Improved flexibility for LED Drivers

LED Drivers, essential to the performance of any LED lighting, need to be sufficiently flexible to adapt to different conditions. The ready2mains Programmer of Tridonic explains how new technologies are helping.

The heart of every LED luminaire is an LED Driver and that the most important parameter of the LED Driver is the output current. Essentially, in an LED circuit, mains voltage is converted to a constant voltage and the LED Driver then converts this to a constant current. This current determines the operating temperature and therefore the lifetime of the luminaire.

Intelligent devices that have separate communication interfaces, such as DALI and DSI, are able to automatically set the output current with a high degree of flexibility. Less sophisticated devices without such an interface lack this flexibility. This is because it is difficult to deal with resistance plugs or setting DIP switches in partially or fully automated production lines.

As a result, with these devices the current has always had to be manually configured – until recently that is. Now, new technology enables drivers with manually adjustable output current (also known as fixed-output drivers) to be automatically configured. This offers maximum flexibility for the growing number of projects that are making use of LED lighting.

At the heart of this technology is a programming unit that enables configuration data to be modulated digitally on the mains cable. Thus it is possible to simply connect it as a digital communication interface between the mains cable and the driver providing a quick, easy and flexible way to automate configuration.

One element of this flexibility is that the parameters can be selected either directly on the programmer or in appropriate configuration software. In the latter case, the configuration software allows additional parameters to be set – such as a constant light output function – as long as the driver supports this function. Very importantly, successful programming is indicated by both the luminaire and the configuration software.

If required, it is still possible to set the current manually via resistance plugs.