Don't Get a Lemon: Comparing Quality of Drivers for LED Tubes

Many people are aware about the long-life spans that LEDs provide, but what many people aren't aware of is the LED driver that's installed to operate the light. A driver for an LED is just as important as the chips themselves.

What's a driver?

A driver is an AC/DC converter that provides LEDs with the current power supply to function and perform their best. LEDs run on direct current that doesn't have a constant cycling that alternating currents have, which is the key to a long-life span and tremendous efficiency that only LEDs bring to the lighting market. An LED driver responds to the different voltage capabilities by providing a constant quality of response of power.

What is a ballast?

Ballasts send out massive voltage spikes to fluorescent tubes, which jumpstarts a gas reaction in the tube, causing the tube to turn on. Old fluorescent tubes require a ballast to function. LEDs, however, do not require a ballast.

Ballasts are extremely damaging to LEDs. Since LEDs do not contain gas, they do not need a voltage spike from ballasts to turn on; therefore, the alternating on/off cycles and voltage spikes from ballasts will burn out the tube. When upgrading to LEDs, simply remove your ballast connect line to one end and neutral to the other, and you will have a long-lasting LED tube.

What's the difference in the quality of drivers?

It's most important to recognize the quality of the drivers to ensure their lifespan. The LED chips themselves are extremely durable and are rarely the cause of failure in a light. A driver will be the part of the light that fails. Because drivers are not visible and they're the most expensive part of the light, this is where most companies cut corners, making it the most common fail area.

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Refer to the pictures above to see the comparison between our drivers and our competition. The commonly found drivers online (left) and our ELEDlights drivers (right). Our drivers come in plastic tubes to protect the driver from unwanted dust, dirt, etc. As you can see, the driver from "the other guys" has a goo-like substance that's attaching the driver to the light. The messy substance leaks onto the LEDs, which can lead to a burn out or failure of the light. This "goo" is used as a cost-cutting mechanism to compensate for poor design. It also spreads onto the driver and on top of the numeric soldering on the face, which is another reason for shortages. With a low-quality driver, LEDs will perform poorly and will burnout or overheat. If you're thinking about upgrading to LEDs, you're going to want lights that won't need to be replaced again.

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The market is overwhelmed with cheap LED tubes with poor quality. It is hard for customers to differentiate between tubes when buying online, since quality components, such as the driver, are not externally visible on the product.

At ELEDLights, we stand by our warranty, because we take the time to evaluate our products and pay for higher quality components.

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This photo (left picture) is taken from "the other guys" tubes. Note the loosely placed components that are slanted and touching when components are touching, it can lead to a short and cause the product to die immediately.

ELEDLights tubes (right picture top tube) has a clean and organized look. Our drivers are attached internally and incased to the tubes so they can be protected from any external environmental damage. While other tubes (bottom tube) are using a cheap adhesive paste to connect the driver to the light.

The parent company of ELEDLights is Manncorp. We have been in business and operating for over 50 years dealing with the machines that assemble circuit boards and place components and LEDs. Our engineers know exactly what to look for and are beyond critical of any product we consider going through our testing progress. ELEDLights' lighting is quality checked at the factory, packed securely for shipping, and backed up by a strong warranty. We also offer a Risk-Free Trial. Keep your boxes and if for some reason you are unhappy with your purchase, use the pre-paid return label included and mail us back your lights in their original packaging and you will receive a full refund. Check out our website for more!