Microcontroller-based LED drivers: topologies and trade-offs

Oct. 10, 2005
Drivers based around microcontrollers can be simple to design and offer a number of advantages for controlling high-intensity LEDs. However, some limitations remain, as Pedro Pachuca and Rod Borras of Freescale Semiconductor discuss.

A number of different topologies can be achieved with a microcontroller at the heart of an LED driver system. In this article, the topology trade-offs are discussed in detail, with an emphasis on the major features and limitations: communication, voltage and current capabilities, dimming techniques and switching speed.

Driving high-intensity LEDs

Fig. 1.

High-intensity LEDs (HI-LEDs) are different from standard LEDs based on their power input: traditional LEDs are generally limited to less than 50 mW, while HI-LEDs operate at 1-5 W.

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