Power Integrations design kit enables EMC-compliant LED lightbulbs

Feb. 22, 2007
An ultra-small power supply unit is designed to fit into an LED lightbulb socket, and enables LED lightbulbs to meet EMC requirements.
Power Integrations has introduced a reference design kit for ultra-small power supplies that helps designers deliver energy-efficient LED alternatives to power-hungry incandescent lights.

The RDK-131 design kit helps designers produce a power circuit that fits inside the LED lightbulb socket. It also ensures that incandescent-replacement LED lightbulbs will pass EMC requirements for conducted and radiated electrical noise.

Unlike incandescent light sources, which can be powered directly from the mains supply, each LED lightbulb requires a power supply to be incorporated within the Edison (E27) or Bayonet (GU10) sockets.

According to Don Ashley, product marketing manager for AC-DC products at Power Integrations, "producing a power circuit that fits within such a small space is not a trivial task, especially if you effectively attenuate EMI to the current standards."

To address the size constraints posed by this application, Power Integrations has released its LinkSwitch-TN family of non-isolated offline switcher ICs in tiny SO-8 packaging (see separate press release).

"Our RDK-131 incorporates the new LinkSwitch device in a tested, working power-supply board and offers a blank PCB, extra samples of the LinkSwitch-TN ICs and guidelines on how to design LED lighting supplies around our ICs," says Ashley. "This kit significantly simplifies the task of designing LED lights, reducing their time to market.' The RDK-131 is priced at $100.00.

Ban the bulb
Regulatory bodies and authorities worldwide are looking at ways to reduce energy wastage, and California in particular is looking at the lighting market. For example, in a recent address (see Reuters/Yahoo news report), California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine commented: "Incandescent lightbulbs were first developed almost 125 years ago, and remain incredibly inefficient, converting only about five percent of the energy they receive into light."

If Levine's proposed bill, the "How Many Legislators Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb Act," is passed, incandescent bulbs would be banned for use in California by 2012. Unfortunately, the focus at present to replace incandescents with CFLs, but the introduction of suitable LED-based replacements will certainly add another viable solution to the mix.