Melexis expands automotive lighting portfolio

17th June 2024
Caitlin Gittins

Melexis recently announced the expansion of its LIN RGB family with the introduction of the MLX81123.

Building on the success of its predecessor, this new model offers cost-effective performance and reliability in a compact package. By implementing a new supply chain, Melexis enhances its competitiveness and ensures business continuity for its customers.

Ambient LED lighting has become an essential design feature for automotive manufacturers, improving the end-user experience and enabling OEMs to create visually distinctive vehicles. With major OEMs extensively using ambient lighting in their latest models, a reliable supply chain is crucial.

The new third-generation MLX81123, succeeding the popular MLX81113, features SOIC8 and small DFN-8 3mm x 3mm packaging. This miniaturisation allows for the integration of lighting in any part of the car, overcoming previous space constraints. Manufactured with cutting-edge silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology, the MLX81123’s compact size increases the number of ICs per wafer. This advancement makes it one of the smallest RGB LIN IC controllers available and significantly boosts production output, ready to meet the demands of the expanding automotive ambient lighting market.

With common software design and pin-to-pin compatibility (SOIC 8) with its predecessor, it offers seamless integration into existing designs, often allowing for the replacement of current MLX81113 chips without a full development cycle.

The MLX81123 delivers RGB lighting according to LIN 2.x and SAE J2602 standards. For safety applications, it supports system integration up to ASIL B under ISO 26262. The advanced 16-bit microcontroller unit (MCU) includes 2 KB RAM, 32 KB of application-usable flash, and a system ROM with a bootloader and LIN driver. A built-in 512 B EEPROM enables effective configuration, such as LED calibration coefficients, ensuring uniform cabin brightness and colour representation.

The MLX81123’s LIN system includes a transceiver and protocol handler, facilitating seamless connectivity between RGB ambient modules and the vehicle's existing LIN network. With four high-voltage I/O and freely configurable current sources (up to 60 mA), the MLX81123 supports RGB and white LEDs from various suppliers, providing greater procurement flexibility. The IC’s independent 16-bit PWM output offers precise colour and brightness control of connected LEDs, suitable for a range of vehicle ambient applications such as door trim, accent, and interior cabin lights.

In sleep mode, the MLX81123 has a typical standby current consumption of just 25 µA and features a 28 V jump start, as well as battery monitoring with over and under-voltage detection. It operates within a wide temperature range of -40°C to +125°C and includes a built-in temperature sensor for thermal monitoring, ideal for demanding automotive environments.

“Ambient lighting transitioned from an aesthetic option in high-end vehicles to a fundamental automotive feature, providing a new landscape for customisation and visual differentiation. This creates additional demand for automotive LED controllers,” said Michael Bender, Product Line Manager of Embedded Lighting at Melexis. “Our second generation LIN RGB IC controllers have seen incredible success. The third generation MLX81123 takes existing strengths, miniaturizes the solution and adds production capabilities. We deliver an unrivaled feature set at a price point that enables a roll-out across vehicle ranges from luxury to entry-level models."

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