National Semiconductor’s Dimmable LED driver

National Semiconductor has just released a new integrated circuit, the LM3445, that will be a game changer in the world of LED Lighting. From what I’ve seen one of the tougher challenges for LED integration into standard interior lighting has been dimming. LEDs need very strict power to be maintained and are finicky on how dimming works for them. Pulse Width Modulation seems to be the best way to dim them, but how to control a PWM module from a standard wall dimmer? With only 2 wires running to the light fixture, you’d have to modulate the dimming signals into the AC (like a X10 system) and that gets complicated. National’s new IC helps solve this problem. With some additional circuitry, the voltage from a standard Triac dimmer can be used to control LED dimming without flicker. No additional power supply, only 2 wires powering everything. Only bummer is that the chip can only source for seven 1-Watt LEDs but hopefully that will get solved soon. Hope to see these on some cascadable LED light strips soon. Check out this demonstration done by Arrow Electronics.