Your Guide to Different LED Power Supply Types
Having the proper lighting in your business can make a world of difference. People tend to perceive poorly lit spaces as being dirty or uncomfortable, while overly bright lighting can overwhelm the senses.
LED lighting provides many options for both overall room lighting and showcasing specific displays or features. You can choose from several types of fixtures, colors, brightness levels, and installations that best suit your needs. Many businesses and professional installers choose LED strip lighting because of its flexibility.
If you’re considering adding LED lighting to your space, you’ll need to make sure you choose the right LED power supply to support your system. With several types of power supplies available, learning about their features can help you make the right decision when determining which to purchase.
Why Should You Choose LED Lighting?
LED lighting has many advantages over other lighting options. You’ll get the same light output but use far less electricity when you choose LED lights. This can provide substantial savings for businesses, especially when lights must be on for extended periods of time. In addition, LED lights last a lot longer than other types of lighting fixtures, so you won’t have to spend money to replace them nearly as often.
Businesses enjoy other benefits as well. LED fixtures provide a better atmosphere for office workers. Customers in retail or wholesale establishments who can see products more clearly often spend more time shopping and buy more goods.
LED lighting offers several more advantages:
- LEDs are safer because they run cooler than other choices, extending the life of the fixtures and allowing more efficiency in heating and cooling systems.
- LED lights don’t use mercury, benefitting the environment.
- You get instant, flicker-free light with LED because they don’t need time to warm up.
- Research shows that LED products don’t attract as many insects.
- Most LED fixtures are lightweight.
- LED technology offers color-changing effects at the press of a button.
- Smartphones and tablets can control many LED products.
- LED strip lights are light, flexible, and nearly invisible in certain applications, meaning you’ll get light without the need for a noticeable fixture. This is particularly useful for under-cabinet and over-cabinet spaces, commercial displays, and any areas that don’t have suitable fixture placements.
What Kind of Current Do LED Lights Use?
In the U.S., the standard electrical wiring found in most homes and businesses conducts 120-240 volts of alternating current, but LED lights need a lower voltage of direct current. An LED power supply converts the grid's alternating current to the appropriate direct current voltage described in the specifications.
You may already know that fluorescent light fixtures use ballasts to buffer the current between the power supply and the bulb. Similarly, many LED lighting choices require a driver, also known as an LED power supply, to limit the amount of electrical current delivered to it. LED fixtures need a constant voltage to operate. Although some readily available lighting choices have a built-in current regulator, others need a separate driver.
If an LED fixture handles more current than it should, it may reduce the light’s lifespan and present a hazard. Over time, an unregulated LED light draws excess electrical current. This can cause high heat, which may make the brightness of the LED bulbs fluctuate and lead to the light failing.
What Kind of LED Power Supply and Lights Do You Want?
You have many choices when it comes to LED strip lighting. You may want white or multi-color lights, and, depending on where they are being used, you might need a waterproof option. You may also choose dimmable lights. You’ll need to consider all of these traits regarding where and how the lights will be used to select the correct power supply.
- Indoor strip lights can withstand small amounts of dust and dirt and minor water contact.
- Weatherproof, or outdoor, LED strip lighting resists water and wind but won’t survive extended time submerged in water.
- Waterproof strips can handle submersion due to their more robust design.
Dimmable or Non-Dimmable
There’s no best choice between dimmable and non-dimmable lighting; it depends upon the look you’re trying to achieve and your personal preference. If you want dimmable lights, you’ll need both an LED power supply and a dimmable driver.
If you prefer a constant brightness, you can select a power supply by its wattage and voltage capacity.
If your lighting is outdoors in an unsheltered area where rain might hit it or in other places where water is often present, choose waterproof strip lights and a waterproof power supply. These systems can withstand prolonged exposure to water, while those rated for indoor use probably won’t.
Indoor vs Outdoor
The placement of your LED lighting, indoors or outdoors, makes a difference in the type of products you’ll need. Because indoor LED power supply and strip light options don't experience the harsher elements found outdoors, they’re more light-duty systems and won’t hold up for long if you put them outside.
Plug-In or Knockout Version
Many people choose to use LED strip lights without the permanency of a hard-wired power supply. This might be because they plan to periodically move the lights, such as in a business that wants to rearrange displays.
If you choose this option, installation is extremely simple. Purchase an appropriate power supply, plug your strip light into it, then plug the power supply into an electrical outlet.
If you prefer to control your LED strip lights with a wall switch, you’ll need to choose a knockout-version power supply. You can hardwire your permanent strips to present a cleaner, more elegant look.
What Kind of LED Power Supply Do You Need?
LED strip lighting comes in different lengths, densities, and colors, and each has its own power requirements. When you’re planning your new layout, you’ll need to consider the total wattage and voltage to select an appropriate power supply.
For those not familiar with watts and volts, these terms describe amounts of power. A watt measures energy transfer rates. Voltage refers to the potential energy that drives an electric current through a direct current circuit.
LED strip lights designate how many watts it takes to power one foot of the strip (watts/foot). You’ll need to multiply that power rating by the total number of feet you plan to use to determine the number of watts the strip will use. If your lighting strip doesn’t get enough power, it might flicker, be too dim, or fail to come on.
When you’re calculating the power usage of your strip lighting, the rule of thumb is to use only 80% of the maximum wattage rating. Using less power than this rating leaves room to keep it cool enough to compensate for excess heat, which can decrease the unit’s lifespan. This process, called derating, is simple; divide your total estimated strip wattage by 0.8. That number indicates the minimum wattage of the power supply you’ll need.
For example, say that the LED lighting strip you choose has a rating of 4.4 watts per foot, and you’ll use 10 feet. Multiply the 4.4 watts/ foot by the 10-foot length and arrive at an estimated power usage of 44 watts. Derating the 44 watts by dividing it by 0.8, you’ll need a power supply with a 55W minimum rating.
LED strip lights specify their voltage requirements. Most need 12 or 24 volts. Many of the LED strip lights sold by HitLights run on 12V of DC current.
Are You Ready To Design Your LED Light Strip System?
When you’re investing in new lighting, you want the best quality at the most reasonable prices. HitLights sells only high-quality products at competitive prices to DIY-ers and professional electricians, contractors, and installers across the U.S.
Strip lighting can have varying quality levels. HitLights’ Premium LED Strip Lighting features a thick, durable strip and high-quality LEDs, a step above many of our competitors. Manufactured in Underwriters Lab certified plants, our products ensure a safe installation. Our LED power supply choices have either a UL or ETL listed certification.
HitLights backs our products with a warranty. We offer wholesale accounts, professional discounts, and free shipping for qualifying orders. Whether you’re looking for white or multi-color strip lights, mounting supplies, power supplies, batteries, controllers, dimmable drivers, or remotes, we have a wide selection of components to complete your project.
If you own or make purchases for a business, we encourage you to open a business account with HitlLghts. You’ll receive customized order and inventory options, more shipping methods, and payment terms for qualifying companies.
We understand that the technical specifications of LED lighting are sometimes challenging, so our knowledgeable, experienced team is ready to help design your project and make product suggestions. When you send us the details of your project, we’ll create a free quote that includes a blueprint that is guaranteed to work and a list of the components you’ll need, from the controls to the LED power supply.
It’s easy to contact HitLights; just open a chat or send a message online. We have helped many satisfied clients achieve a professional look with our LED lighting, and we’d love to do the same for you.