Posted by Doug Root on 5th Feb 2020

Programmable LED Drivers Explained: What You Need to Know

a straight-up view of several LED lights

Most home and  business owners likely have LED lights somewhere on their property, be it indoors or outdoors. Most people do not know that there is an engine that operates that LED light, and that engine is called the LED Driver. Most folks do not know this until the fixture stops working or something else goes wrong with it. When that fixture stops working and you need a replacement LED driver.

So what is an LED driver? There are thousands of different LED drivers, and all have different specifications. Finding a driver to work with your specific system can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Thanks to the help of  Universal Lighting Technologies, Atlanta Light Bulbs—your lighting expert—has programmable LED drivers in stock

Understanding LED Drivers

LED wafer light with an external driver

What is an LED driver? In its simplest terms, an LED driver runs your LED light. It is a power supply that's typically self-contained, and its one job is to regulate all of the power an LED light needs. The power and size of the driver depends on the LED itself. For example, an elaborate  LED light may have a large driver, while a range of LED lights, such as a string of lights, may require a smaller power supply.

Always Use the Right LED Driver

LED drivers are specialized power supplies. They're designed to handle the unique power needs of an LED, which are both  long-lasting and low-energy. As such, they're different from traditional, conventional power supplies because they're equipped to alter their power output based on the temperature changes of the LED light. The driver's ability to maintain a consistent, steady stream of power helps to keep the LED from overheating or under-performing.

As you can imagine, trying to use the wrong  LED driver for your light is a disastrous proposition. An LED light must have the right power supply to perform at an optimal level. The driver has to provide the light with a steady low voltage stream while protecting the light from changes in current, surges, and fluctuations with voltage. Some drivers are external, and others are internal. Some of them maintain a constant current, and others provide a constant voltage.

What to Do When the Driver Dies

Now that you know what an LED driver is and what it does, the next step is to understand what you should do when it dies. When the LED driver dies, your light will go out. If your warranty is in good standing and valid, then there's no problem. Everything's replaced as quickly and efficiently as possible, and your corner of the world is once again illuminated. If you do not have a valid warranty, however, you have to weigh your options.

The Old Struggles of Non-Warranty Replacements

If your LED Driver isn’t under warranty, historically, you were left with two options. The first option was to replace the entire  light fixture. Depending on your fixture, this may not be as easy as it sounds. In addition to being potentially costly, the new light may not match your remaining LEDs. You might purchase a fixture that looks the same before you install it, but the LED lights already in your home or office have been around for a while and your new light may shine brighter.

The second option of replacing the driver had its own set of problems. There's no industry standard among most LED fixture manufacturers regarding the components they use and why. Determining what LED driver is going to work with a particular fixture can be a guessing game that sends you to the manufacturer, but that doesn’t always help. If that doesn’t work, you may still end up spending the money on a new lighting fixture instead.

New Solutions with Programmable LED Drivers

As technology changes, several lighting manufacturers have recognized the problems with this system and are now offering a fix: programmable LED drivers.

an LED driver from Universal Lighting Technologies

What is a programmable LED driver? These drivers utilize technology that can create a driver with the same specs as the one you need to replace. Instead of playing a guessing game or buying an entire fixture, you can use a programmable LED driver and set it to match the outputs and specs used by the original model.

You can find programmable drivers in a variety of sizes in our Universal Lighting Technologies selection. The brand has a system that's simple to understand and easy to use. Using a device that resembles a cell phone, it's possible to program a new LED driver in just a few minutes. For a complete list

Get Expert Help From Atlanta Light Bulbs

We hope that this has been a helpful explanation of what an LED driver is and what you should do if yours ever stops working. Feel free to  reach out to Atlanta Light Bulbs to find out more about the programmable LED drivers on offer.