LED Driver Definition

Nowadays, everyone is familiar with light emitting diodes or commonly known as LEDs. These light sources are commonly associated with longer life spans and energy efficiency. Considering that these low-voltage light sources are here to stay, understanding their drivers becomes a necessary part of its function.

So, what is an LED driver? It is an electrical device that delivers power to a string of LEDs in a regulated manner. The driver also prevents the LEDs from having a premature failure by controlling thermal runaway, which is a phenomenon wherein with an increase in the temperature of an operating LED, the forward voltage VF (i.e. the voltage the LED requires to conduct electricity and light up) decreases thereby increasing the current.

The maximum number of LEDs that one can run from a driver is arrived at by dividing the maximum output voltage of the driver by the forward voltage of the LEDs. Now the configuration of LED strings whether they will be connected in series or in parallel or partially in series and partially in parallel is determined by the configuration and application of the fixture. The decay element i.e. the life of the capacitor in the LC filter circuit of the output side of the driver actually defines the life of the driver and hence the whole LED system. Hence it’s important to choose capacitor with a very good life.

An LED driver is a self-contained power supply that controls the amount of current and voltage supplied to an LED light. An LED driver responds to the changing needs of the LED, or LED circuit, by providing a constant quantity of power to the LED chip.

LED drivers may offer dimming by means of pulse width modulation circuits and may have more than one channel for separate control of different LEDs or LED arrays.

The power level of the LED is maintained constant by the LED driver as the electrical properties change throughout the temperature increases and decreases seen by the LED or LEDs. Without the proper driver, the LED may become too hot and unstable, therefore causing poor performance or failure.

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