Lighting – a good PWM driver for LED lighting


I am looking at lighting options for my new flat. I'm looking for any recommendations and suggestions for the components to power and control the LEDs.

If we consider the main room (i.e. the open plan living/dining room/kitchen), my idea is to have a number of sets of lights, e.g. the dining area, the area around the TV, the kitchen, and another set of "ambient" lights.

I would like to have just one set of switches/dimmers in a single location along with a transformer and a multichannel driver (or a set of drivers), with the 12/24v line from the driver going to each set of lights (instead of the 240v mains going to all the lights).

I've googled about quite a bit, but ended up with more questions than answers. I've seen DALI and DMX512 based controllers, as well as some "raw circuitboards" if you like, but considering they don't have reviews like most consumer products, I don't really know what is good and what is not. So do you guys have any experience with or suggestions on which drivers might be a good idea?

Also, I would like to know if it is a good idea to run 12/24v wiring instead of 240v.

I would prefer to keep to drivers that use non-proprietary standards so I have the option of controlling the driver over zigbee or green phy.

Best Answer

Wow! You can use the screw in type LED bulbs, which contain their own controllers. These are typically dimmable down to about 20% using standard wiring. Here, we have Cree bulbs that look VERY similar to old Edison (tungsten) A19 bulbs, rather than the funny looking futuristic LED's. They're also much cheaper than the older screw-in LED's, about $8 each for the newest type. I don't know if they're available in your area. I LOVE THESE BULBS. ref:

If you're going with low voltage, (12V) you can use the LED strips and get rather creative, rather than using standard lighting fixtures. I replace fluorescent tube lighting with LED quite often now, for instance, or you can use them in an area with a diffuser panel below, as is typical in kitchens here. Friend of mine did the same with his bathrooms. I've also seen them used inside a paper light globe, wound in creative spirals and such, to make a unique decorative touch. Also consider using the strips as they were originally created to be used, as under-cabinet lighting. Be aware, however, you can't have a dimmer on the AC voltage side (before the transformer) and will have to use dimmers supplied for the 12V LED strips. I've seen these with remotes, and that's probably your only option for those. On a side note, the LED strips come in various color outputs (Bright white, Red/Green/Blue (for accent lighting or novelty lighting,) Warm white, etc.) The multicolor ones do require the specialty 12V controller to get all the effects.