Power Integrations Introduces Reference Design for LinkSwitch-PH Flicker-Free Dimming

Sep 7, 2011
Power Integrations, with a reputation as a leader in high-voltage integrated circuits for LED lighting, has released a new reference design for a member of the company's popular LinkSwitch-PH series. The 15 W PAR38 downlight driver is 85%-efficient while also balancing flicker-free dimming and reliability. 

When dealing with TRIAC dimmers, there can be a discrepancy between the magnitude of power they typically supply and what LEDs output. As it happens, TRIAC dimmers were designed for incandescent lights, but the contrasting lower current LEDs require causes TRIACs to switch off or oscillate unexpectedly. The earlier LED designs accounted for the difference by "storing energy in an unreliable electrolytic bulk capacitor, adversely affecting bulb lifetime." The other solution was allowing the current to flow continuously to the bulb, which counteracted the energy-efficient purpose of LEDs. Now, the LinkSwitch-PH ICs use new active damping and bleeding circuitry to deal with these issues, creating the smooth dimming with high efficiency and long lifetime.

Andy Smith, product marketing manager at Power Integrations, brings up the new expectations towards lighting systems as their lifetimes become longer, which will not be met with "flawed two-stage drivers reliant on electrolytic bulk capacitors." In contrast, the single-stage approach in DER-281 "meets every one of the LED designer's checkboxes" with efficiency, accuracy, and ability to meet all PFC and harmonic content rules.

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Author:  Rebecca Milne

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