Dialog announces an IC-level platform to support Ledotron controls in LED lighting

Nov. 13, 2013
Products with digital dimming technology and communications with switches and sensors with no new wires are realizable with the new Dialog Semiconductor SmarteXite family of Ledotron-compatible ICs.

Dialog Semiconductor has announced the SmarteXite family of ICs and the initial iW6401 product for Ledotron-based solid-state lighting (SSL) products, along with a partnership with Sengled. The new family enables digital interconnects between LED-based lamps or luminaires, and adaptive-control elements such as switches and sensors that compose a solid-state lighting (SSL) system.

Ledotron is an initiative launched by Feller, Gira, Jung Merten, Schneider Electric, Radium, and Osram — primarily centric to Europe at the moment — that establishes a digital communication scheme for dimming. The communications between lamps or luminaires and other elements such as switches can run over the existing power line or via the use of wireless interconnects.

The iW6401 is a configurable digital IC that Dialog refers to as a driver IC, although as you can see from the nearby illustration, the IC is more a power-management IC. The power conversion circuits must be implemented separately from the iW6401. But the new IC, according to Dialog, is the first to implement the Ledotron IEC 62756-1 dimming protocol and will enable plug-and-play interconnected SSL products.

Apparently the IC, while integrating the Ledotron support, has no inherent connectivity beyond the chip level. But an I2C chip-level serial interconnect will allow SSL product developers to add power line or wireless interconnectivity, such as ZigBee or Wi-Fi, in a separate IC.

Dialog is also touting the digital configurability of the iW6401 as a key factor in driving down the cost of SSL products including retrofit lamps. The company says that an LED lamp can be configured via software on a manufacturing line for settings such as color or brightness, potentially allowing a manufacturer to design one product and offer different versions with a simplified supply chain.

Dialog also announced a partnership with Sengled Lighting, a manufacturer of LED retrofit lamps that will presumably use the new IC. "Smart lighting is one of the most important growth segments in LED lighting, with digital dimming and wireless control as the next major steps in creating innovative products," said Johnson Shen, founder and president of Sengled. "With Dialog’s SmarteXite family of LED driver products, we can accelerate our innovation cycles and create new lighting experiences for our customers."

The partners also asserted growing popularity for the Ledotron technology. For example, Insta is a member of the Ledotron Marketing Alliance and has already launched a dimmer product. "With Ledotron we have created a digital dimmer for a digital light source, which resolves all compatibility and performance issues known from traditional dimmers. Beyond being retrofit, Ledotron makes LED lighting future-fit and smart-fit," said Alexander Burgbacher, CEO of Insta. "The adoption of Ledotron in LED lighting is gaining momentum, as the integration into lamps is made easier with the adoption of the iW6401, the first in a range of smarteXite products from Dialog."