Picking a Power Supply

Where do I start,  there are so many choices.  How do I decide?

First ask yourself, do I want to dim my tape or fixture?  If no, then you will want to select one of the CONSTANT VOLTAGE DRIVERS (Transformer).  Keep in mind you will need to match the voltage for the tape.  So if you are using a 12V tape, you will need to buy a 12V transformer.

Why can't I buy a 24V transformer for my 12V tape so I can get more power?

It doesn't work like that,  if you do not match your tape with the correct transformer your tape will not work or if it does work, it won't last long.

Well I change my mind, I want to dim my tape light but I already bought a CONSTANT VOLTAGE DRIVER (Transformer)?

No problem,  there are a number of "Low Voltage" dimmers or dimming systems you can still install that will provide you with smooth dimming capabilities.

GREAT!  But what about my theater room?  I want to use one of these smart type dimmers and control it from my phone or these cool keypads I saw.  What do I need?

The short answer is selecting a dimmable transformer that is compatible with your LED tape and then confirming it is compatible with the dimmer or dimming system you plan on using.

How many dimmable transformer types are there?

The most common types are Magnetic Transformers, Electronic Transformers and 0-10V Transformers.  Each have their own benefits and will require a little more research to determine which one will work best for your install type.

Fair enough,  what is the most common one?

In residential environments, the magnetic transformers tend to be the most common.  In a commercial installation, 0-10V transformers tend to be more common.  

If I select a Magnetic Transformer what do I need to know?

Most, not all, Magnetic Transformers need to be de-rated from their maximum load capacity. WHAT?  What this means is that if you have a 100W transformer,  good practice is to only "load" the transformer with 80W of tape.  With regards to dimmer compatibility,  magnetic transformers work with "Forward Phase" dimmers and dimming systems.

Forward Phase? I didn't know I needed a background in Star Track to figure this out.

You don't but having a basic understanding of the two more popular methods devices are energized will help you understand what dimmers will work.  The two methods are described as forward phase and reverse phase.  Forward phase is more common and work with most of your "standard" dimmers.  Reverse phase is less common and requires an Electronic or Adaptive Phase type dimmer.