How to Connect LED Modules into AC Network

In my earlier post I went through the procedure of how to physically connect a single LED component into an AC network. The connection was made between COB LED and the LED driver. When connecting LED modules (LED diodes assembled on the PCB board) you do it pretty much the same way with slight differences.

Connecting an SMD LED module into the AC network

As with a COB LED component, you will need a suitable driver for your module (see: how to choose a constant current LED driver).  You connect the positive terminals and the negative terminals of the LED driver and the LED module together to create a closed electrical circuit.

The difference to connecting a single LED component is that you may have to connect several LED modules into the same LED driver. In such case, you have to use series connection. This means that you still have to create a closed electrical circuit formed by the LED driver and these LED modules on the secondary side. You arrange the primary side like you would with single LED components. On the secondary size you connect the positive terminal of the first LED module (leftmost module in Figure 1) into the positive terminal of the LED driver. Then you connect the negative terminal of the last module (rightmost module in Figure 1) to the negative terminal of the LED driver. See Figure 1 below that shows all connections between the components.

Figure 1. Connection of LED modules into AC network through the driver.

How do you make other connections? Series connection means that you always connect the negative terminal of the previous array to the positive terminal of the following array in the chain. See again Figure 1. The output voltage of your LED driver defines how many LED modules you can drive with one driver. In case of Figure 1, one LED driver drives three LED modules. If voltage over LED module is for example 12V, the output voltage of the LED driver should exceed 36V. In the real world, you have to take into account tolerances. So in this case, 40V can be used as target for the driver maximum output voltage.

In the same way, you can connect multiple COB LEDs in series. This may be the case when you need vast amount of light.

How to actually do it?

As for physical connections of SMD LED modules, there are four options:

  1. PCB terminal block connectors
  2. Soldering
  3. Wire-to-board connectors
  4. Board-to-board connectors

PCB terminal block connectors are quite popular. They are soldered on the PCB board in the reflow process (in reflow oven) after the assembly process. You push the wires into those PCB terminal blocks in the same way as you would push the wires into the push-in terminals of solderless connectors in the single COB case.

Figure 2. PCB terminal block connector (2-pole)

Soldering is an option, if there are separate soldering pads reserved on the PCB to solder the wire(s) with tin. Soldering is usually a more cost effective option.

The numbers 3 and 4 are the special cases when you wish to interconnect two modules with each other. I’ll skip them for now and save them for later post.

If you’re interested in aLED’s new, improved LED modules, read more over here.

Feel free to drop a comment if you have questions on this topic.