From business-oriented projects to city-wide street lighting, there’s no shortage of appropriate applications for LED lighting technology.
When compared to more traditional lighting systems, LED lighting lasts longer and is more efficient.
However, LED lighting can’t operate on its own. It requires a power source—an LED power supply.
Choosing the right LED power supply depends on multiple factors. Let’s look at some considerations along with a few different types of LED power supplies.
For an LED system to function properly, it requires three different elements:
That last element is an LED power supply. LED drivers and LED power supplies are nearly interchangeable terms. To put it simply, the LED driver is like the brain behind an LED lighting system and contains a power supply composed of a power source and control circuitry. LED power supplies are designed to drive the LEDs and promote stability. LED drivers can be viewed as a self-contained power supply comprised of a power source and LED control circuitry. The LED power supply allows the LED to generate light by converting power within the driver.
LED drivers are highly efficient power management systems. In fact, a 100W LED bulb with an integrated LED driver can easily replace a 400W metal halide bulb, drastically reducing power consumption.
One of the primary differences between different types of LED power supplies is whether they’re constant current drivers or constant voltage drivers.
Here’s the difference between the two.
Constant voltage drivers supply a fixed voltage with a designated or maximum current range. In general, these drivers are suitable for any LED lighting application with an unknown number of LED strings and an unknown current draw. Current control is handled by components within the LED itself.
Contrary to constant voltage, constant current drivers supply a fixed current to the LED. They’re best used for any application where the LED must be connected to a constant current supply. Constant current drivers operate using a limited voltage range, making it even more important to choose an appropriate driver based on the voltage rating.
Choosing the correct LED power supply depends on a variety of factors and potential features. Depending on your use case, you’ll want to consider all of these when picking up a driver for your LED lighting application.
Wattage is the single most important factor when choosing your LED driver. Figure out the wattage of your LED application and choose a large enough LED driver based on that number.
If you’re only running one light, be concerned with that light’s wattage. However, in some cases, you’ll want to have more than one LED fixture hooked up to a power supply. To do this effectively, you’ll have to add the total wattage of each LED light and choose a power supply that gives you an additional 20% over the total wattage, just in case. The easiest way to accomplish this is to multiply your total wattage by a factor of 1.2.
Another crucial factor to consider when choosing an LED driver is the environment in which the driver will be used. By environment, we mean temperature and weather conditions.
Most LED drivers should come with a spec sheet that includes temperature parameters for optimal performance. To avoid issues, you’ll need to abide by these parameters and avoid using an LED power supply in an area where temperatures will exceed these limits. If not, the heat can build up to a point where the driver ends up being damaged.
Indoor or outdoor usage is another important environmental consideration. When choosing an LED driver for the outdoors, it should carry an IP67 rating. IP67 means that the LED driver is suited for outdoor applications, with protection from dust and the ability to withstand water submersion up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.
As the world continues moving forward with greener initiatives, power consumption levels are a strong consideration when selecting LED drivers. High-efficiency drivers increase energy savings and dissipate less heat, meaning that the driver itself will have an improved product lifetime. LED lighting systems tend to have a much longer lifespan than more traditional lighting systems, meaning that an energy-efficient power supply should be used to match the life expectancy.
It seems obvious, but the size of an LED driver is often overlooked. Depending on your LED project and where you’re installing the driver, you’ll need to make sure that it fits into the desired area. It shouldn’t be a problem to find one that is the appropriate size since LED drivers come in a variety of sizes, but it’s something you’ll need to consider before installation.
There are certain wired lighting control protocols that are desirable for specific lighting applications. If you want to take advantage of these, you’ll need an LED driver with that capability.
Some of these wired protocols include:
DALI is a big one for lighting systems, providing easier installation and use of ballasts and relay switches that allow for customization and dimming features.
With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), many lighting control systems have gone fully wireless. If your desired LED lighting system requires wireless connectivity, you’ll need an LED driver that supports wireless systems.
Connecting devices wirelessly like this helps designers plan out intuitive, efficient lighting systems.
Many lighting designs benefit from the ability to be dimmed, meaning that an LED driver with dimming capability will be necessary. Not only is dimming important but choosing a flicker-free LED driver is crucial as well.
Many of today’s modern wireless LED drivers use robust wireless protocols, including:
These protocols have certain strengths and weaknesses when it comes to dimming and flicker-free capability. Designers will need to weigh these pros and cons before selecting a driver for a particular use case.
There are also dimming modules that target certain special ambient lighting features. For example, dim to warm lets users adjust the color temperature by lowering the brightness of the luminaire. Taking it one step further is tunable white, with the ability adjust both the brightness and the color temperature separately.
No matter the use case, GRE Alpha has LED drivers to fit the scale of any project, including basic drivers, easy installation drivers, and more.
Our LED drivers have been used across multiple industries to power innovative LED solutions, from street lighting to horticulture. Explore our collection of LED power supplies today to find the cutting-edge lighting solutions you need.
With LightFair 2022 now behind us, we want to reflect on how amazing it was to participate again this year.
Exhibitions have always been about bringing sellers and buyers together. After a period apart, participants, including GRE Alpha, were able to collaborate and share new products and ideas.
Here’s a short recap to get everyone excited about the months ahead—and looking forward to LightFair 2023.
LightFair International is one of the best places for meeting and networking with thought and industry leaders in the LED lighting space. The focus this year was on lighting fixtures, control products, LEDs, architectural lighting, landscape lighting, and much more.
On the event floor, we had many discussions driven by the various dimming and LED driver products we offer, from BLE to 0-10V to phase dimming.
At the GRE Alpha booth, we saw rising interest across several of our products—live demonstrations were a favorite among industry visitors. We had the chance to highlight our app-controlled, multi-color FlexLight production sample during demos, as well as our wide variety of dimming modules. There was keen interest in our highly adaptable wireless models, as well as a continued focus on innovations contributing to energy conservation.
New products for this year’s LightFair included our 5-channel RGB + tunable white module and our multi-function module controlled by Casambi BLE and Tuya BLE. This innovation was made possible by our cutting-edge partnership with Casambi in 2020. Lighting professionals also put our most popular models, such as the SLD-DIM1B and the SLD-DIMTW, through their paces.
Compared to past shows, we saw some increased interest in various outdoor models (such as the XLD75 and the XLD200) when paired with our dimming modules.
You can find all of GRE Alpha’s dimming modules here.
GRE Alpha is happy to announce that we will be attending LightFair again in New York City in May of 2023. For now, you can browse our selection of dimming modules and other LED lighting technology that we highlighted at this year’s event!
It’s that time of the year—The GRE Alpha 2022–2023 Product Catalog has arrived!
We're excited to continue providing new products and innovative technologies that support our clients in the ever-changing field of LED lighting.
Here are some of our featured products for 2022:
Specifiers and designers were able to examine these products firsthand at GRE Alpha’s booth during LightFair 2022.
The catalog also includes some of the products that we’re known for, including the Plug and Play XLD75, our constant voltage LED drivers, LED dimming modules, and more.
Learn more about our innovative products in the 2022-2023 GRE Alpha product catalogs.
Lighting technology continues to accelerate at an unparalleled rate. The ability to monitor luminaires, track their status, and control nearly every aspect of their functionality opens the doors to limitless possibilities.
DALI is at the forefront of this movement.
DALI provides operators with more control over lighting fixtures than ever before—especially when it comes to streetlight LED drivers.
Let’s dive into what DALI is and how DALI is used in street lighting and smart city applications.
DALI is short for Digital Addressable Lighting Interface—it’s a standard communication protocol that powers lighting equipment and gives far more control to the lighting operator. It’s a system that provides a means for a two-way connection:
DALI was introduced to the world in the 1990s, with its successor, DALI 2, launching in 2014. As DALI continues to evolve, the potential for new applications and uses moves forward as well.
The biggest requirement for effectively using DALI in a larger system is the implementation of well-trained personnel and software tools. In most cases, the system is easy to install.
As we mentioned, technological advancements with DALI have enabled operators to unlock potential uses that leave a lasting impact.
This is especially true when it comes to street lighting. Classic street lights have become the target for operators to become a part of digital infrastructure. DALI’s light monitoring capabilities open the doors to huge energy savings with outdoor light fixtures, such as street lights.
Take this overpass in X’ian, which is a large city and the capital of the Shaanxi province in China, for example. An entire DALI-controlled lighting system was installed on the fences and the undersides of the bridges, which includes nearly 10,000 LED drivers and supporting components. The installation was made to help create a more welcoming space in the areas underneath the overpass.
However, without the high level of control provided by DALI, this project would never have come to fruition. DALI not only allows the operators to shut off and turn on the lights digitally but also gives operators full control over the brightness and color of the lights. This is crucial for changing the lights depending on the flow of traffic, or even to provide welcoming light colors in response to certain holidays.
DALI has also helped make sizable strides towards the creation of “smart cities”.
The ability to control street lights at will is only one part of the idea behind smart cities. Experts are already trying to push the boundaries of the DALI system with the capability to monitor other pertinent information, such as weather conditions, cameras, security usage, digital signage, and more.
DALI’s light monitoring capabilities provide nearly endless possibilities for the advancement of these smart cities. Operators have a system that is simple to wire and set up, yet highly functional.
GRE Alpha is an expert in creating DALI LED drivers that are rugged enough to support harsh outdoor applications. Our drivers are ideal for outdoor environments supporting ambient temperatures of -20°C to 50°C (full load) and humidity levels ranging from 5%-95%.
In addition to the manufacturing of these quality LED drivers, our affiliated firm, GRE Manufacturing, has been an accredited DALI testing facility since 2018.
GRE Alpha is proud of the current state of our partnership with DALI while also looking forward to future advancements. The opportunity to continue moving forward with DALI technology excites us and keeps us motivated to stay up to date with the latest DALI information.
For more examples of street lighting and signage, check out our product showcase. Or, if you’re looking for street lighting solutions, you can find them on our specialty solutions page.
Progression in LED technology continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible.
One of the biggest benefits of these advances is the effect of LED lighting on the horticulture industry. With horticultural LEDs, indoor gardening is not only a possibility—it’s a highly efficient method for growing plants.
Let’s look at the importance of horticultural LED lighting and how GRE Alpha is helping to advance the industry.
The Importance of Horticultural LEDs and Grow Lights
Growing plants effectively requires a combination of several factors, including nutrients, air, water, and the proper temperature. Achieving this ideal situation can be difficult, especially when the natural lighting conditions are less-than-stellar.
This is where horticultural LED lighting really makes a difference.
LED lighting provides significant advantages over traditional, existing horticultural lighting. For starters, LED lighting provides the best possible energy efficiency in a horticultural environment. LEDs tend to last longer and consume less power when compared to their older counterparts. With LEDs, the light’s spectral composition is completely controllable down to precise measurements which can influence plant growth. A wide spectral output provided by LED lighting makes it possible to effectively grow all sorts of different plants depending on their specific lighting requirements and conditions. In some cases, the presence of LED lighting can even improve the taste of certain plants.
As LED technology advances, so do the benefits to horticulture. LEDs are becoming increasingly easy to integrate into digital and programmable systems, meaning that the current state of lighting can be monitored and altered accordingly.
What Features To Look For in an LED Driver
Powering horticultural LEDs is impossible without a quality LED driver.
When searching for an LED driver, here are some potential features to look out for.
Smart driver technology
Some drivers on the market are known as “smart drivers” These LED drivers offer additional functionality achieved through a high-end processor. For example, a connected interface with the capability to communicate with the rest of the lighting system’s network.
With a wireless or cable connection, the operator can control several aspects of the lighting function, such as brightness, on/off scheduling, temperature, electrical use, and more.
Smart driver technology costs tend to be higher, meaning that they’re mostly found in commercial or industrial settings. However, the possibility for new developments in applications and interfaces make them an intriguing feature to monitor.
Dimming is often a desired feature in horticultural environments.
One common method of providing dimmable features to LED lighting is with DALI, or “Digital Addressable Lighting Interface”. DALI is a standard communication protocol that gives power to lighting equipment while also putting more control in the operator's hands. For example, a grower is able to make precise adjustments to light intensity using DALI technology.
How GRE Alpha Impacts the Horticultural LED Industry
LED drivers in a horticultural setting are exposed to many different elements that could cause malfunctions, such as humidity, moisture, and higher temperatures. There’s no avoiding these elements since they’re all associated with plant growth.
This means that LED drivers not only have to be efficient, but also highly reliable and durable.
We know that having the right lighting control system makes all the difference when it comes to effective plant growth. That’s why GRE Alpha provides a wide range of lighting control solutions suitable for a horticultural environment. Our LED powering solutions are robust and stand up to the elevated temperatures and other environmental conditions associated with plant growth.
Want to Learn More About Horticultural LEDs?
GRE Alpha is committed not only to providing high-quality and industry-leading LED technology, but also to keeping our audience up to date with the latest LED drive information.
For more information on horticultural lighting solutions from GRE Alpha, visit our specialty solutions page.