Iván Cid Jiménez received Eng. In Electronics in 2010, in EINA, Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain). After studying his career, he has developed his skills in electronics when entered ELT. As the Technical Responsible of the R&D Department, he has to deal with Project Management and State-of-the-Art, combining vanguard, cost-efectiveness and robustness in every project. Experienced engineer, his background on electronics designing and debuging, as well as his market knowledge, has given him a quite good lighting industry overview.
LED Drivers Overview Considering State-of-the-Art, Differentiation and Regulations
Every single LED driver manufacturer is investing quite a lot money and efforts in developing cutting-edge solutions for a quite dynamic industry. Most of the catalogues about lighting have excellence as a goal and products are generally TOP-level. Unfortunately, when we come back to reality, we find out that we are not competitive enough and excellence is not always appreciated by final customers. This tough reality has a dramatic consequence: final user doesn’t get benefit from technical improvements and even worse, doesn’t experience the LED revolution. Talking about LED drivers or power supplies in lighting is talking about trade-offs and many external considerations such as normatives and market requirements. An overview with the main drawbacks, performances and critical aspects is exposed in order to explain all professionals involved in lighting industry how these factors might have an influence in final characteristics.
First of all, the DC-DC converter must be designed and optimized. It is quite useful to dispose of simulation tools in order to save money, mistakes and definetly, costs. By adjusting inductance, switching frequency and size we can adapt or discard any power electronics project quickly. Depending on how DC enters this stage, we might have ripple, flicker or other drawbacks. Of course they have technical solution but, is the market willing to pay for it? Eliminating ripple and flicker from LED drivers means another DC-DC converter on it so, just to make an idea, means double components, double effort, double manufacturing time and double cost. Nevertheless, going on in this process then we find other pending bugs, for example, EMC/EMI compliance. If we have a multicurrent device able to work in a wide output range, nevermind current or voltage, we have to know that our EMI Filter is always changing. For complying normatives, this and other considerations must be contemplated, having an impact on price. Finally, are we all conscious about climate change and green energy? State-of-the-Art is quite advanced, electronics is quite optimized and new regulation methods have come to light and are used nowadays, so the industry must demand best-in-class solutions due to its undeniable responsability considering this topic.
In conclusion, this is not about how cheap LED systems should be. It is about how lighting industry is going to make LED systems desirable and attractive for final users. In that very moment, they will be willing to spend their money not only in LEDs, but also in their appearance, health benefits, regulation and domotic advantages and a large etcetera which is, up to now, unknown to them. Why are we able to spend $700 in a cell-phone but not in creating great experiences and changing atmospheres at home? It is necessary to explain what light can do for us right now.