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Integrated Device Drives, Controls LEDs

Integrated Device Drives, Controls LEDs

Golden Mousetrap 2009 WinnerBy integrating the ability to control and drive high-power light-emitting diodes (LEDs), a new single-chip device promises to reduce cost and boost reliability of LED-based systems.

Known as the PowerPSoC CY8CLED04D01, the new product could be applied in applications ranging from desk lamps to ceiling lights to interior and exterior lighting on automobiles. In those applications, it could dramatically reduce part count and simultaneously simplify the design process by eliminating the need to incorporate a separate power supply.

"A lot of our customers are accustomed to developing lighting fixtures with an Edison-style socket of some sort, which typically doesn't have a power supply in it," says Curt Davis, vice president of Cypress Semiconductor's PowerPSoC Business Unit, which makes the new product. "They have limited engineering resources to help them with the design of the power supply."

Cypress Semiconductor engineers say that the new PowerPSoC device is unique in the LED arena because it's the first single-chip for both controlling and driving high-power LEDs. It integrates four constant-current regulators and four 32V MOSFETs with the PSoC programmable system-on-chip, which includes a microcontroller, programmable analog and digital blocks, and memory. As a result, it can handle current control, voltage regulation, communication and dimming, among other chores.

For product developers, the high level of integration reportedly offers numerous benefits. Cypress says that part count and bill of materials costs are both reduced by 20-30 percent. As a result, the integrated design reportedly offers greater reliability.

"The more discrete components you have in a solution, the less reliable the solution becomes because of all the solder joints," Davis says.

The PowerPSoC can be applied to a variety of applications, from home lighting products to small bulbs for commercial applications and recessed lighting. It's especially useful in dimming applications, Davis says, because it enables dimming down to 1percent of maximum, whereas most LED dimmers go no lower than 30 percent.

Davis says the single-chip device's current-control capabilities also can be used outside the LED world. "We are not just limited to lighting," he says. "Any system that requires very accurate current control - for example, dc motors, solenoids and relays - make good applications for the PowerPSoC."

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