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A guide to LED power supply: 5v/12v/24v

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Advice Centre > Accessories > Power Supply > A guide to LED power supply: 5v/12v/24v

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are solid-state devices that transform electric energy into colourful illumination. LEDs do not waste energy since they use "cool" light generation technology, meaning that the low heat that is generated is not allowed to build up. What's more, LEDs are designed to be long-lasting and can be recycled as part of normal household waste because they don't contain hazardous chemicals or material.

One important but often overlooked aspect of LED lighting is the power supply required to operate these devices. In this guide, we will explain what LED power supply is and the different voltage options available. We will also discuss how you can determine which power supply you need for your LED lighting. Click on one of the links below to jump to that section:

What is an LED power supply?

An LED power supply can also be referred to as an LED transformer or driver. Drivers are electronic circuits that regulate the power needed to operate LED lights by converting an alternating current (AC) to a direct current (DC). When choosing a power supply, it's important to consider the input voltage of the LED strip to prevent voltage drop or burning out the LED chips. The three most common voltage options available for LED lighting are 5v, 12v and 24v.

  • 5v power supply is ideal for achieving dynamic lighting in internal areas and can also be used in boats, gardens and caravans.
  • 12v lights can be used both internally and externally and are common in bedrooms, kitchens and driveways. The major advantage of a 12v power supply is its reliability.
  • With 24v LEDs, it's important to match this high voltage to the output voltage with a 24v power supply; otherwise, the LED bulbs won't work.

LED power supplies are either constant current or constant voltage. Constant current provides a fixed output current and can fluctuate output voltage. It is often used for LED downlights and strings of LED modules, providing consistent illumination.

Constant voltage provides a stable output voltage of typically 12v or 24v and a maximum output current. It is often used for LED strips and other circuits where multiple LEDs are connected to each other by a DC power supply.

How to choose the right power supply for your LEDs

The operating voltage of the LEDs will be the most important consideration when choosing a power supply. However, there are other factors that you should bear in mind, including:

Size of the power supply

When installing your LED lighting, you should make sure that the power supply fits in the space where it is supposed to be installed. We stock small, plug-style power supplies as well as larger devices for bigger applications.

IP rating

A power supply’s IP rating is an assessment of its resistance to liquid (water) and solid materials (dirt and dust). IP rates are indicated by two numbers: the first number (0 to 6) refers to a device’s resistance to solids while the second (0 to 8) refers to its protection against water. The higher the number, the better protected the casing of the power supply will be. This is especially important for outdoor LED lighting applications.

Maximum wattage

If you want to operate more than one light from a single power supply, add the wattages together to get the total watts needed. Give yourself a 20% buffer over the total wattage to ensure you have a large enough power supply. To do this, simply multiply your total wattage by 1.2 and then look for a power supply qualified for that wattage.

Safety compliance

Your chosen power supply needs to be compliant with international safety regulations for lighting, such as UL1012 and UL8750. This will be referenced in the device’s datasheet and ensures it is up to standard.

LED power supply from WeLoveLEDs

60w 5v PSU LED power supply

60w 5v PSU

This is a constant voltage, single-output LED driver with an IP67 rating for internal and external use. It offers built-in protection against open circuits, short circuits, overloads and overheating.

192w 12v PSU LED power supply

192w 12v PSU

This is a universal AC input power supply with an IP65 rating ideal for internal and external applications including street lighting. Its features include a three-in-one dimming function.

8w 12v PSU LED power supply

8w 12v PSU

This is a small and compact 12v constant voltage, single-output power supply with an IP30 rating for internal use only. It is ideal for applications such as decorative and office LED lighting as well as LED signage.

320w 24v PSU LED power supply

320w 24v PSU

A heavy-duty device with a slim design, this unit guarantees long-lasting reliability and safety. It offers two parallel outputs totalling a maximum output of 240w. The IP67 rating makes it ideal for lighting LEDs in street lamps, parking spaces and more. Its features include a built-in constant current limiting circuit and fan speed control.

500w 24v PSU LED power supply

500w 24v PSU

This is a universal AC input power supply that offers protection from short circuits, overloads, overvoltage and overtemperature. It has a slim profile, built-in remote ON-OFF control and a remote sense function.

Frequently asked questions

How do you connect LED strip lights to a power supply?

First, attach the LED strip light to the connector wire by placing the strip’s end into the wire's clip, making sure that the red wire is connected to the '+' sign on the strip and the black wire is connected to the '-' sign. To close the clasp, press firmly on the rear of the connection clip. On the sticky side, you may need to remove a portion of the backing strip. Remove the strip light’s sticky backing and push it firmly onto the desired surface, then connect the driver to the opposite end of the connection cable.

How long should an LED power supply last?

On their data sheets, all LED lights have a predicted lifetime in hours. For high-quality office LED and commercial lighting, 50,000 hours is normal.