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Blog - driver

Don't skimp on LED Driver choice for your high power LED Lights

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These days most of the LEDs in LED lights are of reasonable quality and longevity. In fact the LED light was first developed in the 1920s and 1930s by Russian scientist Oleg Lossev so it has become a very robust electronic device. Heat is its enemy but the actual LEDs have generally been tested to operate at a case/chip temperature of 105°C, whilst the actual LED junction temperature which is a bit like a filiment in a globe, will be 150°C. What this means is that as long as the outside ambient temperature is lower and there is sufficient heatsinking (which is generally the case) the LED will have a long life span. 

Although for those application where there is very high heat or high radiant heat we have specific designs such as our High Temperature 80°C LED High Bays or specific configurations of our other LED High Bays. Please advise us if you have a particular high temperature application. 

Now back to the topic of the LED Driver which refers to the power supply that converts the mains voltage (240V AC in Australia) down to the lower DC voltage (e.g., 12V DC) for the LED light. The LED Driver is arguably the weak link of the system and LED light failure is typically a result of LED Driver failure. Inside the LED driver are electrolytic capacitors which are vulnerable in all electronic devices and are arguably the leading cause of device failure. They too are vulnerable to heat and different electrolytic capacitors come with different life spans and heat tolerances. Naturally, the cheaper "no-name" brand LED drivers have cheaper componentry and typically have a shorter operating life span.

In our lights we always specify the individual componentry and in the majority of our lights we Mean Well LED Drivers. Mean Well established in 1982, are a leading standard switching power supply manufacturer in the world.

We will generally use: 

Mean Well HBG Drivers rated at a max case temperature of +75℃ and a Typical lifetime > 50,000 hours, or up to 100,000 hours at < 70℃

Mean Well ELG Drivers rated at a max case temperature of +85℃ and a Typical lifetime > 50,000 hours, or up to 100,000 hours at < 70℃

Mean Well HLG Drivers rated at a max case temperature of +90℃ and a Typical lifetime > 62,000 hours, or up to 100,000 hours at < 70℃

According to the data sheets all of these LED drivers when operating at a case temperature of 70℃ or less will last an estimated 100,000 hours which is potentially "light for life". You can see for high temperature applications the HLG Drivers perform more robustly with a minimum lifetime of 62,000 hours. 

So the take home message here is when you are purchasing an LED light, particualrly high power (40W or more) make sure you know the type and specifications of the LED Driver. Check on the temperature tolerance and life span particularly where the light is operating in a high temperature area such as a hot roof space or other areas where high ambient temperatures or high radiant heat exists.