By BizLED Bureau
Mar 15, 2016: Quality and technology go hand in hand. Improvement in one leads to improvement in another. Lighting engineers constantly innovate to design low-flicker or flicker-free luminaires. Consumers expect flicker very low to be detected by human eye. The manufacturing process is made in such a way that this trait should not be observed outside the processing unit. This has led to extreme for defining ‘low’ on flicker parameters and was Soraa’s initiating point for the design of new flicker-free MR16.
Eliminating flicker completely is a daunting task and to begin with, the physics of flicker is to translate the solution on an electronic circuit to perform the job. The careful detailing on the circuit, with the optimum check on resources, will get you there. According to Soraa’s Chief Electronics Architect Laszlo Takacs, there are two crucial electronic stages while designing flicker-free luminaires.
Eliminating or curbing flicker completely requires two separate energy converters (called stages) to be used instead of the usual single-stage converter. The first stage involved accepting power riddled with all the possible fluctuations and flicker-producing variability of an AC power grid. This power is transferred to an electrolytic capacitor. The amount of energy in the capacitor will fluctuate after AC power fluctuates but it shall not drop to zero. The second stage operation will become more crucial to eliminate flicker to keep the LEDs perfectly and steadily lit using the capacitor as its power source. This process works as the capacitor always has some energy available even when the AC input power drops out.
The two-stage solution was workable but had few limitations. It required every electronic stage to convert power with certain efficiency. Heating of the lamp is inversely proportional to the total efficiency of the lamp and efficiency of both stages is multiplied together. Let us explain this with an example. Two stages that were each 90% efficient and we had a minimum allowable efficiency of 85% before the lamp would run too hot. Two stages in series would result in only 81% efficiency which wasn’t optimum for Soraa’s MR16. A solution for the increased efficiency was:
In a two-stage circuit, each stage has its own functionality. The first stage keeps the capacitor topped off and stage two runs the LEDs but the two stages do not interact with each other. To increase the efficiency to acceptable levels, both stages have to cohesively manage the energy in an electrolytic capacitor. This multidimensional control solution gave the required efficiency but it became complex enough that the circuitry no longer fits into the lamp.
Digital LED driver resolves the complexity within the stages. Using software to control the lamp’s electronic stages, the complexity can be raised without making new changes to the physical circuit. Multidimensional digital power conversion would allow the Soraa MR16 to perform effectively.
LED lighting guide: Minimizing ‘flicker’ for LED luminaires
Soraa’s Digital MR16 production began with the determination to produce perfect light. And it shaped up as the most capable and versatile lamp in the product lineup. Some key points for Soraa Digital MR16 to produce the world’s best light:
- Remembering statistics on product’s operation
- Total operating time, number of starts, thermal history and more
- Knows AC or DC power
- Monitoring and managing the health and lifetime of its electrolytic capacitor
- Being cool at maximum efficiency without sacrificing light quality
- Receive programming upgrades
Usage of computers and smartphones enable upgrades in capability through new firmware or software. Soraa is bringing this angle to its product line with attendant increases in capability and reliability while reducing production costs.
Soraa’s digital advancement has given a solution to a specific technical problem. It has changed the way we look at an entire product line. Soraa’s switch to digital lighting is just the tip of an iceberg with more marvels and advancements to come.