Tiny boost converter reduces power use in portable displays by 55%

nationallm3530Santa Clara, Calif. — National Semiconductor Corp. has claimed the industry’s smallest white light-emitting diode (LED) driver with dynamic display backlight control that claims to reduce power consumption of portable displays by up to 55 percent. The LM3530, a member of National’s PowerWise energy-efficient product family, drives up to 11 high-current LEDs in series, illuminating larger displays in portable media devices such as smartphones. The LM3530 is offered in a 12-bump micro SMD package measuring 1.615 x 1.215 x 0.425 mm.

The LM3530 LED driver uses sophisticated ambient light-sensing algorithms and content-adjustable backlighting to optimize the display, achieving up to a 55 percent power savings over the common practice of driving the backlight at a constant brightness.

In a pair of tests, National compared the energy consumption of a backlight illuminating a 3.5-inch iPod touch display with and without National’s LM3530 LED driver. The evaluation was conducted using typical multimedia downloadable material, in this case an episode from a television series and a trailer from a popular movie. National said results showed the LM3530 achieved a power savings of 43 percent and 55 percent, respectively, over traditional backlighting. The predominately darker picture in the movie trailer garnered further power savings because the backlight was reduced more frequently for dark images.

The LM3530 current-mode boost converter can supply up to 29.5 mA of power to 11 white LEDs from a single-cell lithium-ion battery. A wide degree of programmability via an I2C compatible interface enables the designer to adjust for lighting effects such as fading, external ambient conditions and lighting level, as well as brightness and image performance.

The LM3530’s programmable ambient light response along with a separate pulse-width modulation (PWM) dimming input enable the backlight LED driver to intelligently determine lighting requirements and select between various dimming options, optimizing the light output for the given conditions, said National. Logarithm and linear LED brightness mapping provides flicker-free dimming, and a fixed-frequency, 500 kHz boost converter provides high efficiency over the LED current range.

Availability: The LM3530 is available now. For parallel charge pumps, National will offer a product with a similar feature set in October 2009.
Pricing: $1.99 in quantities of 1,000.
Resources: National’s LED drivers.