Adding Three Power MOSFETs Lets a Single Step-Down Converter Drive RGB LEDs in Projectors

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This application note presents an RGB LED driver reference design for a low-power projector. This high-current LED driver is based on a single MAX16821 device that drives 10A to a set of RGB LEDs in step-down mode with less than 1µs turn-on/turn-off times. Only one color LED is driven at a time, with RGB colors sharing the PWM period in required proportions.

LED Driver Specifications

  • Input supply voltage: 10V to 15V
  • LED drive current: 10A
  • LED forward voltage: 4.5V to 6V
  • LED current rise/fall times: < 1µs
  • LED current ripple: 10% peak to peak, max
  • VIN (J4): supply voltage input
  • PWMR, PWMB, PWMG (J8 pins 1, 3, and 4): RGB PWM input signals. Amplitude should be 3.3V to 5V. As output can rise/fall within 1µs, any PWM period higher than 2µs can be used. Only one of the above three signals should be high at a time.
  • PWMN (J8 pin 4): digital NOR of PWMR, PWMG, and PWMB. PWMN will be high only when all three PWM signals are low.
  • ON/OFF (J1): leave open or drive +5V to enable the driver. Connect to GND for disabling the board.
  • LEDR, LEDG, LEDB (J5, J6, and J7): 10A RGB LED outputs. Connect LED+ to pins 3, 4, and 5; connect LED- to pins 6, 7, and 8.
  • OUTV (J2): provides a signal proportional to the LED current. The voltage at OUTV will be 135 times the voltage across R12||R16.
  • VIN_OUT (J3): input supply-voltage output for connecting to other boards. Pins 1 and 2 are VIN+; pins 3 and 4 are GND.


Designed, Built, Tested

Board pictured here has been fully assembled and tested. Not available for sale.


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