Automotive LEDs have taken the industry by storm thanks to their versatility and efficiency. In automotive lighting applications, LEDs power the car headlights, tail lights (Figure 1), and just about anywhere they are needed inside or outside the automobile for style and function. Infrared (IR) LED diodes are used in driver monitoring systems (DMS). GPS navigation and in-cabin entertainment displays utilize strings of LEDs for backlighting.
These LED applications must be small and efficient enough to fit in the existing space without overheating. With so many different functions, one might expect the automobile manufacturer to be resigned to stocking a large quantity of different automotive LED drivers. This can have severe implications in terms of reduced purchasing power due to low volume orders, longer design cycles, and delayed time to market.
Is it possible to have an efficient, highly integrated automotive LED driver that is flexible enough to cover the majority of these applications? This design solution reviews the power requirements of three classes of LED lighting applications and points to the optimal LED driver topology for each case (buck, boost, buck-boost). It then introduces an innovative solution to meet their integration, efficiency, and flexibility challenges.