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LED Driver Technical Glossary

1. AC Input Voltage

The nominal range on the power supply label as approved by the safety agency is always 10% less than the usable input voltage range. For example, a switching power supply with a nominal 100 to 240VAC has an actual range of 90 to 264VAC. Our datasheet shows the usable voltage range; the label will show the safety agency rating.

2. AC Input Frequency

The nominal range of 47 to 63 Hz is important in linear power supplies, but most switchers are insensitive to input frequency and can operate from DC to 400Hz. This is especially important in countries where the power may be of poor quality.

3. AC Input Current

The current drawn under the maximum DC load. Safety agencies require this be marked on the label.

4. AC Inrush Current

The instantaneous current drawn when the power supply is turned on cold. a peak current is required to charge the empty bulk capacitor. This momentary peak is also called the inrush current. Larger power supplies generally incorporate a thermistor to limit this amount. It is most important in considering an AC switch rating.

5. Power Factor

Power factor (pf) is defined as the ratio of the real power (P) to apparent power (S), or the cosine (for pure sine wave for both current and voltage) that represents the phase angle between the current and voltage waveforms.

6. DC Output Voltage

The nominal voltage setting. In adaptors, this voltage is preset. With open frame power supplies, a voltage adjust potentiometer is standard. The adjustable range is usually 5%.

7. Efficiency

Output power divided by Input Power. This will vary depending on the load and AC input voltage. Values shown are usually nominal at rated voltage and load.

8. Emissions

Electromagnetic radiation emitted into the atmosphere from the power supply. Conducted is that energy sent down the AC line cord; radiated is sent into the air. Adaptors must meet both but many open frame switchers are only rated for conducted (the assumption being that they will be placed into the customer's box).

9. Hipot (Dielectric Withstand)

The test voltage between the input and output, and output to ground. See our safety compliance section.

10. Hold-up Time

Determined by the storage factor within the power supply. In linear supplies, the time output fails when AC input fails, is almost immediate. In switching power supplies, energy is stored in the bulk (input electrolytic) capacitor providing a useable hold up time to protect against transient power outages. Since this is highly proportional to AC voltage and DC load, it is given under specified conditions. High AC voltage and low DC loads provide the best conditions.

11. Immunity

Testing done to determine immunity from electromagnetic or electro static discharge (ESD). The European IEC 801 or 1000 or EN61000 are test specifications and procedures. Dash numbers indicates the levels. Generally, the higher the number, the better the power supply is able to withstand the test condition.

12. Leakage Current

Leakage current is the current flowing from the protective earth (PE) conductor, such as metal enclosure, of equipment to frame ground (FG). Due to EMI requirements in LED driver, there are Y capacitors connected in between AC L/N and PE conductor. A low current will flow through the Y-caps to FG.

13. Line Regulation

The change in DC output voltage when the AC input voltage is varied throughout its range while the DC load is held constant. Although the effect of line change, within specified range, on output voltage would not be significant, minimizing length of input wiring and limitation on the amounts of units connected to the same AC source is recommended.

14. Load Regulation

The change in DC output voltage when the DC load is varied. Unless otherwise specified, the range is minimum load to full load. The AC voltage is held at nominal during this test.

15. Minimum Load

Some switching power supplies require a minimum load to stay within their specifications. However, operating them unloaded does no damage.

16. Maximum Load

The load specified for continuous operation. This will be the load used for safety applications.

17. MTBF

Mean time between failures was a term adopted by the military and elaborated on in MIL-HDBK-217, which provides values for capacitors, resistors, etc. An alternate standard was developed by Bell Labs (Bellcore).

18. Over Current Protection (OCP)

Modern power supplies are almost always provided with some form of short circuit protection(SCP).

19. Over voltage Protection (OVP)

More important in linears, where failure of a pass transistor could easily put excess voltage on IC's. With switchers, most failures cause no output at all.

20. Over Temperature Protection (OTP)

This protection is to prevent internal components of LED driver from overheating and damage, or to prevent decrease in lifetime due to high ambient temperature, overloading, or malfunction of LED driver.

21. Operation Temperature

The ambient temperature conditions under which the supply was designed to operate at full load. Most power supplies can operate at higher ambient if the output load is properly derated.

22. Peak Loading

For transient conditions only (such as disk drive start up). The power supply may not remain within specified regulation during the peak condition. The amount of time this load can be applied (duty cycle) varies greatly from design to design. It's best to consult the factory with your load profile.

23. Ripple

The AC component superimposed over the DC output voltage. In linear power supplies, this is the traditional "hum" at 60 or 120 hertz. In switching power supplies, it is a complex waveform. Although traditionally spec’d at 1%, it is often much lower. Ripple can increase at maximum loading and minimum input voltage.

24. Switching Frequency

Term used by switchers only. Many switching power supplies operate at a fixed frequency; some use variable frequency designs.

25. Vibration Test

The test simulates the usage of LED driver in high vibration environment, and verifies the LED driver's capability of operating under this situation. It is conducted with a single unit or an entire carton in the X, Y, and Z axes, and with sine wave acceleration of specified amplitude, frequency in each of the three axes at specified period of time.

26. Auxiliary Power

External power source may be required for LED driver with remote control or alarm function for status monitoring. For convenience of application, the power source is designed into the LED driver.