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Ballast IC offers standard, low-cost power circuitry

Posted: 20 May 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ballast IC? controller? low-cost power?

With today's worldwide energy-saving regulations demanding the more efficient use of available energy, STMicroelectronics unveiled a ballast controller capable of reducing design time and costs. The IC offers to fulfill the requirements of energy-saving regulations such as 'Energy Star' and hopes to significantly contribute to optimization usage of available energy, dramatically reducing the CO2emission.

Lighting accounts for up to 19 percent of the overall electricity consumption in the world, according to figures from Energy Information Administration (EIA), Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. government. Private and public organizations are looking toward incentives, standards and regulations for improved energy efficiency. In this scenario, high-frequency electronic ballasts are rapidly replacing electromagnetic ballasts due to higher efficiency, no visible flickering, and low weight due to the use of electronic components.

ST's L6520 controller claims to be the first device to give the choice of using low-cost bipolar power switches without compromising reliability, ensuring high-energy efficiency and integrating important features on-chip to save design time and cost, while reducing Bill-of-Materials costs.

The IC can be used with a wide range of lamp topologies, power ratings and has an extended temperature range from -25C85C. Hence, manufacturers can reduce design and procurement costs for products covering a range of performance and price points.

The L6520 embeds a digital control core, integrating all functions and protection, saving as much as 30 percent of the external components required with alternative controllers. Integrated features include lamp end-of-life, and due to ST's proprietary current control circuit, the IC is protected against overcurrent and overvoltage, choke saturation and hard switching. Accurate and programmable pre-heating improves lamp life, while BJTs storage time compenzation avoids the risk of cross-conduction and makes the application more robust.

The devices join ST's family of energy-saving ballast ICs, which includes the L6574 with circuitry for controlling dimmable ballast and CFLs, and the L6585DE with built-in power-factor correction for use in high-end applications.

The L6520/1 is in volume production in the industry-standard SO-8 package, priced at $0.70 for 1000 units. Alternative pricing options are available for larger orders.

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