LED technology is the latest technology that is being used in modern emergency lighting systems because LEDs are energy-efficient and durable. LEDs are replacing traditional incandescent bulbs and even fluorescent lamps in emergency lighting systems used in office buildings, industries, factories and houses for work continuity. LED emergency driver is the heart of the LED emergency lighting systems. It is important to consider several factors while selecting LED emergency drivers that we will discuss in this article.
Before discussing those important factors, let’s know what LED emergency drivers actually are.
What is an LED emergency Driver?
LED emergency driver, just like a normal driver is a device that drives the power to one or multiple LED fixtures. But unlike a normal driver, LED emergency driver operates off the battery integrated to it for providing lighting solution in an emergency mode instead of line voltage.
When there is an availability of man power supply, LED emergency driver supplies power to LED fixtures from the mains and also keeps charging the battery. In case there is a disruption in main power supply, this driver instantly switch the power supply to the battery to supply power to LEDs and thus prevents them from being switched off.
Since emergency lighting LED drivers operate off a battery in an emergency mode, the illumination output of the fixtures from most of LED drivers will not be as bright as that in normal mode when there is a main power supply. However, the output will be enough for emergency conditions.
Factors to Consider While Selecting LED Emergency Drivers
Let’s discuss the factors that are important for you to consider while selecting the right LED emergency driver for your emergency lighting solution.
1. Output Voltage
The first factor you have to consider while selecting an LED emergency driver is the voltage requirement of your LED light or fixture. The output voltage is the voltage that the LED driver can provide and this should match with the voltage required by your LED fixture.
Every LED fixture has their specific voltage requirement. You have to select the LED emergency driver with the output voltage range that includes the exact voltage required by the LED fixture for which you need to buy a driver. If the voltage required by the LED fixture is lower or higher than the output voltage range of an LED emergency driver, then the fixture can’t be installed with the driver
2. Input Voltage
Another factor for you to consider is the voltage supply of the location where you will be using your LED emergency light. LED emergency driver that you want to use for your LEDs should be able to accept the input voltage of the location so that the driver can step down that input voltage to the appropriate output voltage.
Most LED drivers are able to operate in a wide range of input voltages. If you are not sure about the input voltage of the location, you can consult an electrician
3. Max wattage
Wattage refers to an electrical power and it is expressed in watts. To be more precise, wattage is the amount of energy that is required for an electrical device to operate for 1 second. It is one of the factors that you have to consider for choosing an LED emergency driver.
Check the wattage requirement of your LED fixture and select the driver having maximum wattage higher than the wattage of your LED fixture for smooth operation. Also, do not pair an emergency driver with an LED fixture that utilises less than 50% of the maximum wattage of the driver.
4. Dimming feature
As we have already mentioned that most of the LED emergency drivers operate off a battery in an emergency mode and the output of the illumination of LED light is less than that in normal mode. This is because most of the LED emergency drivers come with this dimmable feature to extend the power backup life by saving some battery charge.
This is not the case for all LED emergency drivers and some drivers provide full power to LED light even in emergency mode.
So, while selecting an LED emergency driver, you have to consider the dimming feature as well. If there is no problem with the dimming feature for your work continuity, you can select an LED emergency driver with dimming feature. If the dimming feature affects the operations like in surgery room, you can go with the driver that provides full voltage to LED fixtures even in emergency mode.
5. Safety standards
Safety is of utmost importance and you should not neglect such crucial aspect of electronic device. Make sure that your chosen LED emergency driver meets the necessary safety standards.
Under safety standards, consider IP and UL Class rating of an emergency LED driver.
IP rating gives the information regarding the class and degree of protection provides by the enclosure or casing of an electrical device. LED drivers come with different IP rating codes or simply IP codes (International Protection Codes or Ingress Protection Codes) and you have to select them based on your requirements.
The first digit in IP rating code specifies the protection of device against solid objects whereas the second digit specifies protection against water.
The IP rating chart is shown below:
Based on the chart above, the LED driver with an IP67 rating is dustproof and protected against temporary immersion in water.
UL Class rating:
Similarly, UL Class ratings (UL Class 1 and UL Class 2) ratings provide information regarding safety standards of devices like LED drivers. This type of rating is provided by Underwriters Laboratories.
LED emergency drivers belonging to UL Class 2 are considered safe to contact and there is no need for significant safety protection. However, there is restriction on the number of LEDs that can be used with UL Class 2 drivers.
On the other hand, UL Class 1 driver requires safety protection within the fixture as their output voltage is higher. However, UL Class 1 drivers are more efficient than UL Class 2 drivers and they are able to power more LEDs.
Another major factor to consider is the power efficiency of an LED driver. The efficiency of an LED driver is expressed in percentage. This gives you information regarding the percentage of input power that the LED driver can utilize to drive power supply to the LED.
Most of the LED drivers have efficiencies between 80 to 85%. But you can choose UL Class 1 drivers if you need to power many LEDs as their efficiencies are usually higher.
We hope that this article helps you to select the right energy-efficient and durable LED emergency drivers for your emergency lighting needs. Consider the above discussed important factors before you purchase an LED emergency driver.
If you need any more information regarding emergency lighting, you can contact Sanforce team who are more than happy to help and guide you. Sanforce, one-stop solution for your emergency lighting needs offers the quality LED emergency drivers and other lighting devices.