Unraveling the Differences: Isolated VS Non-Isolated LED Drivers

Often customers will ask: commercial lighting with isolated driver or non-isolated driver good? So what is the difference between isolated driver and non-isolated? In this article, KingOrnan engineers will PK from 4 aspects to tell you the difference between the isolated and non-isolated power supply.

Unraveling the Differences: Isolated VS Non-Isolated LED Drivers

Which is safer, isolated or non-isolated power supplies?

What is isolated, the isolated power supply is the input and output through the transformer to achieve electrical connection; the transformer conversion process ware: electric – magnetic – electric, no and earth connection, the use of transformers will be high voltage through the transformer will drop the voltage to a lower voltage, and then rectified into DC output. So there is no risk of electric shock.

Isolated Driver circuit

isolated Driver circuit

The non-isolated power conversion process is “electric-electric,” using high voltage through the inductor and other components to step down the voltage and rectify the DC output, which is the input power through the voltage rise and falls directly on the LED load; there is a risk of electric shock.

Non-isolated Driver circuit

Non-isolated Driver circuit

Therefore, it is necessary to pass UL and CE …. These safety certifications, non-isolated, are difficult; insulation and creepage distance are not enough and can only be designed from the physical structure of the lamp. The tube lamp is acceptable, there are also all-plastic, but the bulb is an aluminum shell, so the PCB board and the shell have to strengthen the insulation, originally the bulb power available space was very small, so coupled with the strict creepage requirements, it isn’t easy to do. As a product that allows the end user to use it safely, the reliability of insulation and isolation will be considered.

Which is more advantageous, cost or size, isolated or non-isolated power supplies?

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Compared to isolated power supplies, non-isolated power supplies mainly reduce the transformer, with the least amount of material to design the architecture, to do the same product function, so non-isolated drives have a smaller size and the cost also has a greater advantage. The cost advantage of non-isolated drives is why non-isolated power supplies are now used in large numbers for one of the main reasons.

Which performs better, isolated or non-isolated power supplies?

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Non-isolated drives will have less energy loss because there is no transformer as a component. Power supply efficiency can generally reach 90% or more and have a higher power factor. Isolation generally has an efficiency of 88%, depending on the power, so isolated power supplies also generate more heat.

Non-isolated drives have fewer components and are less stable; why is this? The reason is that non-isolated circuits are very sensitive to surges and have poor suppression capabilities. Non-isolated power supply, in bulk shipments, the return rate is higher than the isolated LED drive power supply, mostly because voltage instability led to components blowing badly. The non-isolated return rate is generally 2% to 3%, while the isolated power supply fried return chances to be much smaller, about three-thousandths of a percent.

Many countries have unstable grid voltage, non-isolated will 300V straight through the output, hitting the chip, burning LED load. Isolation will also occur when the IC chip, MOS tube, and constant current loop burn, but isolation is relatively much less. So the non-isolated drive in the anti-surge varistor is an essential component.

Which has a wider load range and better stability, isolated or non-isolated power supplies?


Generally speaking, an isolated power supply output voltage load range of 30-42V, non-isolated output voltage load range can be 30-84V. Many LED manufacturers in the choice of power supply to the overall adaptability are required to adapt to the power supply full voltage 90-265V input; the load range also requires up to 84V, and such a choice is a certain risk and hidden harm. 90V input The power supply may lose its constant current function and THD.

Non-isolated is suitable for high voltage and small currents, but the cost of doing high currents is not cheaper than isolated.

Non-isolated Driver VS Isolated Driver

type input/output efficiency cost volume
Isolated Power isolation transformer isolation normal high big
non-Isolated Power I/O common ground high cost-effective small
type safety reliable Number of components
Isolated Power safer high high
non-Isolated Power risk of electric shock low low


Non-isolated power supplies focus on higher power factor and efficiency, reducing energy loss, and have higher cost advantages. Isolated power supplies focus on the overall safety of the luminaire and are slightly inferior to non-isolated power supplies in terms of power factor and efficiency. Hence, the choice is a matter of opinion. Choose the right solution according to your market demand and product positioning.

If you want to fully understand the LED power supply, please check: Take you to know the LED power supply

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