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A guide to LED power supply: plug-style

Advice Centre > Accessories > Power Supply > A guide to LED power supply: plug-style

One important but often misunderstood or forgotten factor in LED lighting installations is the power supply needed to operate the technology. There are different kinds of power supply available for LED lighting, including dimmable and plug-style.

In this article, we will guide you through everything you need to know about using plug-style LED power supplies including how to choose the right device for your application.

In this guide:

Using plug-style LED power supplies

LED power supplies are specialised devices that direct the right amount of electrical current through the LED circuit at their recommended power level. They perform similar functions to a transformer in incandescent light bulb or ballasts in fluorescent light bulbs.

These devices take energy from the AC electricity source and convert it into usable DC for LED applications. They make sure LED bulbs, LED strip lighting, and other applications don't receive too much or little electricity, which could cause the system to work abnormally.

Benefits of plug-style power supplies

Protection

Our plug-style power supplies protect against all the oddities of electricity, including dips, spikes and mains surges. The LED power supply senses those anomalies and shifts to alternate power before the abnormalities cause damage.

Easy installation

Installing a plug-style power supply is a pain-free process. All you have to do is trim the LED strip to your desired length at the indicated lines using a pair of scissors. Next, clip the connector to the end of the strip. Align the red wire on the connector with the positive sign and the black wire to the negative mark. Once that's done, attach the wires to the adapter. The positive wire of the strip should be connected to the positive slot on the adapter and vice versa. Lastly, plug the adapter into an outlet to power the strip.

Easy to replace

Power supplies can constantly fail as they are vulnerable to power surges and spikes. Fortunately, you can easily replace your plug-in LED power supplies.

Use right away

A plug-in power supply doesn't have a complicated setup process. You don't have to deal with several tools and wires. Just plug it into a wall socket. That's it! You're ready to go.

How to choose the right plug-style power supply for your LEDs

Aside from your needs and budget, there are several technical factors to consider when choosing a suitable plug-style power supply for your LEDs. These include:

Voltage

The rule of thumb when buying a power supply for your LED is that the power supply's output must be the same as the output of the LED device. If the power supply has a higher voltage, it may overheat, damaging it or shortening its lifespan. Find out more about different power supply voltage options in our expert guide.

Current/power draw per length

Get an idea of how much electrical power is required before you decide on purchasing a LED power supply. To calculate amperage draw, divide the wattage by the voltage. This will help you determine how much energy the device will draw at a given time. For example, if you have a 60-watt light bulb plugged into a 100V power outlet, it will draw 0.6 amps.

You can find the voltage and amperage information in the owner's manual or product label. But most modern power supplies come with built-in metres that display this information.

Temperature and weather

Power supplies are calibrated at specific thermal conditions, usually listed in the owner's manual or product label. Operating a power supply outside the safe temperature range recommended by the manufacturer can cause multiple issues, including shutting down, reduced life expectancy or performance degradation.

IP ratings

Protection from liquids and dust is of utmost importance for electrical devices. Most LED power supplies have an International Protection (IP) rating stated in their datasheet. The IP consists of two digits that show the device's ability to withstand dust and liquid intrusion. The first digit represents protection against solid objects and the second against liquids. As the value increases, the power supply's ability to withstand liquids and foreign objects increases.

If your lighting application is for an outdoor display, look for a power supply with a high IP rating of around 67.

Class II or Class 2 power supply

Confusion often exists concerning the difference between Class II and Class 2 rated power supplies. The difference is surprisingly more significant than you'd think.

Class II power drivers have either a reinforced or double insulation barrier between the input and the output. Having a double layer of connection means they don't need a connection to earth to protect you against electrical shock hazards.

Class 2 power supplies have a total power output rating of less than 100 watts to prevent electric shocks. They don't require the cables to be housed in conduits and can be installed by unqualified persons. Note Class 2 power drivers can only power LEDs within this rating.

LED power supply from WeLoveLEDs

65w 24v PSU LED power supply

65w 24v PSU

Coming with a standard 2.1mm DC male power connector and 1800mm cable, the 65w 24v PSU offers no-load power consumption and is compact and lightweight. It boasts efficiencies of up to 81% and a working temperature of 0 and 40 degrees.

60w 12v PSU LED power supply

60w 12v PSU

This PSU comes with a standard 2.1mm DC male plug and 1800mm cable. It has low no-load power consumption and offers protection from several hazardous conditions that result from overloaded electrical circuits. The PSU is available in the UK and European versions. Plus, it comes with a 1-year warranty and operates between a temperature of 0 and 40 degrees.

36w 12v PSU LED power supply

36w 12v PSU

This plug-style PSU will do the job for most people. It has a 2.1mm male plug and an 1800mm cable. It’s also available in European versions. The device features short circuit, overload voltage and overload current protections.

You can see all of our plug-style power supplies here.

Frequently asked questions

How can I choose the right power supply for my LED lights?

Deciding whether voltage, current power draw per length, operating temperatures and IP ratings wins out in your priorities will make a big difference in which model works best for you.

What is the difference between male and female DC adapters?

Male DC adapters, also known as jacks, are characterised by protruding pins inserted into the female connectors. Female adapters have small holes or openings to insert a male connector.

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