We often get asked the same question again and again about led drivers and transformers – what are the main differences, how many lights can be used with them and what are the different types?
Below is a quick guide to help answer some of these questions and to help in making decisions about which to use – led driver or transformer in your garden lighting? For this blog we are going to stick to discussing 12v transformers/led drivers to avoid confusion.
As a rule of thumb a 12v DC driver will run all 12v garden lights such as led tape, integral led lamps, and retrofit MR16 lamps. However a 12v ac/dc transformer is more limited and will not run led tape or 12v dc led fittings. 12v ac/dc transformers are an older technology that were used for old halogen lighting systems, however they can still be used with most types of LEDs but not all. It may at first appear to be confusing but it quickly becomes second nature.
We often will use both transformers and led drivers on the same installation. The 12v dc led drivers are for specialised lighting such as led tapes and for the led lights in our platinum range. However we find that for retrofit led MR16 and AC/DC led 12v lights the transformers always have a better push down the cable which I’ve been told by a few mechanical engineers is due to the curve in the current.
Another question often asked is how many lights can each transformer/ driver run. When selecting your driver or transformer the rating will tell you the maximum number of fittings it can run. This is always indicated on the casing, for example a 60 watt driver can run load up to maximum of 60 watts. However if you want the unit to remain reliable never go over 80-90% of the maximum capacity. This helps keep the unit from overheating and from over stressing any of the internal components. An example of a typical load we would employ is 11 spike spots each with 5 watt lamps would be a total load of 55 watts leaving 5 watt spare. This would be the maximum load we would use on a 60w led driver.