Q) Can you help me decide if I need Trailing Edge or Leading Edge dimmers and drivers?
A) That's not always an easy question to answer. Both driver types are readily available on the market and we at Hi-Line stock these for different purposes. Typically, Trailing Edge drivers are used to cover upward of 60W-100W loads, while Leading Edge drivers tend to be commonly used at 100W loads and above. This, however, is not a rule that's always set in stone.
Traditionally, Leading Edge dimmers have backgrounds in halogen and incandescent lighting; because they have higher minimum loads they don't always lend themselves to efficiently controlling LEDs, which can result in behavioural issues, whether it be irregular dimming, buzzing or flickering. This is often why Mains Dimming is not considered a standard protocol and as such it is extremely important that if you do require Leading Edge dimming, you make sure to match Leading Edge drivers to Leading Edge dimmer switches.
On the other hand, Trailing Edge dimmers have lower minimum loads and can therefore provide arguably greater performance for LED strips in particular. They can drive strips far more efficiently, eliminating buzzing noises and other caveats associated with Leading Edge dimmers. In essence, if you require low wattage loads, Trailing Edge dimmers and drivers are the way to go.
That said, sometimes you can't always go such a simple route. If your strip loads are high and you have no choice but to go with Leading Edge drivers and dimmers, you must be prepared to carry out the necessary testing involved in order to successfully match products. You may find that your first dimmer doesn't work well and so you will need to try another. This simply comes down to process of elimination; at the end of the day, as long as you are matching Leading Edge to Leading Edge or Trailing Edge to Trailing Edge, then you are off to a good start.
There is of course and alternative to either of these options, which is 0-10V dimming. This can produce smooth results and dispense with the potential headache of working with mains dimming altogether.
You can browse our selection of Mains Dimmable drivers HERE. Be sure to pay attention to the product descriptions, as these will always state what dimmer type is being looked at. For help with selecting the right driver size, follow this equation if using LED strips:
watts per metre x total length in metres = base wattage. Multiply this number by 1.2 to reach the driver size.
14.4 (watts per metre) x 5 (metres) = 72 (watts) x 1.2 = 86.4. Therefore, a 100W power supply is needed.