The Crucial Role of LED Power Supplies in Lighting Systems

Power supplies are an essential component of LED linear lighting systems, as they provide the necessary voltage and current to power the LEDs. LED linear lighting systems typically require a constant voltage power supply, which means that the voltage output remains constant while the current fluctuates based on the load (number of LEDs) being driven. In many low voltage systems, it is important to choose a reliable power supplies and it can be considered the most important part to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

The choice of power supply for a particular LED linear lighting system will depend on several factors, such as the wattage of the LEDs, the length of the lighting system, and the type of dimming or control options being used. It’s important to choose a power supply that is compatible with the specific LED linear lighting system being used, in order to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

Power supplies can come with different specifications, and this provide flexibility in terms of control options. Power supplies can be integrated with dimming controls using different methods such as Triac Dimming, MLV,  0-10V, 1-10V, PMW and others.

 Additionally, if integrated with low voltage control system it can achieve color changing functions, and other advanced features to create dynamic lighting effects and ambiance in a space. This allows for greater customization and creativity in lighting design.

In the lighting industry, some of the commonly used terms for LED Power Supplies include LED Transformers, AC-to-DC Transformers, and LED Drivers.

Significance of Voltage in Power Supplies

Voltage is a measure of electrical potential difference, or the amount of electrical pressure that exists between two points in an electrical circuit. In the context of power supplies, voltage is the output of the power supply that provides the electrical energy needed to power electronic devices, including LED lighting systems.

The voltage provided by a power supply is an important consideration, as it needs to match the voltage requirements of the electronic device being powered. If the voltage provided by the power supply is too low, the device may not function properly, or it may not work at all. Conversely, if the voltage provided by the power supply is too high, it can damage the electronic device or create a safety hazard.

For LED lighting systems, the voltage provided by the power supply needs to match the voltage requirements of the LEDs. Most LED lighting systems are designed to operate at a specific voltage, typically 12V or 24V, and it’s important to choose a power supply that matches the voltage requirements of the specific LED lighting system being used.

The Importance of Power Consumption in Lighting

Power consumption refers to the amount of electrical power that is used by an electronic device or system, typically measured in watts. In the context of linear lighting systems, power consumption is an important consideration as it directly affects the amount of electricity used and the cost of operating the lighting system.

The power supply for a linear lighting system plays a critical role in managing power consumption. It needs to provide the right amount of power to the lighting system to ensure optimal performance without wasting energy or creating safety hazards. Choosing the right power supply with the correct power capacity is therefore essential to ensuring that the lighting system operates efficiently and cost-effectively.

Overloading a power supply with too much power consumption can lead to safety hazards such as overheating, short circuits, or even electrical fires. On the other hand, using a power supply with insufficient power capacity can result in poor performance or even damage to the lighting system.

To optimize power consumption in linear lighting systems, it’s essential to choose a power supply that matches the power requirements of the lighting system. 

An Overview of Different Types of Power Supply Protection for Your System

Power supplies used in lighting systems can come with various levels of protection against moisture, dust, and other environmental factors. The level of protection is typically indicated by an IP (Ingress Protection) rating, which is a standardized system for rating the degree of protection offered by an enclosure against various environmental conditions.

A regular power supply may not offer any protection against moisture or dust and is typically intended for use in dry indoor environments. It may have a low IP rating (IP20) or no rating at all.

Damp-rated power supplies are designed to operate in areas with high humidity or occasional exposure to moisture. They have a higher IP rating than regular power supplies, typically ranging from IP54 to IP65. These power supplies may have additional features such as conformal coating or potting, which provide additional protection against moisture and other environmental factors.

Wet-rated power supplies are designed for use in outdoor environments or areas that are frequently exposed to moisture, rain, or snow. They have the highest IP ratings, typically ranging from IP65 to IP68. These power supplies are fully sealed and have features such as gasketed enclosures and waterproof connectors to prevent moisture from entering the enclosure.

What Are the Popular Types of LED Power Supply?

Regular - Fixed Voltage

This type of power supply provides a steady and consistent source of power to linear lighting systems. They do not have the capability to adjust the brightness level of the lighting, making them suitable for applications where a constant level of illumination is required, such as in commercial or industrial settings. Non-dimmable power supplies are generally less expensive than dimmable power supplies and are a practical choice when dimming is not necessary.

Additionally, you can use this power supplies and make your system dimmable with the use of a low voltage dimming control.

Triac Dimming

TRIAC dimming is a common method of dimming that uses a TRIAC (triode for alternating current) switch to control the power to a linear lighting system. It works by turning the power on and off rapidly during each AC cycle, which allows for variable control of the light output. TRIAC dimming is widely used in residential and commercial lighting applications, as it is compatible with many common dimming switches and provides smooth, flicker-free dimming. However, not all LED linear lighting systems are compatible with TRIAC dimming, and compatibility should be checked before installation. Most Triac dimmers in the market are rated from 150W to 450W (being less common), so this is a factor to consider

MLV Dimming

MLV dimming, or magnetic low voltage dimming, is a type of dimming method that uses a magnetic transformer to control the power to a lighting system. It is commonly used with halogen and incandescent bulbs, but it can also be used with some LED lighting systems that are designed to be compatible with MLV dimming. MLV dimming works by using a magnetic transformer to reduce the voltage to the lighting system, which in turn reduces the light output. It provides smooth and precise dimming control, but it can be less efficient than other dimming methods and may produce some audible noise during operation. This dimming method is the preferable option for LED Linear Lighting Systems because the power capacity of typical linear lighting systems does not exceed what this method can handle, and it uses the existing power cables saving the installation of additional wires.


In MLV (magnetic low-voltage) dimming systems, the VA (volt-ampere) rating is used to indicate the maximum amount of power that the power supply can deliver to the lighting system. However, VA and watts are not always equivalent in MLV systems, as the power factor of the system can affect the ratio of VA to watts.

To convert VA to watts in an MLV system, you can use the following formula:

Watts = VA x Power Factor

The power factor is typically expressed as a decimal between 0 and 1, and represents the ratio of the real power (in watts) to the apparent power (in VA) in the system. A power factor of 1 indicates perfect efficiency, while a lower power factor indicates that the system is drawing more current than necessary to produce the required output power.

0-10V Dimmable

0-10V dimming is a type of dimming method that uses a control signal between 0 and 10 volts DC to control the brightness of a lighting system. It is commonly used in commercial and industrial lighting applications, as it allows for precise and efficient control of larger lighting systems. With 0-10V dimming, the control signal is sent to a dimming driver, which adjusts the power to the lighting system, thereby changing the light output. It also provides smooth and precise dimming control, without the audible noise that may be produced by some other dimming methods. It is important to keep in mind that a separate set of wires should be connected to each dimming driver, as the signal cannot be transmitted through the standard 100-277 power cables.

There is no specific wattage limitation associated with 0-10V dimming, as it is a control protocol rather than a power delivery mechanism. The 0-10V signal is used to communicate with a compatible dimming power supply, which in turn adjusts the power delivered to the lighting load in order to dim or brighten it. To increase the power capacity of the system, you can add more power units that are compatible with 0-10V.

If you have a high-power demanding system, it is recommended to use this method.

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