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LED lighting guide: Optimizing lighting efficiency with LED drivers

LED lighting guide: Optimizing lighting efficiency with LED drivers

By BizLED Bureau

Nov 28, 2016: To ensure optimum energy efficiency, reliability, and durability with LED lights, they need the assistance of dedicated control gear. We will take on the relatively important ones for efficient LED lighting.

LED drivers

LED drivers play a pivotal role in the overall design of lighting as they regulate the power output. Despite of possible power variations, main task of an LED driver is a constant light output through a steady power supply to the LEDs.

Users can choose between different power supply options from simple to classy to achieve maximum energy efficiency. Users also gain a variety of adjustable soft start or emergency light functions or configuration options. LEDs are considered ideal for applications using time-based switching, occupancy sensors, or switched daylight harvesting, which turns off half of the lights when a certain ambient light level is detected. The LED driver determines the quality of control performance of LED lights.

Drivers are key in increasing market growth for LEDs in multiple ways. The overall efficiency improves as innovations in design are allowing products to do more with minimal. Beating the misconception about a ?universal? LED driver, every application requires a unique driver design, and performance of LED is directly proportional to the quality of the driver.

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Few important factors determines the type of LED driver required. It includes the type and quality of LEDs being installed, to be placed individually or in series strings, size limitations, and the main design goal of the installation.

LED drivers are available in two versions, constant current and constant voltage, with a number of variations. In simple words, constant current drivers are applied when one driver per light fitting is required. Whatever the number of LEDs in the fixture , the current will remain the same. When user requires flexibility with the number of luminaires connected to a single sourced power supply constant voltage drivers are best for applications. As more lamps are added, the current will increase organically to its maximum limit.

LED drivers have the ability to control voltage within each light to provide diverse lighting levels in different areas of the showroom, while keeping the overall appearance of the lighting consistent.

Dimming

Another important lighting concept is the dimming function which impacts the overall design of LEDs. With the dimming function, LEDs can be used to highlight certain features or create a certain ambience. In addition, these drivers allow for further energy savings to be achieved. Reason being the human eye struggles to distinguish between LED lights that are on at 90% and those that are on at 100% when functional in an office premise.

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LEDs can be dimmed between 5% to 100%, or even lower, and are smartly controlled by a phase dimmer switch known as Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI) controller. Also known as 0-10V controller, DALI is globally recognised as the leading intelligent dimming protocol used in LEDs. DALI drivers let users program their LED installations using digital signals to send control information to each light. Users then can set different lighting and ambient levels for displays to maximize their investment.

A relatively less costly and more basic dimming solution to the DALI digital protocol is analog 0-10V drivers . They are easily programmable with a simple passive controller or a fixed or variable resistor. These controls use voltage input to manage the intensity of the light. For example, lights would be on at 100% at 10 V. At 5 V, lights would be powered at 50%. And at 0 V, lights would be off.

Triac (leading edge) and trailing edge are the two main dimming protocols typically use a phase control dimmer switch. Generating an undesirable amount of electromagnetic interference (EMI), it is the cheapest and most common method of dimming. Trailing edge dimming is a little expensive than TRIAC but produces much less EMI.

LED lighting offers a better, brighter quality of light. With the correct choice of driver, it also can create a highly adaptable and flexible lit environment with an array of color temperatures and profiles. In modern times, an expert lighting consultant is as important as a good builder.

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