Difference Between LED Drivers and SMPS
The basic difference between LED drivers and SMPS is as follows:
LEDs work most efficiently and safest with a constant-current drive. As a result, many new devices have been developed to provide this type of LED drive. LED power sources that provide a constant current output have typically been referred to as LED drivers.
An LED driver responds to the changing needs of the LED, or LED circuit, by providing a constant quantity of power to the LED as its electrical properties change with temperature. An LED driver is a self-contained power supply, which has outputs that are matched to the electrical characteristics of the LED or LEDs.
LED drivers may offer dimming by means of pulse width modulation circuits and may have more than one channel for separate control of different LEDs or LED arrays. The power level of the LED is maintained constant by the LED driver as the electrical properties change throughout the temperature increases and decreases seen by the LED or LEDs. Without the proper drive, the LED may become too hot and unstable, causing poor performance or failure.
A conventional SMPS provides an output that is regulated to give a constant voltage. If your LED applications are just for experimenting, you may use an SMPS and control the current by limiting resistors in series to the LEDs.