LED Drivers: Constant Current vs. Constant Voltage

LEDs are electronic circuit components that convert electrical energy into light with high efficiency. The LED driver is the power source that supplies and regulates power for the safe and convenient operation of LEDs. Constant current and constant voltage drives are both used to power LED light sources.

Friday, July 24, 2020 - 07:20

LEDs are electronic circuit components that convert electrical energy into light with high efficiency. The LED driver is the power source that supplies and regulates power for the safe and convenient operation of LEDs. Constant current and constant voltage drives are both used to power LED light sources.

High current makes the LEDs brighter. However, if the current on the LEDs is not fixed, it can draw current above the limit values ​​specified by the manufacturer. Operating the LEDs above the maximum driving current significantly reduces their lifetime due to the increased temperature and causes them to fail within a short time.

Constant current driver is the best way to power the LEDs consistently. Constant current LED drivers are designed to deliver a constant output current within a specified output voltage range. Such drives adjust the voltage throughout the circuit and to keep the current on each LED constant. The voltage range and current value of the constant current LED drivers are located on the driver. For example; A driver marked 12-18 V, 350 mA can power the LED load in the range of 4.2-6.3 W.

Constant voltage LED drivers are designed to operate at a single, constant output voltage. The most commonly used constant voltage sources are 12 V and 24 V. The constant voltage LED driver takes the mains voltage (220 V AC) and converts it to DC, reducing it to the appropriate low voltage value for the LEDs. The drive will always remain at constant voltage, no matter how much current load. The maximum current that constant voltage drives can reach is determined by the design parameters and this value is written on the driver. For example; A constant voltage source marked 12 V, 5 A can supply a load with a maximum power of 60 W.

In summary; constant current LED driver can output constant current in a certain voltage range. The constant voltage LED driver can provide constant voltage up to a certain current value.

Constant current LED driver is generally used in industrial LED lighting applications. Constant voltage LED driver is generally preferred for home users such as LED strip and LED modules.

Emre Yılmaz
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Emre Yılmaz, the founder of Lighting Portal, graduated from Atılım University Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering in 2013, and since then has been involved in the management and product development activities of state-supported projects in the lighting industry. He completed his master's degree at Gazi University Industrial Design Engineering Department and continues his education in the doctorate program of the same department.

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