LEDs are one of the best ways to decorate your house on the inside and outside. Why? There are many reasons for that, such as they are one of the best lighting solutions. Other than that, they have a compact size and less energy consumption.
Now, whether you are decorating your house for any festive occasion, fitting LED lights in your home fixtures, or replacing the old lights with LEDs, there is one crucial thing to consider, Power.
Unlike many other devices in your house, LEDs are low-power devices that run on low voltage DC power.
So, if you are planning to install LED strips in your house or anywhere else, you need to pay close attention while choosing a LED Power Supply.
How to choose a LED strip light power supply?
Now, you know that it is essential to pay close attention while choosing an LED power supply. But, do you know the factors that you need to keep in mind? Well, if you don’t, no need to worry!
Here we have compiled the 8 most crucial factors that you need to keep in check while choosing a LED strip light Power Supply.
1. Temperature and Weather
Let’s begin with the most basic one, temperature and weather. You need to ensure that when you are using a LED power supply, you need to keep it in ideal environmental conditions. The term ideal environmental conditions here means that the temperature of the place where the power supply is placed should not be too hot or too cold.
For instance, if you place your LED power supply outside in the sun while it is lighting up the lights inside. At some point, the heat from the outside and that produced by the power supply itself will damage it. On the other hand, if you have placed your power supply somewhere pretty cold, it will not let the LED strip light power supply heat properly and work properly, leading to power fluctuation.
- The working temperature of the driver is – 40°— 60°
- Storage temperature is – 40°— 80°
- Humidity is 10-95% RH (the humidity depends on the type of battery if it is waterproof or non-waterproof)
To ensure that your LED power supply stays within prescribed limits, keep a close check on its IP rating while buying. IP stands for ingress protection, a two-digit number indicating protection of LEDs from solids and liquids.
The first digit indicates the level of security that the LED casing provides against hazardous parts such as electrical conductors and solid objects. This number varies from 1-6, 1 being an object or a body part > 50mm and 6 being protected from dust particles.
The second digit is the level of protection that the LED has against the entry of water, going from 1-8, where 1 is protection from a vertical drop or dripping water. And 8 means protection from water at a depth of 1 meter or more for longer durations.
The rating IP67 means that the LED is protected from dust particles and from water if it is immersed in water up to a depth of 1 meter.
Let’s discuss the technical part now. When choosing a power supply, ensure that the voltages of both the LED power supply and the LED strip match appropriately.
For example, if you have an LED of 12V, it is necessary to ensure that the output voltage of the power supply or adapter is also 12V.
Note: 12V light strip can only be powered by a DC12V power supply. 24V can not be used; otherwise, it will damage the strip!
On the other hand, the direct AC voltage of various locations across the world is different. Therefore, it is equally necessary to check the input voltage rating of the power supply for the LED strip. The input rating can either be low-line AC power (90-120VAC) or high-line AC power (200-240VAC).
Based on your location, choose the one that suits you the best.
Other than voltage and current, wattage is also a crucial factor. To ensure that your LED strip gets the required power, ensure that the power supply has enough wattage or power rating.
For example, if you are using three LED strips of 24W each, the overall power required by the strips will be 24 x 3 = 72W. Other than that, you also need to add the additional overhead, which is almost 20%. To calculate the overhead, you need to multiply the total wattage by 1.2.
72 x 1.2 = 86.4 watts
The total wattage of the LED power supply should be over 86.4W. In this case, a 90W power supply would be ideal.
Do this calculation before you go on buying an LED power supply.
4. Dimmable LED Power Supplies
Some LEDs have dimming capabilities. If you want to leverage this feature, you need to have a dimmable LED power supply. And before you ask, yes, there is a dimmable power supply.
PWM Dimming: PWM stands for Pulse Width Modulation Dimming, and it can be applied to any power supply. You can use a wall-mounted dimmer or a remote PWM dimmer for this. The PWM dimmer pulses the light at high frequencies to produce the required dimming effect.
TRIAC Dimming: The type of dimming is attained by using a standard dimmer. However, you need to check if the power supply support TRIAC dimming. This type of power supply varies the AC power to show its dimming effects.
0/1-10V Dimming: 0/1-10V Dimming circuits are used to control the brightness of the light between 1-10. These circuits are attached on the DC side and help regulate the light as per your needs. The basic difference between 0-10 and 1-10V circuits is the direction of the current.
DALI Dimming: DALI is an international standard for lighting communication. In this, each of the LED and its respective LED driver is assigned with a unique address and can be dimmed individually with the help of that address.
DMX 512: DMX is a great lighting control system that you can use to control the dimness, animation, and other lighting characteristics. It has a single data cable to control 512 channels.
Before choosing any of these dimming circuits, check the compatibility of the LED power supply.
The more the efficiency, the less power it will take to light the LED strip lights. This will help you save more power. In the case of LED lights, the efficiency that you have to look for in a power supply is 80%. There are power supplies that can even offer you around 90% efficiency.
To ensure that you buy the best power supply, do check the place where you want to mount it.
For example, if you are mounting the power supply in a stiff area, go for the one that is small in size. Other than that, if you have space for mounting, choose the bigger one if it suits you. A power supply for LED strip comes in various sizes, so choose wisely.
7. Class II or Class 2
Some of you may confuse these two ratings with being the same, but they are not. The class 2 rating power supply is a limited power supply rating. It is limited to 100W and 60V DC. With this, you cannot power many LED strip lights, but if you want to be on the safe side (resistant to fire and electric shock, you can use this. If you have a longer length of LED strip lights, you might need a more powerful LED power supply.
On the other hand, the Class II rating means that input and output cables are double insulated.
The last factor that you can analyze before buying a LED strip light power supply is the brand. There are many brands that make some great power supplies for LED strip lights. You can choose from Philips, OSRAM, Mean Well, Trodonic, and many others.
Why choosing the right LED power supply is necessary?
LEDs are low-power devices that need special equipment for power delivery. Therefore, it is important to check if the LED strip light power supply is ideal in terms of all aspects. If you choose a power supply with the wrong parameters, it can lead to power fluctuation or complete damage to LEDs.
Keep in check factors like the wattage, voltage, current, etc., to keep the power supply for the LED strip up and running for long.
Is a direct power supply is the only way to power the LED strip lights?
No, using a direct power supply is not the only way to power the LED strip lights; you can also use other power sources like a rechargeable battery. Rechargeable DC power batteries come in various variants with voltages of 9V, 12V, and 24V. These are the same voltages offered by the direct supply adapter.
Other than this, the LED strips can also be powered with the help of a solar power supply system. However, you need to ensure that the power generated from the system is controlled as required by the LED strips. You can use a 12V solar panel for this.
LED strip lights are the most efficient and compact lighting systems today. Just like their unique nature, the power requirement for LEDs is also unique. Unlike CFLs and other bulbs, LEDs run on low power. And low power devices are critical to use as they need a constant supply of that low power. If there is any mismatch, the LED may damage completely.
Therefore, if you want to buy a LED power supply, you need to keep a close check on numerous factors that are highlighted and elaborated above. Do keep all of these factors in mind, and if you prefer any other source of power for LEDs, you can refer to the last section of this write-up.