Why is the driver important in LED Lighting?

Saturday 20th July 2019

One of the key elements to LED lighting is the driver. As opposed to traditional lights, LEDs cannot be connected directly to the regular current. Why? Simply because LEDs work with voltages that are lower than what the conventional current transmits. For this reason, LEDs must be connected through drivers which will adapt the current it receives from the electrical network to what the LED needs in order to illuminate.

What is a Driver?

A driver is a device which regulates the power of an LED or a series of LEDs. Unlike regular power sources, drivers send a constant power to the LEDs and can thus adapt to their changing needs.

How does it work?

  • The Drivers regulate the flow of electricity reaching the LEDs, thus supplying the proper voltage and current each time, regardless of the changes that may occur in the electrical properties of the LEDs.
  • The drivers adjust the voltage sent to the LEDs in order to supply a constant current even when the temperature variations can alter the way the LEDs react to electricity. 
The LEDs need a constant current to illuminate properly. In other words, a constant load intensity is needed,  something which is not found in normal electrical networks with alternate current. For that reason, a driver is needed to convert the alternative current into a direct current source. Without the use of a driver, the LED can overheat, lose its performance and, eventually, fail.

Since the LEDs need less power than what normal electrical networks supply, the driver is responsible for lowering that power without wasting energy while controlling overheating.

Internal Vs External Driver

Depending on your type of installation, there are two types of drivers.
When choosing the driver that will be used for a specific application, we must analyze whether the LED light will be installed in an open or closed luminaire system.
If the system is open, the same structure will allow the heat to dissipate.
If the system is closed, we must analyze the free space inside. If that space is less than twice the space occupied by the LED, it is recommended to use an external driver. If that space is greater than that, an inside driver can be used.
Currently, most home LED luminaries are powered by internal drivers while industrial LED luminaries such as high power LED lights or public lighting are powered by external drivers.


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