Countless number of lighting companies and engineering houses are jumping into the general illumination business with the advances and opportunities created by LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL) technologies. SSL brings many new challenges for those looking to redesign lighting fixtures or design retrofit lamps for existing Edison sockets. One major challenge is the LED driver. Companies can purchase off-the-shelf LED driver modules, although recent advances in driver ICs will allow many companies to design their own intelligent drivers with optimized feature sets such as dimming, color control, and sensors.
Many early adopters of LED technologies for lighting started out thinking the move would be a simple evolutionary step but quickly found out that the move was revolutionary. They discovered that they needed serious engineering disciplines to implement new electronics, optics and thermal technologies. Many who took the initial steps in electronics produced sub-par products and had to redesign their products to get more efficient and optimal results. Others outsourced their designs to competent power and analog engineers who spent a lifetime learning how to drive the power circuits and constant current required by LEDs. The electronics required have been called lighting ballasts or power supplies but are commonly and collectively referred to as LED drivers.
This article was published in the April 2010 issue of LEDs Magazine. To read the full version of this article, please visit our magazine page, where you can download FREE electronic PDF versions of all issues of LEDs Magazine. You can also request a print copy of LEDs Magazine (available by paid subscription) and sign up for our free weekly email newsletter.