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LED lighting needs in multiple markets
Aug 06, 2018

Of course, legislation requires that LEDs, like any other form of illumination, must comply with certain power factor correction (PFC) specifications. In addition, total harmonic distortion (THD) is becoming more and more important. Manufacturers need to develop solutions that meet regional mandates, but the extent to which these programs meet these requirements will determine the total power consumption that consumers can expect to save. In order to make it more difficult for manufacturers to conduct business in multiple regions, these specifications are not consistent across the world. What can be tolerated in one area may be incompatible in another, which means that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) either need to develop multiple specific areas or standardize a solution that meets multiple specifications.

In the absence of a “universal” solution, OEMs may choose to offer different designs optimized for each region, or simply abandon certain markets. Neither of these options is ideal because the first option leads to more complex builds and bills of materials (BOM), while the second option closes potentially valuable sales channels. What manufacturers really need is to provide a solution to meet the requirements of multiple regions without compromising the cost disadvantages of their core markets. In fact, we can almost say that they hope that they can get something with their efforts, and they will get it without paying the price.

There are many power supply topologies for LEDs, some better than others. At the same time, this may indicate that the market is still relatively immature and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. For example, size and heat dissipation are critical for solutions that need to fit within an existing bulb. In these relatively low power applications (less than 100 W), a single-stage converter is sufficient, and the preferred solution is primary-side rectification (PSR) because it supports the use of smaller winding devices. Our goal is to make a complete solution, including power rectification, conversion, regulation and LEDs, to the size of a traditional bulb. This means that the replacement LED can be plugged directly into the existing lighting fixture without any further modifications, giving the consumer the best possible user experience.

The real challenge comes from choosing the right converter to deliver PFC and THD that are energy efficient and meet multiple regional requirements. Most converters for applications below 100 W use discontinuous conduction mode (DCM), which provides good THD, but usually at the expense of a relatively large transformer. The NCL3038x family of single-stage PSR flyback buck/boost converters, using critical conduction mode (CrM), is changing the way OEMs design LED drivers.

In fact, the converter combines three modes: use CrM when the load exceeds 80%, use the valley mode when the load is lower than 80%, and use the frequency to return when the load is extremely low (such as standby mode). This results in a PFC of over 0.95 and a THD of less than 10%, making one design suitable for multiple markets.

It's hard for us to get it without paying the price, but with the right LED controller, it's possible to use a single solution to meet the needs of different markets, or to get it at no cost.

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