LED drivers supporting visible-light communication
28 July 2021
Power Electronics / Power Management
ON Semiconductor has announced two new devices designed to enhance the performance of connected lighting systems. The NCL31000 and NCL31001 LED drivers allow manufacturers to develop LED luminaires with light-based positioning technology and visible-light communication. By adding data intelligence and accurate positioning (up to 30 cm) these solutions enable smart lighting in a variety of spaces including supermarkets, warehouses, hospitals and airports.
At the heart of the NCL31000 is a highly energy-efficient buck LED driver that supports both high-bandwidth analog dimming and PWM dimming down to zero current. The driver includes an integrated 3,3 V fixed DC-DC converter and a further adjustable DC-DC converter (2,5-24 V) which can be used to power system components such as sensing devices and the microcontroller. Integrating these power solutions in the driver simplifies system design while boosting efficiency.
The accurate linear dimming enables visible-light communication (VLC), allowing for the development of indoor light-based positioning systems that can be safely implemented in many locations where RF-based solutions cannot be used (e.g. hazardous spaces such as mines or RF sensitive areas such as in hospitals or onboard aircrafts). The ability to dim to true dark with an accuracy of 0,1% ensures that there is no ghost light at the lowest dimming settings.
Highly accurate diagnostics further reduce system complexity by integrating a 10-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC). The ADC measures system voltages, currents and temperature to monitor LED and overall system efficiency and detect any anomalies. A serial (I2C/SPI) interface makes all diagnostic data available to an external MCU that can monitor and control the intelligent lighting system. The architecture of the NCL31000 ensures excellent EMI performance – in tests it has been shown to be >14 dB below the requirements of CISPR15/EN55015.
The addition of the NCL31001 companion driver creates a solution that supports multi-string lighting applications, including those with colour control. The NCL31001 offers the same features as the NCL31000 except for the DC-DC converters to avoid unnecessary duplication.
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