Hook up leds in parallel

Power supplies allow you to power your LED and driver from a wall outlet or other source. LED lighting accessories include seals for coating electronic components, premium adhesives, switches, battery-holders, wire, power connectors, soldering irons and more. Linear LED strips are ideal for general lighting, sign or channel letters, architectural lighting and more.

Powering a series circuit:

LED Supply offers a complete lineup of LED kits that save you time and assure a successful end result for your lighting project. Hopefully those looking for practical information on electrical circuits and wiring LED components found this guide first. With years of providing LED education, training and explaining the electronic circuit concept to customers, we have gathered and prepared all the critical information needed to help you understand the concept of electrical circuits and their relationship to LEDs.

Lets get started with the most basic question…. The requirements of a lighting application often dictate what type of circuit can be used, but if given the choice, the most efficient way to run high power LEDs is using a series circuit with a constant current LED driver.

Running a series circuit helps to provide the same amount of current to each LED. When each LED is receiving the same current it helps eliminate issues like thermal runaway. The image to the right shows an example: To wire a series circuit like the one shown, the positive output from the driver connects to the positive of the first LED and from that LED a connection is made from the negative to the positive of the second LED and so on, until the last LED in the circuit.

Finally, the last LED connection goes from the negative of the LED to the negative output of the constant current driver, creating a continuous loop or daisy chain. Here are a few bullet points for reference about a series circuit:. The loop concept is no problem by now and you definitely could figure how how to wire it, but how about powering a series circuit.

Parallel LEDs - the problem | LEDnique

This means you have to supply, at minimum, the sum of the forward voltages of each LED. Lets take a look at this by using the above circuit again as an example and lets assume the LED is a Cree XP-L driven at mA with a forward voltage of 2. Now lets say one of them gets a bit warm, and it now pulls more current.

Parallel Circuit:

Now we have 7 LEDs receiving current meant for 8. Rinse, lather and repeat until the final LED gets all mA and comes to a fiery end. Yes you can do that, and to balance the brightnesses you can put a resistor in series with each individual LED varying the value of the resistor to compensate for the difference in brightness.

Also, if you put a single current-limiting resistor in series with the complete LED group, you will need to take into account the fact that you are using multiple LEDs and calculate the total required current allowing for their differences in forward voltage drop and the values of their individual resistors if you have put those in , and you cannot use the same value of resistor that you would use if you had just one LED.


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As "Andy aka" has mentioned above, you need to watch out for such situations. But if you use the correct current-limiting resistors for each individual LED then there shouldn't be a problem although you will need to determine the correct value for the resistor by measuring the forward voltage drop across each LED, which is not a very elegant approach to circuit design.

Yet another possible solution is this. More expensive than resistors, but it pretty much guarantees equal brightness for each LED with much more relaxed voltage requirements. Just be careful of power dissipation and temperature de-rating. For example, let's say you have 2-volt red LEDs, and you are running them in a car, with a supply voltage between 12V and 15V more or less.

You can them connect as many of these modules in parallel as you want. Of course as your supply voltage falls, the LEDs will dim. But they wont all blow up if one fails. For decent results you need to "bin" the LEDs.

If you had 6 red leds in series, then 12 volts at 20 milliamps is required. In parallel wiring, the current requirements are additive, but the voltage drop remains the same; for example, if each red led has a 2 volt forward voltage drop and a maximum 20 milliamps, and you put 2 in parallel, then you will need 2 volts at 40 milliamps to drive the leds to maximum brightness If you had 6 red leds in parallel, then 2 volts at milliamps is required.

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Parallel LEDs – the problem

The object is to find which method or combination of methods gets your power requirements in your led wiring scheme, to closly match the power source. Having voltage much higher than needed results in the need for very large, expensive, hard to find, and inefficient current limiting resistors that waste energy by getting real hot.

By using a power supply that is just slightly higher voltage than needed,or by putting leds in series will result in a more efficient design, and the current limiting resistors needed will be much smaller and very inexpensive and easy to find. If you need to hook up many leds The correct way is to place several leds in series, and then several series strings in parallel with each other, thereby needing neither the high voltage needed with series wiring, or the high current needed with all parallel wiring.

Automotive voltages fluctuate from under 12volts dc to as high as We suggest using current limiting resistors based on your highest battery reading with alternator running full blast. The leds wont be as bright when the car isnt running, but you wont blow them up. Alternately, you can use an IC as a Buck Regulator and put your set point at 12vdc and calculate resistors based on 12 volts.