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National Semiconductor Power Products

- Seminar 3 (LED Lighting)

Dr. Iain Mosely Converter Technology Ltd.

Slide 1

Background on LEDs Power Electronics for Driving LEDs LED Driver Specific Solutions

Application Specific LED Drivers System Lifetime

Slide 2

Background on LEDs
Behaves like a constant voltage load
Light output (Luminous Flux) is proportional to drive current

Relatively high efficiency but still produce a lot of heat

Careful thermal management is required
Luminous Devices PhlatLight

Slide 3

LED Drive Requirements

For controlled Lumen output and operating junction temperature, the LED should be driven by a constant current source The current source should be protected so that disconnection of the LED doesnt lead to a dangerous over-voltage situation A standard constant voltage DC/DC converter will generally not work properly due to the shape of the LED V-I curve The driver should be designed to match the potential lifetime of the LED Mains power systems will often require galvanic isolation

Slide 4

LED Drive Requirements

-How can we make a high efficiency current source?

Still need a switched mode DC/DC converter for high efficiency Feedback system is modified so that it delivers constant current rather than constant voltage Any traditional voltage output PWM feedback system can be turned into a constant current system


Rf b1



5 6

3 2

+ -

+ -


Rf b2

Rf b2

Standard PWM Feedback System for Constant Output Voltage

Modification of Feedback System for Constant Output Current

Slide 5

LED Drive Requirements

-Design Methodology

Decide on power topology based on maximum LED string voltage (Vledmax) and minimum input voltage (Vinmin) If Vinmin > Vledmax use a buck or synchronous buck converter If Vledmax > Vinmin use a boost converter If the output LED string voltage sits between the min and max input voltage, use a SEPIC, flyback or buck-boost


LED DRIVER Topology??


Slide 6

Example LED Driver

- LM5020 Boost Converter

Drive 10 series connected LEDs at 1A from a 12-24Vdc input

Each LED has a nominal Vf of 3.5V at 1A (i.e. boost to ~35Vdc)

Other than the feedback system, the design of switched mode converter systems for LED drivers is the same as for standard regulated voltage systems

LM5020 Controller

36mm x 40mm

For details on this design (RD009), visit

Slide 7

Example LED Driver

- Sensing LED Current

Vref is typically between 0.6V and 1.2V

D2 LED Vcc

Rfb2 will experience a power loss of (Iled x Vref)



5 6

+ -

Rf b2

E.g. For 1A drive current and 1.2V, Rfb2 dissipates 1.2W

Vcc VOUT Vcc

LED Specific ICs tend to use a lower Vref voltage or utilise an internal op-amp to give some gain

Vref 7

5 6

5 D6 LED 6

+ -

+ -


Rf b3


Slide 8

Feedforward Control
Previous slides show full feedback control i.e. the LED drive current is directly measured and used to form an error signal in a closed loop controller
With feedforward techniques, knowledge of the system behaviour is used to infer and control the LED current through control of a system parameter which is already available


Controlling peak switch current directly controls the peak inductor current Peak inductor current is very closely related to the DC LED current..


Peak switch current control will indirectly control the DC LED current..!

Slide 9

Feedforward Control
-PoE LED Light

RD005 implements a 10W PoE LED driver using feedforward buck converter Efficiency ~ 87% Drives three Luxeon K2 LEDs at 750mA

Slide 10

National LED Drivers


Leverages existing proven power design technology and process technology to provide a range of parts specifically tailored to driving high brightness LEDs

Most LED driver ICs are Webench enabled, speeding up part selection and initial design
LM34xx are LED specific parts Includes major topologies (Buck, Boost, Buck-Boost) Includes controllers and regulators

Slide 11

Opportunity Qualification
Need to ask input voltage range, output voltage range and required drive current Assumes we drive a single series string of LEDs
DC Voltage DC Voltage
Vinmax? Vledmax?

DC Voltage


Input Voltage Range

Vinmin? Vledmax?

LED Voltage Range

Vledmin? Vinmax?


LED Voltage Range Input Voltage Range


LED Voltage Range


Input Voltage Range



Vinmin > Vledmax

Vinmax > Vledmin

Any overlap between LED voltage and input voltage range

Need Buck Topology

Need Boost Topology

Need Buck-Boost Capable Topology (Buckboost, SEPIC, Flyback)

Slide 12

Buck LED Drivers

- Integrated MOSFET Extends up to 67V/1.5A capability (100W) Current groupings cover popular LED requirements (350mA/700mA/1000mA/ 1400mA) Scalable product families

Buck is the most commonly used topology for LED driving

Slide 13

Buck LED Drivers

- External MOSFET (Controllers) Buck controllers based systems limited to around 3A LED current (Diode Loss) Synchronous buck controllers extend drive capability to >20A High current systems generally have lower output voltage requirements

Synchronous Buck Controllers

Buck Controllers

Slide 14

Buck LED Drivers

- Example #1 - LM3404HV Uses constant on-time hysteretic controller LED current sense voltage is 200mV

Almost constant switching frequency in CCM operation PWM Dimming Capable

Slide 15

Buck LED Drivers

- Example #1 - LM3404HV (8V/1A)
Reference Design RD007

25mm x 25mm

D2 implements OV protection

320kHz Switching Frequency 10V to 60V Input (i.e. automotive load dump suitable) 1A output with Vf up to 8V
Conversion Efficiency

LED Current Regulation

Slide 16

Buck LED Drivers

- Example #1 - LM3404HV Operating Waveforms
10Vdc Input 60Vdc Input

Duty Cycle =64%, Fs=319kHz

Duty Cycle =13%, Fs=309kHz

Slide 17

Buck LED Drivers

- Example #1 Dimming Waveforms Dimming works through PWM (i.e. Output is enabled/disabled with duty cycle determining perceived LED brightness) Hysteretic control and minimal output capacitance allows for fast turn on and high PWM dimming frequency Example here uses 2kHz PWM

Power Stage Switching Node Voltage (Input voltage of 60Vdc)

Inductor Current (Dimming duty cycle of 30%)

Slide 18

Buck LED Drivers

- Example #2 LM3409 vs LM3433 Both are controllers with external MOSFETs LM3409 is buck and LM3434 is synchronous buck Example runs from 12Vdc Input Drives Luminous SST-50 HB LED Vf is typically 3.6V with current up to 5A LM3433 can drive up to 9A

Conversion Efficiency with 12Vdc Input

86% at 4V/5A

LM3409 (Buck) 92% at 4V/5A

LM3433 (Synchronous Buck) Reference Design RD018

Slide 19

Buck LED Drivers

- Example #3 LM3401 MR16 Replacement Runs from low voltage AC or DC Drives 750mA at up to 10V Vf PFET allows 100% Duty Cycle Fs=300kHz typical

Reference Design RD017 14mm x 19mm

Slide 20

Boost LED Drivers

- Integrated MOSFET (LM3410) Input voltage 2.7 to 5.5Vdc Output LED voltage up to 24Vdc Output power up to ~7W (24V/0.3A) Vref is 190mV Suitable for driving display backlight LEDs

Efficiency with Vled of 11.4V

Slide 21

Boost LED Drivers

- External MOSFET LM342x Family LM3421, LM3423, LM3424, LM3429 Can operate with input voltage up to 75Vdc

These parts are LED controllers which can be used to build Buck, Boost or Buck- Boost systems
LM3423 is the same as the 3421 except it includes diagnostic capability to flag system faults and status on LED output

Slide 22

Boost LED Drivers

- External MOSFET - LM3424 LM3424 builds on the LM3421/3 to add thermal foldback capability

A thermal sense device is placed near the LED

The LM3424 will reduce the LED drive current if the sensed temperature exceeds a certain level Foldback profile can be modified for different applications

Prevents LED failure if the local ambient temperature rises too high or the cooling strategy of the luminaire is compromised

Thermal Feedback Input

Slide 23

Buck-Boost LED Drivers

- LM342x Family The LM342x family (and LM3410) can be used to implement Buck-Boost behaviour Useful if the input voltage range overlaps the LED drive voltage range


Slide 24

-PWM vs Analog Analog Dimming LED current is constant DC and the magnitude is varied to change brightness PWM Dimming The LED drive current is maintained at the normal drive level but enabled/disabled at a frequency of typically 100Hz up to a few kHz. The duty cycle of the PWM is used to change perceived LED brightness Analog Dimming No flicker due to beat frequency interference Colour temperature will change with DC drive current System efficiency may be poor for low LED drive currents PWM Dimming Colour temperature of LED is generally conserved Can introduce perceptible flicker if PWM dim frequency beats with other displays or lights Conversion efficiency is maintained down to low dim PWM duty cycle Slide 25

LED Driving
- Application Specific Parts LM3464

Uses a low cost standard mains AC/DC PSU to provide isolation and bulk voltage rail
LM3464 controls the AC/DC unit output voltage to set bulk rail voltage dynamically

85 - 265VAC 50/60Hz




LM3464 linearly controls an external MOSFET to give accurate current control of each LED string Power loss in the external MOSFET is minimised through the dynamic headroom control function

Volt VFB

Volt VFB


Slide 26

LM3464 Example
- 53W Streetlight Uses commercially available front end AC/DC converter

Need access to feedback/control circuit in AC/DC stage

LM3464 power stage operates at very high efficiency of 98.1%

Slide 27

Mains Triac Dimmable Solution

Operates with leading and trailing edge legacy dimmers Implements full PFC operation to give low mains current harmonics

Provides galvanic isolation

Designing LED ballasts with traic dimmer support is challenging and generally support intensive so the opportunity needs to be high to justify the design effort.

Slide 28

LED Drivers
- Lifetime Considerations With careful thermal design, LEDs can last in excess of 50,000 hours LED driver can limit the life of the system unless care is taken with the design Avoid using electrolytic capacitors since they dry out over time Keep converter electronics away from hot LEDs and their heatsinks E.g. a 105C/2000 hour capacitor will only last 16,000 hours (1.8 years) if it runs in a local ambient of 75 Deg C Each drop in ambient temperature of 10C will double expected lifetime (Arrhenius Equation)

Slide 29

Support Material
Use Webench to help with part selection based on customer requirements

Basic topologies can be simulated to check design before prototyping

Lots of reference designs are available at Further LED reference designs can be found at

National LED Drivers Solutions Guide

Slide 30

Thanks for Listening!

Slide 31