PWM/Digital LED Driver IC chips

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An anonymous poster criticized my use of LM317 chips as current regulators for high-power LEDs. While I think they are great for 350 mA single LEDs, they are clearly inappropriate for the 12 watt LED that I was playing with.

My LED was taking around 800 mA @ 12 volts. A little searching around reveals that a good alternative is the AP8803 which is a LED buck driver which can handle 1 amps @ 8-30 volts. The nice thing (aside from its 92% efficiency) is that you can set up a dimmer circuit on it using minimal parts -- or PWM control from a microcontroller.

For 350 mA LEDs, the AMC 7135 seems to be a popular choice although it's just a linear regulator, just like an LM317. Here's some AMC7135 driver hacking:

and some hacking schematics:

If you want ready-made LED drivers, this website has a good list of choices:

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Some people are recommending the LT1618 as an option as well. It's good for powering things off USB:,C1,C1003,C1042,C1035,P2079

Here's a blog entry with notes:

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This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on April 26, 2010 9:56 PM.

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Household LED replacement bulbs (E27 / PAR30) is the next entry in this blog.

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