High power LEDs (like all LEDs) are current driven devices. This means that the higher the drive current, the brighter the LED. This is different than traditional lighting products where higher voltages usually produce brighter light.
This is an essential concept to understand when you are working with LEDs as most power supplies are designed to regulate voltage, not current. So just connecting an LED to a standard DC voltage regulated power supply (such as a DC wall adapter) will almost certainly destroy the LED as the current is not being regulated.
Most designers use current regulating LED drivers between a DC power supply and the LED. The driver ensures that the current to the LED is never allowed to exceed the maximum current rating of the LED.
The output voltage of the DC power supply is not important, as long as it is at least a few volts higher than the forward voltage rating (Vf) of the LED. For example, you could use a 24VDC power supply to power a single LED with a forward voltage rating of 3.15 Vf, as long as you include a suitable current regulating driver between the power supply and the LED.
There are many different kinds of current regulating drivers, but for the highest efficiency, pulse width modulated (PWM) drivers are generally preferred. They are small, cool running and highly efficient. We offer a complete line of ready to use current regulating drivers specifically designed to power high power LEDs.
These drivers are straightforward to use. Just connect a DC or AC power supply to the input of the driver, and the LED to the output. The driver will ensure that the current to the LED is never allowed to exceed safe levels.