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What is an LED driver and why do you need one?

LEDs cannot function without three essential components: the chipset that emits the light; the driver that regulates power to the light source; and the heat sink that cools the unit. The LED driver is a vital component of the technology as LEDs use the power converted by the driver to generate light. These drivers are very efficient in converting electricity, which is why a 100W LED bulb can replace a 400W metal halide bulb.

What is the difference between constant voltage and constant current drivers?

One of the most important factors to consider is whether the application needs a constant voltage (CV) or constant current (CC) power supply. A CV driver supplies a fixed voltage and is suitable for lighting applications where the number of LED strings and current draw are unknown. In these applications, current control is accomplished by additional components at the LED itself. CC drivers supply a fixed current and are suitable for applications that require constant current directly connected to the LED. This type of driver operates within limited voltage ranges, and it is therefore essential to choose a driver with an appropriate voltage rating. GRE Alpha, a leading designer of solid state LED power supplies, offers various dual mode LED drivers for increased lighting design flexibility.

What are PF and PFC and why are they important?

Power Factor (PF) is the relationship between real and apparent power, and represents the ratio between the actual load (kW) and the apparent load (kVA). Power Factor Correction (PFC) is critical to LED driver selection as LEDs, which have a low PF, draw greater current loads than higher PF loads. Low PF leads to more significant power loss in utility lines and LED drivers must therefore meet PFC standards.

What is the LED driver’s life expectancy?

One of the most important factors to consider is whether the application needs a constant voltage (CV) or constant current (CC) power supply. A CV driver supplies a fixed voltage and is suitable for lighting applications where the number of LED strings and current draw are unknown. In these applications, current control is accomplished by additional components at the LED itself. CC drivers supply a fixed current and are suitable for applications that require constant current directly connected to the LED. This type of driver operates within limited voltage ranges, and it is therefore essential to choose a driver with an appropriate voltage rating. GRE Alpha, a leading designer of solid state LED power supplies, offers various dual mode LED drivers for increased lighting design flexibility.In addition to energy savings, LED lighting systems must also withstand the test of time.  LEDs are known to last significantly longer than traditional lighting systems.  Thus the LED power supply must live up to the same life expectancy of the LED.  Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) is a good indicator of LED driver quality.  Leading LED driver manufacturers, such as Fahold could provide MTBF information of all their products.

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