LED driver enables smaller & cheaper headlights

27th July 2016
Nat Bowers

Cypress Semiconductor has introduced an automotive LED driver that enables smaller and more cost-effective headlight systems. The S6BL112A automotive-grade LED driver is the industry’s first to feature synchronous control, which helps it provide industry-leading conversion efficiency, enabling stable performance in a lighting system.

The device is able to drive LEDs at a high 2.1MHz switching frequency, which enables a compact headlight solution that uses small, inexpensive inductors, reducing physical size and BOM costs. The LED drivers combine with Cypress’s Traveo MCUs and PMICs to provide a best-in-class automotive front-lighting solution.

Cypress’s S6BL112A automotive LED driver features an input voltage range of 4.5-42V that encompasses extreme operating conditions such as cold-cranking - when the automobile engine starter draws an excessive amount of current due to starting the engine in cold temperatures - or load dump - a power surge that occurs when an automobile battery is disconnected while the alternator is supplying current during engine operation. The LED driver also facilitates the design of electrical system safeguards by including System Safety Functions such as under current detection, over current and voltage protection, as well as the ability to mask undesired LED OPEN diagnosis during cold cranking. Additionally, its synchronous operation eliminates unstable dimming that can occur when the input voltage is low.

Kiyoe Nagaya, Vice President, Analog Business Unit, Cypress, commented: “With the fast-growing usage of LED lighting systems in cars and other vehicles, automotive suppliers are seeking to minimise the component count and cost in these systems without compromising on reliability or performance. Cypress’s automotive LED drivers provide a compact, efficient headlight solution, supported by our complementary automotive MCUs and PMICs, with robust performance even in extreme temperatures or when faced with disruptive electrical noise.”

The S6BL112A is a one-channel 2A output Buck LED driver that supports both analogue and PWM dimming functions, enabling precise brightness control. Its switching frequency can be set between 205kHz and 2.1MHz, with high output current accuracy of ±2%. The device enables slew rate control without an external filter, limiting EMI generation that can harm peripherals.

The S6BL112A LED driver is currently sampling, with production expected in the fourth quarter of 2016. It is available in a 16-pin, thermally-enhanced TSSOP.

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