April 20, 2023
At Flexible Neon, we believe in delivering the highest quality products to our valued customers, which is why we exclusively use Meanwell LED drivers in our lighting solutions. Meanwell is renowned for its exceptional reliability, efficiency, and performance, making it a trusted brand in the industry. By using Meanwell LED drivers, we ensure that our lighting systems operate with maximum efficiency and longevity. These drivers are designed to provide stable and precise voltage regulation, ensuring consistent and flicker-free illumination. Additionally, Meanwell LED drivers are known for their advanced safety features, protecting both the LED lights and the overall electrical system. With Meanwell's proven track record of excellence, we can confidently offer lighting solutions that meet the highest standards of quality, durability, and safety to our valued clients.
As energy laws have gotten stricter, most people know that LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, last a long time and save energy. Few people understand that these high-tech light sources can’t work without an LED driver. A LED driver also known as a transformer or LED power supplies, are like ballasts for fluorescent lights or transformers for low-voltage products such as Bulbs or Flexible Neon. They give LEDs the electricity they need to run and work at their best, although not all products seen are low voltage.
An LED driver controls how much power an LED or a group of LEDs needs. Since light-emitting diodes are low-energy lighting devices with long life and low energy uses, they need a specialised power source.
The main jobs of LED drivers are to provide low voltage and protect LEDs. Each LED can use up to 30mA of current and work at voltages of about 1.5V to 3.5V. Multiple LEDs can be used in series or groups to make home lighting, which may need a total voltage of 12 to 24 V DC. The LED driver turns the AC around to meet the needs and lowers the voltage. This means that the high AC mains voltage, which ranges from 120V to 230V, must be changed into the low DC voltage that is needed.
The LED drivers also protect the LEDs from changes in voltage and current. Even if the mains supply changes, the circuits ensure that the voltage and current going to the LEDs stay in the suitable range for them to work. The protection stops the LEDs from getting too much voltage and current, which would hurt them, or have insufficient current, making them less bright.
When the temperature of an LED changes, so does the forward voltage needs. As it gets hotter, less voltage is needed to move current through the LED, so it uses more power. Thermal runaway is when the temperature goes up out of control and burns out an LED. The power output levels on LED drivers are made to meet the needs of LEDs. The driver’s constant current keeps the temperature stable by responding to changes in the forward voltage.
Transformers for low-voltage lighting products do the same thing that LED drivers do for LEDs. LED lights are low-voltage devices that usually run on 4V, 12V, or 24V (note Flexible Neon only uses 12V and 24V). To work, they need a source of direct current power But because the wall sockets power supplies typically have a much higher Voltage (220V in Australia) and produce alternating current, they are not directly compatible. Since the average voltage of an LED is too low for a regular transformer, special LED drivers are used to convert high-voltage alternating current to low-voltage direct current.
LED drivers also protect against power surges, and changes, which can make temperatures rise and light output go down. LEDs are made to only work within a specific range of amps.
Differences between external and internal LED drivers can be built into lamps (interior), put on the surfaces of light fixtures, or even be paced outside of them (External). Most low-power indoor lights, especially bulbs, have LED drivers built in. This makes the lights cheaper and more attractive. On the other hand, downlights and panel lights usually have LED drivers on the outside.
When using a lot of power, like streetlights, floodlights, stadium lights, and grow lights, external LED drivers are used more and more. This is because the heat inside the lights gets worse as the power goes up.
All of Flexible Neon’s product range are Meanwell drivers which are all exterior to work with all of our products and allow different products to run off the same transformer. This method also allows easier access for maintenance.
Because linear LED drivers are so simple, a resistor, a controlled MOSFET, or an IC may be all needed to make an LED’s constant current. A lot of AC LED, sign, and strip applications use them. Because of this, power supplies can change very easily, and there are now a considerable number of constant voltage power sources, such as 12V and 24V LED drivers. A linear regulator wastes a lot of power, so the light can’t be as bright as it could be with a switching power supply.
High efficiency switching supplies naturally lead to high light efficacy, which is the most important thing for most light applications. Also, switching power supplies flicker less, have a higher power factor, and can handle surges better than AC LEDs.
When we compare these two things, we call each of them a switching power supply. According to UL and CE regulations, the isolated design usually works at 4Vin+2000V and 3750Vac, and the input and output voltages are well separated. Using a highly insulated transformer instead of an inductor as the part that transfers human power makes the system safer. Still, it also makes it less efficient (by 5%) and more expensive (by 50%). Insulation keeps the high voltage from going from the input to the output. On the other hand, low-power built-in designs usually use non-isolated designs.
Because LEDs have unique V-I characteristics, it goes without saying that a constant current source should power them. However, a constant voltage LED driver can be used if a linear regulator or resistor is connected in series with the LED to limit the current. Signs and strip lighting usually use constant voltage LED drivers with 12V, 24V, or even 48V because they are much more efficient than constant current LED drivers, which is the norm for general lighting like bulbs, linear lights, downlights, streetlights, etc. If the total wattage doesn’t exceed the power supply’s limit, the constant voltage solution makes it easier for users to change the amount of light, giving it much flexibility for installation in the field.
In this new time, every light is made to be dim. This is a big subject because there are many ways to dim lights. Let’s talk about each one in turn.
1) 0-10V/1-10V dimming LED Driver
2) PWM dimming LED Driver
3) Triac dimming LED Driver
4) DALI dimming LED Driver
5) DMX dimming LED Driver
6) Other Protocols of LED Driver
Flexible Neon recognises the IP (ingress protection) certification as the only way to classify the degree to which LED drivers are waterproof. The IP code is made up of two numbers. The first number rates the protection against solid objects on a scale from 0 (no protection) to 6 (no entry of dust), and the second number rates the protection against liquids on a scale from 0 (no protection) to 7. (8 and 9) don’t come up very often in the lighting business. LED drivers with IP20 ratings or lower are used inside, while waterproof drivers are used outside. But this doesn’t always happen. For example, some indoor applications use waterproof LED drivers because they can put out much more power than low IP ones without needing an active cooling system, making them last less than IP-rated LED drivers.
Instructions for setting up LED drivers
Would you like LEDs to be less bright? Or do you plan to change how bright it is? Then choose a dimmable driver or power supply. Why? The power sources are easy to tell apart because of how they work. The specifications table also has extra information, like what kinds of dimmer controls can be used with the drivers.
One of the first things to consider is how much voltage your lamp needs. So, if your LED needs 20 volts to work, you should buy a 20-volt driver.
In short, the goal is to ensure that your driver gets the right amount of power. The general rule is that you should do your job within the range of the light.
For a constant-voltage driver, you can also think about the voltage range. But you can measure both voltage and current ranges with a constant-current driver.
Pay attention to how much voltage the proposed LED light will use. So, ensure the LED driver can handle the voltage from the LED. In this way, it is easy to step down to the needed output voltage.
Also, you should think about watts. During this process, make sure to buy a driver with a higher maximum wattage than the light.
The power factor helps determine how much power the driver uses from the electrical network. And the range is usually from -1 to 1. Since this is the case, a power factor of 0.9 or more is the norm. In other words, as the number gets closer to one, the driver works better.
Your LED drivers should meet several different standards. For example, we have UL classes 1 and 2. Use the UL Class 1 for drivers that put out a lot of voltage. The fixture needs to be set up safely for drivers in this group. It can also hold more LEDs, which makes it work more efficiently.
At the level of LEDs, the UL Class 2 drivers don’t need a lot of safety features. It also meets the standards set by UL1310. Even though this class is safer, it can only run a certain number of LEDs at a time.
The IP rating is another way to measure how safe a driver’s cage is and what it can do. If you see IP67, for example, it means that the driver is safe from dust and brief immersion in water.
This part is crucial because it shows how much power the LED driver needs. The value is shown in terms of percentages. So, you could expect it to work between 80% and 85% of the time.
Low voltages of 12 to 24 volts power LEDs with direct current. So, even if your AC voltage is high, between 120 and 277 volts, an LED driver will change the direction of the current. In other words, stepping down from alternating to direct current is helpful. You can even find the right amount of high and low voltage.
LED drivers keep LEDs safe from changes in voltage or current. If the voltage of an LED changes, the current supply may change. Because of this, LED lights’ output is inversely related to how many they have. LEDs are also only supposed to work within a specific range. So, too little or too much current will change how much light comes out or cause the LED to break quickly because it gets too hot.
Overall, LED drivers have two main benefits:
This LED driver only needs a fixed amount of output current and a range of output voltages. Constant current is a specific output current measured in milliamps or amps and has a range of voltages that change depending on how much the LED is being used (its wattage or load).
Constant-voltage LED drivers have a constant output voltage and a maximum output current. The LED module also has a regulated current system that a simple resistor or an internal constant-current driver can power.
They only need a single steady voltage, usually 12 or 24 volts DC.
Theoretically, this LED driver could run halogen or incandescent lights with low voltage. But standard transformers can’t be used with AC LED drivers because they can’t tell when the voltage is low. So, they have transformers that don’t have a minimum load.
With these LED drivers, you can dim your LED lights. It also lets you control the brightness of LEDs with a constant voltage. And it does this by reducing the amount of current that goes to the LED light before it turns on.
With high-quality automotive LED drivers, you can tell the difference between your car’s inside and outside lighting systems in many ways:
LCD backlight LED drivers often use a specific dimming scheme to control the backlight’s brightness.
You can set up your devices with LED drivers to have infrared lighting. It can also be done with the help of a multi-topology constant-current controller.
With RGB LED drivers, you can add an animation or an indicator to your LED arrays with more than one colour. Also, they often work with many standard interfaces.
With the help of LED display drivers, you can control which LED strings use the least and most power. So, these drivers can be used with either a large narrow pixel or a matrix solution for small or mini LED digital signage applications.
To figure out what size LED driver will meet your needs, you need to know the following:
If there are any other technical factors, like the need for precise colour control or the possibility of water exposure, that can affect how the LED drivers work. The LED’s IP rating shows how resistant it is to water; a higher rating means it is more resistant. With an IP rating of 44, the product can be used in kitchens and other places where water might occasionally splash on it. A driver with a high IP rating, like 67, can be used outside. Drivers with an IP rating of 20 should only be used inside, where it’s dry.