What is an LED Driver?

Drivers are essentially a regulator of power acting between the LED and the power source. They ensure that there are no significant fluctuations within either the current or the voltage (we’ll expand upon this further down).

Accordingly, the driver protects the LED from harmful increases in temperature, reducing the possibilities of overheating, ensuring that the LED has optimal performance throughout its lifetime.

If that explanation wasn’t succinct enough; you may better understand the role of an LED driver if you acknowledge that drivers are essentially the LED equivalent of a traditional ballast or transformer.

Not the vehicular robots though, although that would be an interesting concept for new product development – watch this space!

Do All LED Lights Require a Driver?

Drivers are necessary with any LED. However, it’s important to note that certain LED bulbs already have an internal driver, such as GU10 spotlights.

Meanwhile, many other 12V LED products such as strip lighting will require the assistance of an external driver to ensure optimal performance.

Your LED lighting should state if it requires an external LED driver or not.

Which Type of Driver Do I Need?

Constant Current

These are used to power LEDs that require a fixed current and a range of output voltages. The output current will be labelled in amps or milliamps, along with a range of voltages that will vary depending on the load (wattage) of the LED. If the voltage changes at any point, the current will remain consistent.

These sorts of drivers are used within arrangements that require different amounts of voltage within the circuit. Uncommon with LED, due to the majority of lights being 12V.

Constant Voltage

Utilised when powering LEDs that require a fixed voltage. In these LEDs, the current (the rate of which the charge flows) is already regulated within the LED module itself. These LEDs require one stable voltage, which tends to be either 12VDC or 24VDC.

You should use these forms of drivers when the required voltage of the LED is specified.

A simple way to tell which driver you require is to see if the LED is rated in milliamps (mA) or volts (V):

Constant Current: Milliamps

Constant Voltage: Volts

Here at BeamLED, we offer LED drivers that are 12VDC constant-voltage drivers, to provide simplicity when pairing up drivers with our range of 12V LED lighting.

Power Factor (λ)

An important aspect of any LED is the ‘Power Factor’ associated with the LED driver, which represents efficiency regarding energy wastage.

This illustrates how much power is converted into usable energy, and is calculated as follows:

Real Power / Apparent Power = Power Factor

Note that Power Factor is also referred to as Reactive Power.

Power Factor

This will result in a figure between 0 and 1, with 1 being the best possible efficiency rating.

Maximum Wattage

Drivers should not be used with an LED that equals or exceeds the driver’s maximum wattage. To ensure that you can always find an adequate solution, we at BeamLED offer multiple drivers which range from 6W to 150W. Wattage will always be clearly stated on the product.

Our Range of LED Drivers

NameWattageWaterproofPower FactorInput Power
Biard 12W 12VDC LED Driver12WNo – IP20>0.512VDC
Biard 18W 12VDC LED Driver18WNo – IP200.912VDC
Biard 30W 12VDC LED Driver30WNo – IP200.912VDC
Biard 60W 12VDC LED Driver60WNo – IP200.912VDC
Biard 6W 12VDC LED Driver6WNo – IP20>0.512VDC
Biard 60W 12VDC Power Supply with Lead For Use With Biard Strip Lights60WNo – IP20>0.712VDC
Biard 100W 12VDC Rainproof Power Supply100WYes – IP540.912VDC
Biard 150W 12VDC Rainproof Power Supply150WYes – IP540.912VDC
Biard 60W 12VDC Rainproof Power Supply60WYes – IP540.912VDC

Final Thoughts

If you wish to browse our range of 12V LED lighting and drivers, visit the website and explore the possibilities that LED can offer. Alternatively,  identify the best-suited LED for you with help from our ‘bulb selector’.

In our next blog instalment, we will be exploring the importance of emergency lighting, so be sure to check that out!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a driver be connected to more than one LED at a time?

Occasionally, but the ability to have multiple connections will be stated on the product. It is usually recommended that a driver should not operate more than a singular LED at a time.

Where should I put my LED driver?

Generally, drivers should be placed in a ventilated space that can be accessed easily. They should also be kept away from moisture unless they are declared waterproof.

Can LED lights be directly connected to the mains?

Some LED’s do have internal drivers, and therefore can be directly connected. It will be clearly stated if this is the case.

Do  drivers operate with dimmable LED?

Only certain drivers and certain LED lights will work effectively with dimmable LED lighting, ensure that you have checked the compatibility of both beforehand.