Lighting is made up of several different components working as a whole to create illumination. When it comes to LED lighting, one of the most important parts is the driver. This electrical device is essential for controlling the amount of power being supplied to a LED light source. This self-contained power source is responsible for adjusting the power levels as the light changes, as well as the dimmable properties. If a LED is operating without a driver, it will eventually start to operate at a hotter temperature and reduce efficiency. Another important element is the chip. The chip is a small part with a negative and passive end that helps transform electricity into illumination. The driver and the chip work together to achieve an efficient and powerful LED lighting product. For those using LED lights that seem to be experiencing performance issues, there are questions about how to check these two essential components.
How do you know if you have an issue with the driver and/or chip?
For the most part, your LED light will show signs of concerns in some pretty generic ways such as appearing dimmer than usual, taking longer to turn on, or a complete loss of power. While this could be a few things such as burned out bulbs or a wiring issue, another way to know it might be the driver or chip is if the light turns on dimly and then suddenly shuts itself off.
Can LED drivers and chips be checked in the field if they are failing?
Wiring connections and environmental conditions can be checked in the field in most cases. The driver input and output powers could also be checked for any issues as well. A fixture failing to start up or stay lit once on can be easily diagnosed to rule out the LED strip/chip as the source of failure. Simply swap out the suspected faulty driver for a good driver from another fixture. This will tell you indefinitely if the problem is the driver. You can do the same thing with the chip to determine if that is the issue.
While it is very unlikely to have issues with the drivers, chips, and boards in most LED fixtures, it’s always good to know as much as possible about your lighting. The more you know, the easier it is to make repairs instead of replacing the whole lighting system.