LED power supplies (also called LED drivers) and low-voltage transformers are both used to provide the necessary kind of electricity so your light fixtures can run smoothly and efficiently by transforming line voltage (usually between 120V-277V) into 12V or 24V low voltage. There are enormous benefits of using LED or low-voltage fixtures, such as energy efficiency, longer lifespan, versatility, and safety, as some codes prohibit line voltage from being used in certain applications.
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LED drivers perform a similar function to ballasts in a fluorescent lamp, but they have specific purposes:
- Transforms standard line voltage to the required low voltage
- Convert the incoming alternating current (AC) power into direct current (DC) power to allow for optimal performance of the LEDs
- Keeps voltage and current at the proper rated level in the LED circuitry, protecting it from current or voltage fluctuations which would affect the light quality or potentially damage the device
Some LED lights have internal drivers and can accept a direct line voltage input, but other LED lights, especially accent light or lights that are small and size and cannot fit a driver within the light housing, require external drivers to operate. With the proper driver, the LED fixture will hold up to its rated lifetime.
Low Voltage Transformers
As with the LED power supply, a low voltage transformer transforms the standard line voltage in a home or business to a lower 12 or 24 volts. Transformers are often required to power to popular low voltage lighting systems like track lighting, puck lights, pendant lights, and landscape light fixtures. Operating these lights with the proper transformer extends the life of the system and makes it more efficient. Unlike LED drivers, though, low voltage transformers do not convert the power into direct current. AC power comes in and AC power goes out.