Why is it important to use long-life LED drivers? How are they different ?
The main justification for moving to LED lighting from other lighting technologies is monetary savings. This is due to the reduced energy requirement to provide similar luminous output.
However, it should be remembered that energy consumption is not the only factor to be considered when judging the monetary saving that can be achieved by switching to LED lighting. Other factors include:
1.Initial cost of fixture – LED lighting fixtures tend to have a higher initial cost than rival technologies due to the cost of the LED die itself.
2. Lifespan of the fixture – LED’s are very durable devices, and are capable of operation for many thousands of hours.
3.Maintenance costs – Some lighting fixtures are in very inaccessible locations (e.g. street lighting), and the cost of maintenance may be greater than that of the fixture itself.
Looking at these factors, it is obvious that in order to maximise the monetary savings from LED lighting, it is important to maximise the lifespans of the fixture itself. As mentioned previously, the LED’s themselves are very durable, so much so that the driver itself is generally considered to be the weak link of the fixture.
The life of an LED driver can be determined by the life of the electrolytic capacitors used. The life of electrolytic capacitors reduces by 50% for every 10 degree rise in the operating temperature of these components. Therefore, to maximise the life of LED drivers, it is critical to select long-life, quality electrolytic capacitors, as well as practicing good thermal management of these components.
As well as selecting high quality capacitors, ottima LED drivers are designed with the highest possible efficiencies, and are potted in order to transmit any heat generated away from the critical components of the drivers.