LED Tip 9: Understanding Voltages

In the world of Industrial and Commercial LED Lighting, it is imperative you understand the voltages in the room or outdoor area and then choose the appropriate option. There are so many options available, and ways to solve voltage requirements. This post walks you through those options.

What are the common Voltages found in industrial and commercial areas?

The typical range in North America is between 100-480 Volts at 60Hz. And typically within this large range, you see the following steps:

  1. 100-120V (typical household or small business, like a dentist office, or small retail)
  2. 208V - not very common, but it's out there
  3. 240V - light industrial or commercial
  4. 277V - common light industrial and commercial, more common than 240V
  5. 347V - typically found in Canada
  6. 480V - found in heavy industrial environments

Common LED Driver Configurations

For this discussion, lets limit ourselves to larger fixtures and retrofits. I will not include A19s, PARs, BR's and Candelabra bulbs in this conversation.

The standard driver we include with almost all our LED products is a 100-277V Constant Current Driver. What this driver does is it allows to be hooked up to any source between 100 and 277V and adapt and self switch to the input voltage. Other drivers on the market include Constant Voltage models, but with those, you have to match perfectly the input voltage. We do not carry those.

A step up from this driver is the high voltage drivers that can handle between 277V and 480V. It is also a Constant Current Driver and self switches. These drivers are a bit more expensive than the 100-277V models, so there is typically a small fee to upgrade to this driver. This is also the driver you would consider to use if you are in Canada and need 347V. These drivers are CSA (cUL or cETL equivalent), so they are qualified for safe operation in Canada.

So what happens if you have a LED fixture that you really like, but it has a 100-277V driver and a 277V-480V options is not available. Maybe you like they style of a particular High Bay Fixture but it does not have a high voltage driver option? Well, you can always use a step-down transformer. These relatively small and safe add-ons install before the driver, so input wires accept the incoming power and voltage and step it down to the voltage of the driver.

Putting it all together

Understanding your current voltages is important to selecting the proper solution for your application. Ordering the wrong driver will save you time and money and ensure a fast and successful conversion and installation of LED.

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