Every LED light, and in fact, all LED systems need a special device called LED driver in order to turn on and operate. As we talked last time, there are two types — constant voltage and constant current.
A constant voltage driver is used for LED products that require a steady and constant DC voltage to keep it performing well. Many times a constant voltage will be used with an LED lamp or other product that has a built-in driver for the current already installed. All it really needs is something to keep the voltage consistent. It is also mainly for applications where the LEDs are in a strip configuration and are all in a parallel connection to the driver. It ensures that every LED receives the same amount of voltage from the driver.
LEDs often use constant voltage drivers for illuminating landscape and accent lighting, back-lighting for advertising signs, and huge high-definition LED displays. Usually they are available in a number of different wattages, and can also come with dimming capabilities.
Rather than regulating the voltage, a constant current LED driver manages the actual current that comes in to the LED’s diode that is required to get things jumping in the p-n junction. Additionally, this type of driver helps regulate the amount of forward current that can occur between the LEDs. This is a result of photon creation when the LED is on. Too much of this forward current can potentially overheat the LED, causing it to malfunction.
A constant current driver is primarily for situations where an LED lamp does not already have a current driver built in. It keeps a consistent current running through a string or series of LEDs. Constant current drivers are available in a variety of different configurations.