Enabling slimmer laptops with brighter screens and extended battery life, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are rapidly replacing cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL) as the dominant backlighting technology for liquid crystal displays (LCDs) used in notebook PCs and industrial and medical displays. However, use of LEDs in notebook LCDs presents technical challenges, such as the generation of audible noise and visual artifacts that can diminish the end-user experience.
To help manufacturers overcome these challenges, Freescale Semiconductor has introduced the MC34845 LED driver with high-speed pulse width modulation (PWM) capability. This six-channel device is designed to allow LED backlights to operate at frequencies above the audible range, thereby eliminating noise issues and reducing visual artifacts. In addition, the driver’s accuracy and flexibility offer display uniformity and a wide dimming range to further enhance end-user experiences.
The MC34845 LED driver is ideal for backlighting applications in notebook displays ranging in size from seven inches to more than 17 inches, as well as other applications that use multiple low-power LEDs, such as lighting products.
According to DisplaySearch, the penetration rate of LED backlights in large-size (10 inches and greater) thin film transistor (TFT) LCDs is expected to grow from approximately 7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 to 23 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009. By 2012, more than half of all large-size TFT LCDs – and 100 percent of notebook PCs – will have LED backlights.
Factors driving the fast adoption of LED backlighting technology include energy-efficient operation leading to extended battery life, and the ability to design slimmer displays for thinner, lighter laptops. LED backlighting also offers an environmentally friendly solution compared to CCFL displays, which contain mercury.
“The outstanding performance, accuracy and flexibility of the MC34845 driver helps manufacturers avoid a host of issues associated with LED drivers operating at lower frequencies,” said Michael Jennings, market segment manager for display products in Freescale’s Analog, Mixed-Signal and Power Division. “Advanced technologies such as the MC34845 are helping fuel the rapid adoption of LED backlights in notebook PC markets worldwide.”
The high-speed LED driver supports up to 100 kHz PWM, with pulses down to 200ns. This performance is suitable for 1000:1 dimming range at 25 kHz with excellent linearity across the range, supporting imperceptible dimming steps. The driver is also very accurate, supporting ±2% current matching maximum across the operating range of -40 degrees C to +85 degrees C, which helps improve display uniformity. The outputs are driven using a single direct drive PWM input.
The MC34845 also features a boost converter to produce the required voltage to power LEDs. Two versions are available for boost switching frequencies of either 600 Khz (MC34845) or 1.2 MHz (MC34845A). The input range supports 2-cell and 3-cell lithium-ion batteries or a fixed-input supply. High-voltage output capability enables the device to drive up to 96 white LEDs, more than competing 6-channel designs. A dynamic headroom control automatically sets the output voltage depending on the voltage requirements of the LEDs.
The MC34845 supports low-power shutdown with 1uA max supply current. In addition, an auto shutdown mode can enable the device to enter shutdown after a period of inactivity on the PWM input.
MC34845 product features:
- Input voltage range 5V to 21V
- 2.0A integrated boost
- 600 kHz switching frequency (MC34845)
- 1.2 MHz switching frequency (MC34845A)
- Output voltage up to 60V
- Up to 30 mA LED current
- ±2% current matching
- Direct PWM input control
- PWM frequency up to 100 kHz
- 50,000:1 dimming range
- 200ns minimum pulse
- Dynamic headroom control
- LED open/short protection
- User-programmable OVP
- OTP, OCP, UVLO fault detection
- Shutdown to <1µA
- 24-Ld QFN 4mm x 4mm x 0.65mm package
Pricing and availability
Freescale is currently sampling the MC34845 (600 kHz boost) and the MC34845A (1.2 MHz boost) LED drivers. Both devices are available at a suggested resale price of $1.15 (USD) in 10,000-unit quantities.
About the Virtual Freescale Technology Forum
The Virtual Freescale Technology Forum (FTF), to be held July 14-16, 2009, is an online supplement to Freescale’s existing global FTF program. Created to inspire innovation and collaboration, FTF has become the developer event of the year for the embedded semiconductor industry. The Forum, which debuted in 2005, has drawn more than 28,000 attendees at FTF events worldwide since its inception. For more information about Virtual FTF, go to: www.freescale.com/vftf.
About Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations around the world.
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