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What Power Supply Do I Need for LED Lights?

It is not a simple thing to choosing the right power supply for your lights. LED lights are different from traditional candelabrum lamps. These LEDs operate at low DC voltages. So, various factors affect the selection process. So how can you choose a suitable power supply, and which power supply do you need for your LED lights?

You can select the power supply based on your LED lights. Include the required output/input voltage and power consumption. All will ensure the power supply to be compatible with your lights. The power must have some safety features. It is good for lights lifespan under 80% unload.

Without choosing the right power supply, your lights may not work properly, and there may even be certain safety hazards.

There we will give you some factors below, which will guide you through buying a proper power supply. Based on your LED’s type and the solutions to safety and interference issues.

How the Power Supply Works?

A power supply works by providing the right amount of voltage, allowing electronics to operate without causing any overheating or any malfunction. Choosing the wrong power supply may cause the lights not able to work.

LEDs are nonlinear devices. When the diode’s forward voltage exceeds, the current rises as well. The increased current can cause a hazard due to extra heating of the diode. So to prevent this, you must select a power supply that can deliver the appropriate voltage.

The most suitable power supply will be the one whose output voltage is above the LED’s forward voltage. To limit the current in the LED using the current emitting resistor provided by the diode.

Temperature and Brightness Control:

The brightness and temperature of LEDs have a strong link with the power supply. The power supply can be a constant voltage or a constant current device.

In a constant voltage power supply, the current will vary in the LED. The current will also change the brightness of the lights. In the constant current supply, the manufacturer sets the current at a maximum level, which leads to the maximum efficiency and reliability of the power supply.

Dimming Effect and Pulsing:

To achieve the pulsing and dimming effect, vary the current. You can change the current between zero and the maximum current rating of the diode. In this way, you can control the brightness of the bulb.

The frequency of the LED must be high enough so that pulsing or flickering is not visible to the human eye. Usually, this flickering occurs at the constant (high) frequency. This process occurs using the PWM (Pulse width modulation) technique.

Factors Affecting the Choice of Power Supply:

Before buying a power supply, one must know the following factors. They play an essential role in choosing a suitable power supply.

Correct Voltage Choice

LED strips work on two levels of voltage 12 V DC or 24V DC. Select the power supply whose voltages are compatible with the LED strip voltage. If you have a 12V LED strip, you will need a power supply with 12V as output and 120V AC input. If you choose a 24V adapter for a 12V LED, it will damage it.

Another factor that you might consider with voltage is current. For instance, let your circuit operates at 18A while all the appliances in the circuit use 14A. The extra 4A is a power feed. They will increase the voltage, and hence you will need to choose an adapter with a higher voltage rating.

It would help if you considered the voltage drop. After a certain length, the LEDs in the strip show a voltage drop and need reconnection with the power supply. So, you must know the size of the strip that will be suitable before the voltage drop.

Type of Power Supply

There are three types of power supply, constant current, constant voltage, and cc & cv. LED ceiling light usually use as the constant current type. The LED strips can work with the constant voltage power supplies. They will work if they have a built-in design for a CVS.

Correct Power Consumption

There are two essential things about power consumption. These are the number or density of LEDs on the strips and the size of LEDs. Both of them, if increased, will boost up the power consumption. So this choice depends on your need for the type of LED strip. If you want a higher power efficiency, you can select a strip with lesser and smaller LEDs.

How do you calculate the power consumption? For this, you must know the length of the strip and the per meter(or foot) power consumption of the strip. Multiply the total length of the LEDs in meters/foot with the power consumption per meter/foot. It will yield the total power consumption for the strip you are using.

In case your LED has a power consumption of 80 watts. Then at least the power supply’s power rating must be 96 watts or above. For LEDs to have the longest life span, they must work under 80% of the total power rating of the power supply. So, choosing a power output above the LED’s power need is necessary.

Dimmable or Non-Dimmable Power Supply

You must select a power supply supporting the dimmable feature. It will work best with your dimmable LED. Each power supply states as if it could be comparable with the dimmable LEDs or not. These dimmable power supplies are pretty expensive than the other simple power supplies. You can consider buying a separate LED dimmer to save money. Make sure that the dimmer is compatible with either a 12V or 24V supply. Dimmers are not expensive. They are usually installed between the power supply and LED strip.

Safety and Water Resistance

It would help if you kept in mind where you will use the LEDs. This way, you can select the power supply with a considerable waterproof rating. For outdoor and open environment usage, you must prefer the power supply with a higher IP rating. The most preferable are IP65, IP67, and above then these.

Ensure that the Power supply you choose has certain safety features, such as over-current and over-temperature protection. Also, must have short circuit protection available on the power supply. These safety features will shut down the power supply in faulty conditions, saving you from a dangerous hazard.

How To Avoid Interference With The Work Of The Strip?

LEDs can cause interference when interacted with specific frequencies. An RF noise occurs when the pulsing of LEDs occurs at high frequencies. This RF noise can cause TV or radio interference. Most of the time, this happens when the LED lights are on and can ruin the fun of your AM radio.

How to fix TV/Radio interference from LED lights? Below following measures can help to avoid radio or TV interference.

● You can avoid interference by using a good-quality LED bulb. Many LEDs are cheaper and have no brand or standard to be a cause of interference. So, always select good quality and suitable standard LEDs.

● To avoid interference, you can change the LED’s transformer. It would help if you chose a transformer with better EMI suppression.

● Use small lengths of cable to avoid interference and reduce LED failure. Using a shielded cable can prevent interference.

● Add Ferrite chokes or ferrite beads, also known as EMI filters, to the LEDs to avoid LED interference.

How To Check The Power Supply You Bought Is Correct Or Not?

It would help if you considered all the above factors. Then you can be confident that the power adapter you choose is compatible with the LED. Now you can be sure that you bought a suitable power supply.

A wrong power supply will cause errors such as overheating or faulty operation of the LED. So, ensure you check all the ratings and voltage, power, and current levels. The power supply that matched your LED lights is very important.


Now you know how you can buy a suitable power supply for your LED. You can check all the factors and buy the supply you need. You must consider all the above crucial factors if you want to buy a suitable power supply.

Consider buying a good quality power supply with high quality. Make sure that it is compatible with your LED lights. It is the best approach to buy a decent product. It is now up to you what type of power supply you select and for what purpose. Now, search for the different kinds of power supplies and choose the right one to power your lights.


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