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International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT) 108

Volume 2 Issue 4, July 2014, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

Review of Dimming Techniques for Solid-State LED Lights


Gaurav Pathak 1, Anmol Ratna Saxena2, Praveen Bansal3
1,2,3

(Department of Electrical Engineering, Madhav Institute of Technology & Science, Gwalior, India)

ABSTRACT
LEDs lights have numerous advantages as compared to
conventional lighting sources and are becoming popular
these days. Depending upon the application requirement
brightness of the LEDs needs to be controlled. The
brightness is controlled by controlling the forward
current flowing through the LED. In this paper, different
techniques used for dimming the brightness of LED
lamps are reviewed. DC-DC SEPIC converter which is a
fourth-order converter is used as driver to compare
different techniques. Modeling of the SEPIC converter
with LED modeled as resistive load is also presented. It
is showed that PWM and pulse current techniques
exhibits better dimming as compared to other dimming
techniques discussed in this paper. Pulse current driving
technique is the extension of the PWM technique. In
order to verify the performance of dimming techniques
simulation are carried out in MATLAB/SIMULINK
environment.
Keywords - Light emitting Diode (LED), dimming
techniques, SEPIC converter.

I.

INTRODUCTION

About 20% of electrical energy is used for lighting only


[1]-[2]. Many lighting devices are introduced to reduce
this energy consumption, solid-state lighting devices
such as LED has considerably reduced this consumption
to some extent. LEDs are becoming more and more
popular lighting devices because of its various
advantages such as more life time, higher luminous
efficacy, no wear and tear effect, environmental friendly
etc. Rapid development in the technology and
manufacturing material of the solid state lighting devices
makes it able to replace all other lighting devices. The
improvement in the research of high brightness LED in
not only because of their high efficiency and better
reliability, but because of its characteristics. Since LEDs
are current control devices, a small variation in the
voltage cause a large variation in the current across it

which shows that LED has low internal resistance; hence


a resistance is always connected in series with it to
protect form the high current. A single LED is not able
to produce sufficient amount of luminous flux as
compared to incandescent lamps and other lighting
devices. So an array of LED should always be used to
get adequate amount of light [3], [4]. Variation in the
brightness across LEDs is known as dimming, it is
estimated that about 30%-40% of energy is save in
lighting using the process of dimming [5]. To regulate
current across LEDs, DC-DC converters are required
and are known as LED drivers. These drivers act as the
supply for the Led lamps and provide constant current to
the LED load. LEDs are available in power rating of
1W, 3W, 5W; where as its current rating varies from
250mA to 750mA. The cut-in voltage of LED varies
from 2.5V to 4V [6], [7]. According to photo-electrothermal theory, both the luminous flux emitted and
junction temperature of LED is depending on each other.
Also the maximum flux emitted from LED is not
occurring at the rated power but is at power less than the
rated one. On varying in the value of one quantity, other
quantity gets changed simultaneously [8].The luminous
intensity and color of light from LED are depends on the
forward current flows through it [9]. To get proper and
effective dimming independent control of intensity and
color is necessary. Many researchers proposed many
topologies to provide independent control of intensity
and color.
In this paper analysis of various dimming techniques
is done. Simulation results using MATLAB/SIMULINK
are shown to verify theoretical concept. Section 2 gives
brief information of light emitting principle and
electrical characteristics of LED. Section 3 gives a brief
review of the driving technique for LEDs. Section 4
represents the simulation results using the various
dimming technique. The conclusion follows in the last
section.

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International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT) 109


Volume 2 Issue 4, July 2014, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

II. LIGHT EMITTING PRINCIPLE AND


ELECTRICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF
LED
2.1 Light-Emitting phenomenon of LED
LEDs is made from heavily doped semiconductor
materials. Under the condition of thermal equilibrium a
PN junction is formed across it. On forward biased the
PN junction, the negative charge carriers from the N
region crosses the junction and get combined with the
positive chare carriers in the P region. These negative
charge carriers are in conduction band and at higher
energy level than the positive charge carries which is in
valence band at lower energy level. When the
recombination process takes place, the electrons which
are at higher energy state release energy in the form of
photons and this effect is known as electroluminescence.
The energy band gap of the material used in LED gives
the information of color of light [10]. Figure 1 shows the
constructional diagram of light emitting diode is used to
describe the light emitting principle. To get maximum
amount of light from LED, metal film connections are
made at the edge of the P type material. This helps to
allow more surface area for the emitted light. The gold
film is deposited at the bottom part of the N type
material which acts as cathode. This helps to reflect the
light towards the surface [11].

Fig. 1 Constructional diagram of LED

2.2 Electrical characteristics of LED


The I-V characteristics of the LED is given

qV/KT -1

I = Is e

(1)

Where I represent the saturation-type conduction current,


V represents the forward voltage. T, K and represents the
thermodynamic temperature, Boltzmann constant and

electron charge respectively. From (1) and figure 2 it is


clear that a small change in the value of the forward
voltage V, current I changes by a large amount and
this change in the current sharply affect the luminous
intensity. As seen from (1), if the thermodynamic
temperature T is increased by a certain amount,
Current I also increases and affects the luminous
efficacy. Electrical characteristics of LEDs depends on
its manufacturing process, each LED product of same
company is differ in its characteristics. It is seen that
brightness of Led decreases with increase in its working
hours. When the brightness reduces, the driving voltage
required to drive the same amount of current also
reduces i.e. LED brightness decreases with increases in
the current [10].

Voltage (volts)

Fig. 2 I-V characteristic of LED

III.

DIMMING TECHNIQUES USED FOR


BRIGHTNESS CONTROL

Different dimming techniques are introduced to regulate


the current across LEDs.
3.1 TRIAC based LED Dimmer
The dimming control of incandescent lamp is very easier
with the TRIAC dimmer. But TRIAC dimmer is not
compatible with the LED lamp, since the holding current
of TRIAC dimmer is more than the forward current for
the LEDs. As the holding current rises by small amount,
it causes a huge increase in the current of LED and
damages it. By controlling the reactive power, it is
possible to increase the forward current of the LED to a
higher value than the holding current of the TRIAC
dimmer. Figure 3 shows the circuit of the TRIAC based
LED dimmer to provide wide dimming range.
Resistance R1 is a variable part and change in its value
helps to regulate the current across LED i.e. the variation(1)
in the brightness across LEDs [12], [13].

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International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT) 110


Volume 2 Issue 4, July 2014, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

Fig. 3 TRIAC dimmer for LED

3.2 Amplitude Modulation Technique


In AM dimming, forward current across LED is control
to control the dimming. Since the luminous flux across
LED is depend on the average value of current and color
of light emitted depends on the peak value of the current.
In AM the peak value and average value of the current
coincides, which causes variation in the color of light
with variation in the intensity. Figure 49a) shows the
schematic representation of AM technique. Current
regulator is used to sense the current of the LED through
sensing resistance R and the error signal is feedback to
the circuit in the form of voltage, which adjust the
voltage of the regulator that provides constant current to
LED. Figure 4(b), (c) shows the waveform of the current
across LED using amplitude modulation dimming [14],
[15], [19].

3.3 Pulse-Width Modulation Technique


The drawback of AM dimming is completely eliminated
in the PWM technique. In this technique independent
control of color and intensity is possible. In place of
control the forward current, the duty cycle of the switch
is control to vary the brightness across LED. Figure 5(a)
shows the schematic diagram of the PWM technique.
The current for the LED load is switches periodically
and this current is controlled form low value to its high
value using switch. Using this technique peak value of
the current remains fixed where as only average value is
changed which is required for dimming. However the
slew rate of PWM technique and continuous ON-Off of
the switch creates oscillation in the current signal which
causes heat loss in the circuit. Figure 5 shows the
waveform of the LED current using PWM technique
[16], [17], [19].
LED

PWM

(a)

(a)
(b)

(b)

(c)
Fig. 5 PWM dimming (a) Control loop diagram (b), (c)
associated waveforms
(c)
Fig 4 AM dimming (a) Control loop diagram
(b), (c) associated waveforms

3.4 Transconductance-Amplifier Dimming


Technique

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International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT) 111


Volume 2 Issue 4, July 2014, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

This technique of dimming control is mostly used in


LED array consists of large number of parallel lamps.
Each leg consist a personnel transistor to control its
current. The limitation of this technique is that large
amount of conduction losses occur which causes a
thermal problem across the circuit. To eliminate this
problem dc-dc converters are introduced, using a single
converter across whole string it is possible to regulate
the current [18].
3.5 Pulse current driving Technique
In this technique signal consists of several nano dozen
pulses current is used to control the dimming as shown
in figure 6.. The advantage of this technique is that
dimming is achieved either by controlling the frequency
or the duty cycle. Pulse current that flows through the
LED load. Pulse current modulator senses the current
flows through the Led using the series resistance and the
cross voltage of this resistance is feedback to the
modulator to produce the pulse for the next cycle. [19].

CCM, depending on the switching action of MOSFET


and diode, two modes of operation are possible namely
mode I and mode II. In mode I MOSFET is in ON state
and diode is reverse biased as in figure 7(b), during this
mode current in the inductors L1, L2 rises and L1 stores
energy from the input source. During mode II Diode
remains forward biased and MOSFET in is OFF state
shown in figure 7(c), L1 and C1 connected in series and
hence same current flows through them. The energy
stored in L1 during mode I is released during this mode
and current across L1, L2 decreases. For the ideal SEPIC
converter voltage gain which is the ratio of output
voltage to input voltage varies with the duty ratio.

(a)
(a)

(b)

(b)
Fig. 6 Pulse current driving technique (a) schematic diagram
(b) Associated waveform

IV.

DC-DC SEPIC CONVERTER

The proposed circuit consists of a MOSFET switch, a


diode, two inductors L1, L2 and two capacitors C1,
C2with their parasitic elements which are not shown in
the figure 7(a). Consideration of parasitic elements is a
better approach because the parasitic elements affect the
accuracy of the system. When the converter operates in

(c)
Fig. 7 (a) DC-DC SEPIC Converter as a driver (b) Mode-I (c)
Mode-II

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International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT) 112


Volume 2 Issue 4, July 2014, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

The state transition matrix for the SEPIC converter with


LED load is replaced by the resistance is given in (2).
Where RSW represent the internal resistance of the switch
[20]-[22].
rSW
L
1
rSW
L
A1 2

rSW
L1

rSW
L2

1
L2

1
C1

0
0

0
0
, A
2 1
0
C

2
1
1

RC2
C2

1
L1

1
C2

1
L1

1
L2
,

RC2

Fig. 8 PWM switching signal

B1 B2
0 0 0 ,
L
1

E1 E2 0 0 0 1 , F1 F2 0

V.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Assume internal resistance of MOSFET switch and


diode to be zero as compared to load resistance. To
validate the concept of PWM technique and its
advantage to control dimming, Simulation results have
been shown using MATLAB/SIMULINK environment.
Two different cases which are used to display the result
are: (i) when supply voltage varies from 9V to 12V at
constant load, (ii) When input supply remains constant
and load varies from 15 to 10. In both the cases for
the defined range of the supply voltage (Vg) and load, a
constant output current is achieved to drive the current
controlled LED load. Figure 8(c) and 18(d) shows the
constant output voltage and current waveform for the
input voltage (Vg) varies from 9V to 15V at load of
10. Figure 8 shows the PWM signal to drive the
switch. Figure 9 shows Output current and voltage
response at 30% and 70 % duty cycle and at constant
input voltage source as well as constant load. Figure 10
shows Output current and voltage response at 30% and
70 % duty cycle and at input voltage source varies from
9V to 15V at load of 10. Figure 11 shows Output
current and voltage response at 30% and 70 % duty
cycle and at constant input voltage of 12V and load
varies from 15 to 10.

(a)

(b)
Fig. 9(a)-(b) Output current and voltage response at 30% and
70 % duty cycle respectively (Vg is 12V & R is 10)

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International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT) 113


Volume 2 Issue 4, July 2014, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

(a)

(b)
Fig. 11(a)-(b) Output current and voltage response at 30 % and
70 % duty cycle respectively (Vg at 12V and R varies from
15 to 10)

VI.

(b)
Fig. 10 (a)-(b) Output current and voltage response at 30 %
and 70 %duty cycle respectively (Vg varies from 9V to 15V
and load R at 10)

CONCLUSION

Different dimming techniques used to control the


brightness of LED lamps are studied in this paper. The
pulse current driving technique exhibits better dimming
feature as compared to other dimming techniques. This
technique offers no variation in the temperature of the
light because of large number of digital components
used in the driver. The switch which is used to regulate
the brightness operates at very high frequency with low
voltage stress. This provides an additional advantage of
using low voltage rating switches.

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