The LED driver acts not only as an electrical current management system, but also protects LEDs from current or voltage fluctuations. The latest trend in LED lighting ties into wireless networks by replacing a variable resistor known as a potentiometer with wireless electronic control. One of GRE Alpha's technology partners, Lutron, offers its Caseta smart lighting control system to seamlessly integrate other smart home products such as Alexa, Siri, Google assistant, Sonos speakers and more.
As lightning-fast advancements in LED technology transform the commercial and residential lighting and markets, new challenges are constantly arising. One of the things we have learned over time is that life and reliability expectations will not be met if we do not pay attention to the type of drivers and power supplies used for powering and dimming LEDs.
While LED lighting has many great benefits -- including energy savings -- one of the potential disadvantages is LEDs require a flow of consistent and constant electrical current, at the exact required voltage.
Dimmers use an array of technologies to control light sources. Two common dimming technologies are forward phase and reverse phase.
Forward Phase (TRIAC)
TRIAC dimmers are leading edge in which the electrical current is turned off at the front of the AC input waveform immediately after the zero crossing. TRIAC dimming is the most common dimming method. While originally paired with incandescent bulbs, some models are compatible with CFL and LED loads. Forward phase dimmers are often more affordable and simpler in terms of design than other types of dimmers. However, LED's do not respond well to the irregular, "chopped" wave forms that simple TRIAC dimming provides. They work best with a constant voltage, with dimming accomplished lowering the current supplied to the LED. Attempting to use the direct output of a TRIAC dimmer could result in flickering, diminished LED lifetime and possibly an LED dimming range of less than the ideal 0 to 100%. Selecting the right components can address these issues.
Reverse Phase (ELV): The ELV dimmable LED driver is a trailing edge or reverse phase dimmer which means that the electrical current is turned off at the end of the of the AC input waveform immediately before the zero crossing. It has a lower minimum load (often 10W), making it a better choice for dimming modestly sized low-powered lighting circuits. Reverse phase-cut dimming is designed specifically for low-voltage (ELV) systems and almost always requires the use of a neutral wire. ELV dimmers are generally very compatible with LED loads, offering smoother dimming to low levels. Reverse phase dimmers are more expensive but tend to outlast their forward phase counterparts.
Flickering (typically seen with LEDs and CFLs) can be rectified by adjusting the dimming range on the Caseta Wireless dimmer. Recognizing the performance advantages and limitations of TRIAC and ELV, GRE Alpha's design team created the XLA series which incorporates a patented synchronized dimming technology that mimics incandescent dimming technology to allow full range, flicker-free dimming of LED lighting fixtures for both CC and CV loads. The long-term savings are significant.
GRE Alpha's ELV dimmable LED driver is fully compatible with most TRIAC/ELV/SCR phase dimmers on the market today. There is no dimmer on the market which provides better dimming performance or wider dimming compatibility. To maximize savings and sustainability, you can source the ELV driver directly from GRE Alpha or any of our authorized distributors like Arrow Electronics. You will find the same quality reputable products at Lutron and Lutron retail outlets. Lutron's Caseta Wireless PRO products are available to professional installers. These specialty products have features that may assist professionals in installing Caseta Wireless systems in a wider range of applications.
Filed in: New Product