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A guide to LED power supplies

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An LED power supply, often also called an LED driver or transformer, is a device used to regulate the power needed to operate LED lighting. They convert alternating current (AC) to a direct current (DC) and have a range of functions that allow the user to control their LEDs.

In this guide, we will introduce some of the different types of LED power supplies and explain how they work.

In this guide:

LED power supply voltage options

One of the most important considerations when choosing the right power supply for your LED lighting is the input voltage. LED lights typically have an input voltage of 5v, 12v or 24v and the power supply you choose should have an output voltage that matches this to prevent voltage drop and other issues.

5v LED lighting is ideal for small internal applications as well as gardens with appropriate weather protection. 12v lights are commonly used in bedrooms and kitchens but can also be used externally, owing to the reliability of 12v power supplies. As the highest input voltage, 24v LED lights are the most powerful and must have a 24v power supply in order to operate.

Another factor to bear in mind when looking for a power supply for your LED lights is the difference between constant current and constant voltage output. Many of our power supplies such as the 60w 5v PSU are constant voltage, meaning they provide a stable output voltage and a maximum output current which is ideal for LED strip lighting and similar circuits of multiple LEDs connected to one another.

For more information about our collection of 5v, 12v and 24v power supplies, as well as advice on choosing the right power supply for your LEDs, read our expert guide.

Dimmable LED power supply

A dimmable power supply enables you to adjust the brightness of your LED lights. The two main types of dimmable power supply are Triode for Alternating Current (TRIAC) and Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI).

TRIAC devices are wired to mains supplies and work like a dimmer switch. They are common in commercial lighting applications like event venues as they allow you to control the intensity of your LEDs.

DALI modules, on the other hand, use a two-way digital protocol that sends dimming instructions to LED drivers and dimmable LED bulbs. This type of power supply is more common in applications where LEDs need to be controlled across multiple areas such as several storeys of a building.

We sell both TRIAC and DALI power supplies, and many of our devices have built-in three-in-one functions for resistive dimming, 0-10v or 1-10VC dimming and pulse-width-modulation signal dimming.

Our guide to dimmable LED power supplies explains what these functions are in more detail and discusses how to choose the right device for your lighting application.

Plug-style LED power supply

Plug-style power supplies are the simplest type of LED transformer, as they simply plug into an outlet and connect to the LED light by a cable. They are compact, lightweight, ready to use right out of the box and easy to replace.

Our plug-in power supplies feature short circuit, overload voltage and overload current protections that prevent damage to your LEDs.

Like all power supplies, with plug-in devices, you should make sure the output voltage is the same as the input voltage of your lights. Other considerations for this kind of power supply include the operating temperature (ours have working temperatures of 0 to 40 degrees) and the IP ratings of the lights and the power supply.

We discuss these factors in more detail in our expert guide to plug-style power supplies.

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