LED Headlight Supplier: Integrated Driver VS. External Driver, which is Better?

LED Headlight Supplier: Integrated Driver VS. External Driver, which is Better?

Due to the development of LED headlight technology, more and more people are familiar with the long lifespan, high brightness, and energy savings associated with LED car light bulbs. When you are looking for LED headlights, you may have found that some LED bulbs carry a small external box while others do not. Does this small box truly matter to the LED headlight bulbs? Yes, these newer LED headlights use specialized devices called LED drivers to operate. LED drivers (also known as LED power suppliers) are similar to the ballast. It provides LED bulbs with the correct current to function and perform at their best.


Below, we will discuss the pros and cons of integrated and external drivers and separately show you the best-seller headlight bulb with an integrated driver and external driver.


There are two main types of automotive LED headlight drivers: Integrated driver and external driver.

1. Integrated Driver: We will notice some all-in-one design LED headlight bulbs on the market; They look compact and very convenient for installation. Do they have a driver? Yes, they have a driver. All the LED headlights have IC driver to operate the LED headlight and control the forward current. In terms of all-in-one LED headlight bulbs, the car light bulb makers have made the driver integrated with the LED bulbs, so you can only see the LED bulb, wire, and the plug.

2. External Driver: Some LED headlight bulbs come with a small outer box; this is the external driver. The external driver is designed to operate LED with applicable electrical requirements. From the picture, LED headlight bulbs with an external driver will show you that LED bulbs first connect to the driver, and then the driver links to the plug.

LED headlamp Driver Painted Circuit Board Display

Here is the PCB of the LED headlight bulb driver. It is a thin board made of various materials used to connect electronic components electrically. LED headlight bulbs use these boards so as to function effectively.、


LED Car Bulb Comparison: External Driver VS. Integrated Driver


A. Integrated driver LED headlights are space-saving and are easier to installation

All-in-one designed LED headlight bulbs are equipped with a built-in driver. They are more compact and have a smaller bulb size. They can be easily installed into the headlight housing, leaving enough room to close the dust cover. These all-in-one designed LED bulbs are beneficial to air circulation inside the headlight housing.


B. External driver LED car bulbs need extra room to place the driver

External driver headlight bulbs needed enough space to place the Canbus driver inside the headlight housing. If the driver is designed too large, it could be difficult to install for some medium or small headlight housing.

Design Difficulty

A. Integrated driver is more difficult to design

The integrated driver LED bulb design is limited by the bulb base (LED headlamp aluminum finned radiator). Therefore, it has to be tested repeatedly to ensure the electronic circuit is in the right direction and the layout of components such as capacitance, resistors, inductance, control IC, Etc. They cannot be put down if there’s a slight mistake.


Integrated drivers have higher requirements for processing technology, which has become a hinder for many small LED headlight factories. Only a few large headlight bulb manufacturers with strong originality and productivity can manufacture high-performance integrated PCB drivers, such as NAOEVO.

B. External Driver LED headlights are relatively easy to design

The external driver has additional space to place. Thus, components such as the diode, MOS tube, and resistance have a relatively loose space to layout, and the manufacturing process requirements are not so high. Because they are more effortless to produce, most of the LED bulbs on the market come with external driver.


LED headlight bulbs with an external driver are designed with a higher power than LED bulbs with a built-in driver. The integrated headlight bulbs have a driver inside their body, which could cause pressure of heat dissipation. Thus, it is better to design these integrated bulbs with lower power.


Heat Dissipation

No matter external driver or internal driver LED headlight bulbs. They are outfitted with high-speed fans for active cooling. However, the heat dissipation of LED bulbs with an external driver is better than that of the built-in driver LED bulbs. You can image that the PCB is working in a hot oven for the built-in driver. In contrast, the external driver works at room temperature.


Whether internal or external, a driver must contain consistent electronic components. When the LED bulb is on, these electronic components will heat up rapidly to reach around 80℃. It means that the cooling system of LED headlights needs to handle the heat generated from the LEDs as well as the extra heat from the driver.


In this case, the LED headlight bulb manufacturer has to enlarge the heat sink volume or install a higher RPM fan to deal with the additional heat. Besides, they can also decrease the forward as well as the lumen output to lower the total heat amount created from LED chips and electronic components.


So, if there are two LED headlights, one is the integrated LED headlight while the other is the LED headlight with an external driver, their bulb size, cooling system, components are all the same. LED headlight bulb with an external driver can be designed with a higher output to produce brighter light. However, the all-in-one designed LED bulbs tend to be more stable than the former.


Brand-new LED headlight bulb with external driver


NAOEVO Max3 Series LED Headlight Bulb

As mentioned above, LED headlight bulbs carried with an external driver can design with relatively high lumen output. They operate with more stable power than all-in-one design LED headlight bulbs. However, not all the LED bulbs come with this performance.
These NAOEVO Max3 LED headlight bulbs maximally illuminate the road with a high power of 120W 13,000lumens pairs. The most outstanding feature of Max3 LED bulbs is that they have a super stable power output.


LED headlight bulb testing

To illustrate clearly, we have tested the power stability of Max3 headlight bulbs (dual-beam LED bulb for testing); For the beginner, the initial power of Max3 is 57 watts and 6494 lumens. After 10 minutes, it gradually at a stable output of 55 watts and 6317 lumens.


Some LED car light bulb makers are likely to make the bulb comes up to the power of 80 to 90W. It is advertising hype, and the bulb's power will drastically drop as the temperature increases.



Products like Max3 LED headlight bulbs are equipped with an intelligent Canbus driver, which means that these bulbs are compatible with your vehicle’s advanced computer system. They can intelligently increase the current safely without damaging the bulbs. Max3 LED headlight bulbs can be fixed for over 98% of vehicles. Let’s see what problems can Canbus driver solve?


(1) Bulb flashing when turning on
(2) Vehicle dashboard warning
(3) Radio interference


We may have seen some buyers complained that the LED bulb driver is too large to put into the headlight housing. Before buying LED headlights, you should avoid a big driver. Putting such a big driver right next to the heat source, it’s not a good recipe because it limits the bulb in the amount of light it can create.


It is better to look for LED headlight bulbs with a small external driver like Max3 that can dissipate its heat instead of being overwhelmed by the heat of the bulb.


With a reasonable driver size, Max3 LED headlight bulbs can be installed in either small size headlight housing or medium size headlight housing.

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