• The TI driver IC offers flexibility in a number of areas ranging from the output voltage to the LED strings to dimming controls. Indeed, the target applications with extremely high LED counts demand such flexibility.

    The output voltage to the strings, for example, can range from 12V to 95V. The range allows the driver to work with the large strings of individual emitters or the broad array of multi-die packaged LEDs that manufacturers such as Cree, Philips Lumileds and others have developed with varying forward-voltage configurations.

    The dimming implementation is flexible both in terms of how the dimming settings are conveyed and applied. Product designers can control dimming directly using a pulse width modulated (PWM) signal generated by a component such as a microcontroller. Alternatively, a design can use a DC voltage level to control the dim level. The third option is a digital transmission of a series of data bytes that convey the setting.

    The dimming commands can be applied universally to all six LED channels. Or a design can group channels into two sets of two channels, and two single channels and apply different dimming levels to each.

    While six channels is sufficient for most applications with LEDs getting brighter on an ongoing basis, a design can cascade multiple LM3463 ICs to drive even more strings. In such applications, one LM3463 serves as the master and settings such as dimming levels are then passed along to slave devices using the serial data control scheme.

    The LM3463 also includes a number of protection features including LED open- and short-circuit protection, over-temperature protection, and under-voltage lockout. Moreover, a global analog brightness control implements thermal foldback, and protects the LED strings from high-temperature conditions. The IC requires external MOSFETs to drive each string.

    Single channel driver ICs such as the new Allegro Microsystems A6211 can integrate the MOSFET and still offer flexibility in terms of output voltage. The driver IC supports output voltages ranging from 6V to 48V to supply varying configurations of LEDs in a single series string or multiple parallel strings.

    Designed for consumer, industrial, and architectural lighting applications, a single external current-sense resistor allows the driver IC to be configured for the LEDs and topology used in a specific application. The driver supports dimming via a PWM input.

    Moving to the opposite end of the driver IC spectrum, the new Diodes AL5812 IC supplies 150 mA of current and is optimized for use with the growing class of mid-power 0.5W LEDs. Diodes specifically targets applications such as signage and low-light SSL applications with the product.

    The 60W output would typically drive a single string of as many as 16 mid-power LEDs. Current is set via an external resistor. The driver IC does not support dimming. The design is optimized for a minimal bill of materials and low cost.


  • In the midst of October’s freak snowstorm that knocked out power to thousands, Robert Gracin watched as his neighbors at Madison at Macungie Village powered up their dark apartment with a generator.

    When their lights came on, so did some of the apartment complex’s outdoor lights. Gracin, an electrician, thought that was odd.

    Several months later, other tenants in the complex, Brian and Kelly Magill, had trouble with their electric stove. They thought it odd when they shut off their apartment’s power to fix the stove and the lights in front of their building went off, too.

    Gracin and the Magills now know why. The wiring for some outdoor lights at the complex was hooked to the electric meters of some apartments. Since tenants pay their own electric bills based on those meter readings, that meant some tenants had been paying to light public portions of the village.

    Gracin and the Magills are at odds with the complex over how much they should be reimbursed.

    Christine Murray, regional property manager for Madison Apartment Group, said the complex has made an offer, which she wouldn’t disclose.

    The Magills and Gracin, who lived at the apartments with his fiancee but recently moved, told me they reviewed the offer with their attorney Tuesday and rejected it. They also declined to disclose the amount.

    “It was basically a slap in the face,” Kelly Magill said.

    Their lawyer has requested reimbursement for all of their electricity costs since they have lived in the apartments in Macungie, about $7,701 for the Magills and about $4,454 for Gracin and his fiance.

    Murray would not discuss that request with me.

    “It is our policy not to conduct dialogues with our residents in the media,” she said in an email. “We are always willing to listen with courtesy to our residents’ concerns, and are available to discuss this matter at their convenience.”

    Gracin and the Magills told me the apartment complex hadn’t listened or taken their complaint seriously at first, which is why they went to a lawyer, PPL and the Watchdog.

    “We tried to talk to them and be rational with this,” Gracin told me.

    In letters to Gracin’s fiancee and the Magills, PPL said it had found wiring for other lights on the property connected to their meters.

    Murray told me they had been paying for two lights that illuminate the front step area of their buildings. She said it’s unclear how the error happened, because the wiring and lights were in place when Macungie Apartment Associates bought the property in 2007.


  • It took about 10 years of planning and acquiring parcels of land, but Acme Fresh Market officials are ready to rebuild their State Road store, which has been falling into disrepair, in Cuyahoga Falls.

    “Customers have been hugely patient,” said Acme President Steve Albrecht on Monday.

    Albrecht said he knows the Acme No. 10 customers have been shopping in an underserved store, but now he added, “We’re excited about rewarding them with the best we can come up with.”

    Albrecht Inc., the real estate development unit for Acme, will today submit plans to the city for an $8 million expansion and redesign.

    The store, which dates to the 1950s, will go from 30,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet with expanded bakery, floral, prepared foods, perishables and deli/meat departments. The store will add 40 employees to its current 70.

    The store serves customers in Cuyahoga Falls, including the Northampton area and many in the North Hill area of Akron, said Acme Executive Vice President Jim Trout. “We know we have to earn some customers back,” he added.

    Acme wants to break ground May 1 and be finished Nov. 1. The entrance will face north off a large parking lot; the entrance now faces east, fronting State Road.

    The only thing that will be “old” will be a 1950s-era Acme sign. A similar sign was removed in 2003 when State Road was widened and upgraded. It has been in storage and will be updated with LED lights, said Albrecht.

    The sign is the impetus for the design of the store’s exterior, which will have a 1950s look, he said.

    “This will be unique. The neighborhood is well-established. [The store] has been there since the ’50s. That brand-new store will fit right into that community,” he said.

    The store will remain open during construction, and the shopping area will be moved to the newer parts as they are completed. The last of the project’s three phases will see the demolition of the existing store within the new one, said Albrecht.

    Apartment tenants are moving out, and the Custom Auto Detailing and Hand Car Wash will be open until March 15 before moving to 411 West Ave. in Tallmadge, said its owner, Ron Shuler.

    Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Robart, a regular shopper at the State Road Acme, recalled maneuvering around pails catching water from the ceiling at least three years ago. He said he called the city’s community and economic development director and told them “we can’t have this in Cuyahoga Falls.”

    Robart said he believes there is room for multiple groceries in the area, with the rebuilt Acme set to compete with a new grocery store in Portage Crossing and a nearby Marc’s.

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  • led light 06.01.2012 No Comments

    Savant Systems LLC has announced that the company will be showcasing a control, automation and media system at CES 2012 based upon Savant’s scalable SmartMedia solution that is targeted to a broad consumer market segment.

    In addition to controlling lighting, climate, security cameras and more, the versatile SmartMedia controller will be configured to demonstrate multi-zone audio, video distribution throughout the NextGen home and—Savant’s revolutionary on-TV control portal, TrueCommand.

    “As automation becomes available to a larger base of consumers, Savant is excited for the opportunity to demonstrate a powerful yet cost effective whole-home control and automation package at CES 2012,” reported Savant’s General Manager of Residential Business, Jim Carroll.

    SmartEnergy Monitor: Savant’s SmartEnergy technology, which will be operational and on display within the NextGen home, measures both energy usage and production in real-time while delivering historical usage data from multiple energy management devices.

    SmartEnergy Monitor empowers homeowners with critical information and the capacity to improve overall efficiency while maintaining their preferred lifestyle. Once installed, users can monitor every aspect of electricity usage, from appliances to heating and lighting. Energy usage and/or production data can be viewed from home or remotely using an iPad.

    Savant Select: From simple source control to complete two-way whole-home automation, the Savant Select seamlessly merges the familiar functionality of Apple’s latest iPod touch with easy-to-use push buttons, creating a sleek yet powerful home control interface. Supporting Savant’s TrueControl iPod touch App and TrueCommand On-TV navigation, this powerful smart remote delivers the perfect balance of backlit pushbuttons and a 3.5-inch color touch screen.

    TrueCommand On-TV control: Savant’s TrueCommand technology provides the most advanced and visually engaging way to navigate, browse, and select diverse services and multimedia content by boldly presenting attractive icons on any high definition TV. TrueCommand enables complete control of all home systems without the need to interrupt your audio or video programming. While watching your favorite movie, use a Savant home control remote to easily adjust the temperature, dim the lights, check security cameras, obtain weather updates and more.

    TrueImage Control: Savant’s TrueImage Control technology provides an innovative interface that allows you to touch actual images of Smart Home products to initiate commands. Simply touch the image of the actual light in the room you wish to control, and not only does the light in the room turn on/off or dim when pressed and held, but it also illuminates on the iPad confirming the command.

    Savant Sound: Complimenting the SmartMedia multi-room A/V control system, Savant’s impressive array of architectural loudspeakers and 16-channel digital amplifier will be utilized to fill the NextGen home with great sound throughout three independent zones. Full control of the distributed audio system will be demonstrated on the iPad and Savant Select remote.

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  • MUTE has a curb weight of just 500 kg (1,102 pounds), including the batteries, thanks to an aluminum frame with a carbon fiber reinforced plastic chassis that’s said to generate very little aerodynamic drag. The vehicle features narrow tires to minimize rolling resistance and extend range, and has sporty single-wheel suspension for optimum power transmission between wheels and road.

    Its 10 kWh lithium-ion battery solution (with a glass fiber reinforced housing to protect the battery pack in the event of a crash) is said to give the vehicle’s electronically limited 15kW, L7E-certified electric motor enough juice for a range of at least a 100 km (62 miles) and a top speed of 120 km/h (74.5 mph). Charging is reported to take 3 to 4 hours at 230V, but MUTE also benefits from a 4 kWh zinc-air range extender located at the front of the vehicle.

    The TUM researchers also incorporated a specially-developed active torque vectoring differential drive that’s said to offer excellent driving performance in spite of the relatively small electric power system. A small electric motor in the differential functions as both a motor and generator to distribute optimum power to the two rear wheels. One benefit of MUTE’s torque vectoring technology is its ability to recover up to twice as much energy during braking compared to vehicles operating without the system.

    User interface elements like a navigation system that chooses the route based on energy-efficiency, and indicates the location of nearby charging stations, and infotainment outlets like radio are brought together into a centrally-positioned touchpad control. The vehicle can also cater for server-based mobile services such as allowing a user to check the status of charging via a smartphone.

    Other notable features of this electric city car concept include air-conditioning which heats the inside of the vehicle via a carbon neutral, ethanol-powered heater during colder months, an electronic stability program (ESP) system, crash elements made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic, and LED strip daytime running lights to complement the energy-efficient LED main lights.

    The project is also looking into the potential of semi-autonomous driving, where a driver externally controls the vehicle with the aid of onboard video streams and a wireless link.

    The MUTE team has developed a strategy for mass production, which should see the vehicle competing in the same price range as its combustion engine cousins. A prototype model was recently showcased at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt.

    We’ll be keeping a close watch on future developments, and will keep you updated on MUTE’s progress towards commercial availability.

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