LED Lighting SMPS Topologies

LED Control

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) must be driven with a source of constant current. Most LEDs have a specified current level that will achieve the maximum brightness for that LED without premature failures. An LED could be driven with a linear voltage regulator configured as a constant current source. However, this approach is not practical for higher power LEDs due to power dissipation in the regulator circuit. A switch-mode power supply (SMPS) provides a much more efficient solution to drive the LED. An LED will have a forward voltage drop across its terminals for a given current drive level. The power supply voltage and the LED forward voltage characteristics determine the SMPS topology that is required. Multiple LEDs can be connected in series to increase the forward voltage drop at the chosen drive current level. The SMPS circuit topologies adopted to regulate current in LED lighting applications are the same used to control voltage in a power supply application. Each type of SMPS topology has its advantages and disadvantages as presented in the table below. This design guide presents two types of LED driver solutions. First, an analog driver IC can be used independently or together with a MCU for added intelligence. Second, the LED drive function can be integrated into the MCU application.

Common SMPS Topologies Useful for LED Lighting

Regulator Topology VIN to VOUT Relationship Complexity Component Count Comments
Charge Pump -VOUT < VIN < VOUT Low Medium Limited IOUT range, No Inductors
Buck VIN > VOUT Medium Medium Chopped IIN, High side drive
Boost VIN > VOUT Medium Medium Extra parts needed to isolate output from input
SEPIC VOUT < VIN < VOUT Medium High Smooth IIN , Multiple outputs, Two inductors
Buck-Boost VOUT < VIN < VOUT Medium Medium Single inductor, Up to four switches
Flyback Depending on transformer Medium Medium Transformer can provide electrical isolation, Multiple outputs possible
© 2017 Microchip Technology, Inc.
Notice: ARM and Cortex are the registered trademarks of ARM Limited in the EU and other countries.
Information contained on this site regarding device applications and the like is provided only for your convenience and may be superseded by updates. It is your responsibility to ensure that your application meets with your specifications. MICROCHIP MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, WRITTEN OR ORAL, STATUTORY OR OTHERWISE, RELATED TO THE INFORMATION, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ITS CONDITION, QUALITY, PERFORMANCE, MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR PURPOSE. Microchip disclaims all liability arising from this information and its use. Use of Microchip devices in life support and/or safety applications is entirely at the buyer's risk, and the buyer agrees to defend, indemnify and hold harmless Microchip from any and all damages, claims, suits, or expenses resulting from such use. No licenses are conveyed, implicitly or otherwise, under any Microchip intellectual property rights.