# Calculate inductor for DC-DC driving LEDs

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by gorbounov, Jun 5, 2009.

1. ### gorbounov Thread Starter New Member

Jun 5, 2009
3
0
Hello friends,

I want to build a simple DC-DC converter to drive 15 LEDs from a 3V source.

(I know there exist a similar topic on that here, employing 555, but actually I have trouble calculating the inductor.)

The idea is to use a PWM to drive a low power NPN transistor. The transistor will switch on and off a coil which will ensure the necessary current for the LEDs (see the figure).

Please, help me to calculate the inductor L!!! I am a bit frustrated because I don't know how L depends on the PWM frequency and how L depends on load (15 LEDs x 2,4V drop = 36V!). How to calculate L such that the current is constant - say 10mA.
The only formula I know about L is:
L = μ0 . μfe . (S / lav) . ω^2
where S is the area, lav is the average magnetic line and w is the number of turns. Nothing about I and the frequency...
What will happen if I try to control the PWM duty cycle? I want to be able to dim the LEDs.

Thank you

Feb 4, 2008
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3. ### gorbounov Thread Starter New Member

Jun 5, 2009
3
0
Hi,

It seems to me that the Boost converted you just proposed is exactly my circuit. I see no difference except the fact that in my case the diode is included in load (following what is depicted in the Wiki).

Feb 4, 2008
4,846
70
5. ### hgmjr Retired Moderator

Jan 28, 2005
9,029
219
One of the formulas that you will need is this one.

$\frac{\Delta i}{\Delta t}=\frac{V}{L}$

$\Delta i$ is the change in current.
$\Delta t$ is the change in time.
V is the voltage across the inductor (in your case 3V).
L is the inductance in Henries.

hgmjr

6. ### hgmjr Retired Moderator

Jan 28, 2005
9,029
219
Are you planning to include any voltage regulation into your design? For example, do you plan to feedback a signal that is proportional to the output DC voltage present across the LEDs and then use that to adjust the PWM duty cycle to improve on the quality fo the DC voltage being generated?

hgmjr

Jul 17, 2007
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8. ### AchMED Active Member

Aug 5, 2008
41
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You can do it using discrete components but why ?

NCP3065 constant current controller

Read through the application notes as well as the example designs they also have an excel spread sheet that will do all the math for you.For the excel sheet look under "Technical Information"- "Design & Development Tool". You will also find some design examples. This IC is comparable in price to a 555 or not much more.

http://www.onsemi.com/PowerSolutions/product.do?id=NCP3065PG

Or the TPS40211 another reasonably priced controller.

http://focus.ti.com/docs/prod/folders/print/tps40211.html

There are lots of controllers that have a Dimming capability one off the top of my head is the IRS254x series wide operating voltage range.

http://www.irf.com/product-info/datasheets/data/irs2540pbf.pdf

Go to distributors like Digikey or Newark etc and search LED drivers you will find a pretty good selection from cheap to expensive.

9. ### Wendy Moderator

Mar 24, 2008
21,838
3,047
I suspect the value of the inductor, once you've met the minimum, isn't that critical. How fast that transistor switches counts, and you will need a duration on the on time to almost saturate the coil (but not completely). The current won't be constant, it will pulse the LEDs, the size of the inductor will set the max current of the pulse, and the frequency will set the intensity. I'm going to be curious if you can do it myself, 36V from 3VDC seems a long reach.

If you work the math out I'd be interested in seeing that too.

10. ### gorbounov Thread Starter New Member

Jun 5, 2009
3
0
Many thanks to all so far, but special thanks to SgtWookie!I think the link is very useful and will study it.

11. ### SgtWookie Expert

Jul 17, 2007
22,201
1,809
Keep in mind that Ronald Dekker's circuits were designed to be operated from 12v; if you're trying to run from 3v, you won't be able to use a power MOSFET, as the available voltage won't be sufficient for the MOSFETs' gate; even logic-level MOSFETs won't work properly.

Here's a link to an EDN Design Ideas article which closely matches your requirements:
http://www.edn.com/article/CA6622872.html?spacedesc=designideas&industryid=44217
PDF of article; see pages 3 & 4:
http://www.edn.com/contents/images/6622872.pdf

Page 6 of this article describes a 2-transistor inductive driver for a single LED:
http://www.edn.com/contents/images/6648783.pdf

This article shows a circuit capable of driving six LEDs from 1.5v using an inductor and a CMOS 555 timer:
http://www.edn.com/article/CA6598371.html?spacedesc=designideas&industryid=44217
See 2nd page of the PDF: http://www.edn.com/contents/images/6598371.pdf
You may be able to use this circuit as-is, but be aware that the current through the LEDs will be pulsed, and not constant DC current.

12. ### nrg2009 New Member

Jan 19, 2010
2
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Could anyone expand on how to use the TPS40211? I'm looking for a simple driver to use with my 12VAC 5A powersource to drive 3W LED's for landscape lighting.
I appreciate any input.

13. ### SgtWookie Expert

Jul 17, 2007
22,201
1,809
The datasheet for the TPS40211 is located here: