LED DriverLED lighting in general, and LED strip lights in particular are a rapidly developing and particularly innovative technology, so certain aspects of it are bound to puzzle people. One of these seems to centre around the topic of LED drivers, so here’s some info that you might find helpful.

As LED strips have voltage and current requirements which are different to the mains power supply (240V AC), they need a separate unit called an LED Driver in order to work properly.

So What Is An LED Driver? 

An LED Driver, sometimes referred to as a transformer or power supply, is a self-contained power supply unit that matches its output to the voltage and current requirements of the device it serves.

Working on a similar basis to the 12-volt transformers in MR16 spotlight systems, the LED Driver takes the mains electricity supply and effectively ‘steps it down’ to the 12-volt DC level that’s compatible with LED strip lights. 

Which LED Driver Do I Need?

Drivers come in many shapes and sizes, and not all will be suitable for your purposes. When choosing a driver you should consider the following:

  • The power outlet you’re using.
  • The wattage of your LED strip lights.

LED Drivers come in two main varieties:

  • Mains Ready, such as the Mean Well HLG-240H 240v-12v Transformer.

As their name suggests, "Plug-and-Play" drivers are designed for quick and easy installation, and require minimal expertise to use. The driver connects to the mains supply via a standard UK 3-pin plug, and to the strip lights through corresponding male and female connectors.

Mains-Ready drivers are designed for more permanent installations and can be wired directly into an existing lighting circuit, usually via a domestic household switch for a fully integrated lighting experience. Those boasting an IP67-rating will also be suitable for use in damp and even wet environments.

As well as the type, you will also have to choose a suitably sized driver. The size of the driver is measured in watts and needs to be matched to the power consumption, or "load" of your LED Strip Lights.

To calculate the load of your strip lights, multiply the wattage per metre by the total number of metres you intend to run off a single driver. This can be expressed as follows:

Wattage per metre x total number of metres = total power consumption (load)

For instance, if you’re using 10 metres of LED strip light that consumes 7.2 watts per metre, the entire load will be 10 x 7.2 = 72 watts. In this particular example a 100 watt driver will be sufficient.

Remember, it is possible to run more than one length of LED strip light off a single driver, however, it’s always best to consult a professional electrician before attempting any mains electrical work.

Should you require any further information with regard to choosing the correct LED Driver, please contact us on 0116 321 4120 or send us an e-mail enquiry to cs@wled.co.uk.

You can also find our full range of LED lighting products on our online store website.