Why is it important to use long-life LED drivers? How are they different?

- May 16, 2019-

There are two primary factors in the justification of most solid state lighting systems. The first is

energy savings. However, there are other alternative lighting technologies that offer high efficiency for lower initial costs. The second justification, lower maintenance costs, is therefore critical. LEDs have the advantage of much longer life than most other lighting technologies. Reduced replacement and/or maintenance costs can be a very significant factor. However, if the power electronics in the system does not match the life/reliability of the LEDs then the justification of the system is in jeopardy.


The life of an LED driver is mainly determined by the lifetime of the electrolytic capacitors employed.

Therefore, to achieve long life of the LED drivers, it is critical to select long-life, quality electrolytic

capacitors. Also, since the life of electrolytic capacitors drops by half for every 10°C increase in

operating temperature, thermal management of these components is important. Two key factors

for reducing the temperature of the capacitors are high efficiency design (dissipating less heat in the

driver) and thermal design (effective conduction and/or convection of the heat into the ambient

surroundings).