When it comes to wiring LED COB circuits, series configurations with constant current drivers are generally the easiest way to go – especially if you’re new to electronics. Since LEDs are semi-conductors and operate a little differently than most basic circuits, it’s far easier to simply drive them at their rated current with a constant current driver than it is to try and produce that current by providing a constant voltage. If you check the datasheet and find that your LED COB has a typical forward voltage of 36V at 2400mA, you don’t want to strive to give the LED 36 volts, you want to strive to give it 2400mA at whatever voltage that current happens to occur at.
When you’re picking your components and planning out your system, it’s very important to match your LED COBs with a proper driver. The goal of this guide is to get you comfortable with the basics involved with planning a simple system. If you’re brand new to growing with LED COBs, I’d recommend reading our COB LED Basics for Beginners article.
After you’ve read through this post, take a look at the DIY Guides page for a list of more specific and advanced guides and resources.
When it comes to COBs for indoor growing, the majority of people are currently using 1 of 3 proven brands: Cree, Citizen, or Bridgelux. In my opinion, if you’re looking for low-current efficiency and aren’t overly concerned with cost, go with the Crees. If you’re looking for a good all-around COB that’s easier on the wallet, or intend to drive your COBs with more current, go with Bridgelux or Citizen. The new gen. 7 & SE Veros and Version 6 Citi’s are really closing the gap in terms of efficiency, and can be found considerably cheaper (here in Canada, anyway).
Aside from cost, there are a handful of important specifications that you’ll need to consider when choosing your COB. I suggest you read through the points below, then when you have a better understanding of these few specs, read this post on how to easily compare COB LEDs using manufacturer-provided simulation spreadsheets.