Modular LED Driving System for Architectural and Entertainment Lighting Systems
1. A modular power supply system for LED light fixtures comprising:
- a master circuit card including a processor executing a stored program to interpret digital lighting control signals received over a first communication channel and providing power control signals; and
at least two servant circuit cards receiving the power control signals to control voltage converters to provide independent power outputs to LED lamps according to the power control signals.
A modular power supply system for LED light fixtures provides a master circuit card interpreting digital lighting control signals received over a first communication channel and providing power control signals to servant circuit cards receiving the power control signals to control voltage converters to provide independent power outputs to LED lamps according to the power control signals.
- 1. A modular power supply system for LED light fixtures comprising:
a master circuit card including a processor executing a stored program to interpret digital lighting control signals received over a first communication channel and providing power control signals; and at least two servant circuit cards receiving the power control signals to control voltage converters to provide independent power outputs to LED lamps according to the power control signals.
This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application 62/652,414 filed Apr. 4, 2018 and hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
The present invention relates generally to LED driving systems useful for lighting and in particular to a modular system that can be quickly tailored to a variety of different lighting applications.
Early lighting control systems for theater and architectural applications employed a central dimmer panel with high-powered conductors leading to each lighting unit, typically incandescent lights, the conductors distributing the necessary power as preprocessed by the dimmer panel to produce the desired light level. With the advent of LED lighting and low-cost microprocessor systems, it is currently typical for each lighting unit to be closely associated with an individual dimmable power supply and the central dimmer panel, if used, to distribute digital signals controlling the dimmable power supplies to generate the desired lighting level. In this way the need to provide high-powered conductors from a central source to each lighting unit is eliminated.
The digital signals used for such distributed control, for example, may be according to the known DMX 512 or RS-485 standards which provide some compatibility across lighting suppliers.
Manufacturers of lighting units or lighting assemblies will normally design custom circuitry to provide the necessary power to the LED lighting units. In the simplest case, this custom circuitry receives electrical power at a nominal voltage and provides a regulated current to the LED lamps as required by LED devices. The circuitry may employ a so-called “buck” or “boost” type circuitry operating with feedback to regulate current to the desired levels and voltages which may be defined by component values of the circuitry or programmable switches or the like. If remote control of the lighting units is desired, the circuitry may incorporate circuitry (typically a microprocessor) to decode the digital control signals and to implement simple control routines controlling the output current according to these control signals. Depending on the power required by the lighting unit, different circuit designs are required using different components and coupling the circuitry with different power supplies and cooling systems.
The wide variety of lighting systems and applications used in entertainment and architectural situations normally require a custom circuit, power supply, and enclosure to be prepared for each such application greatly increasing the costs of such systems.
The present invention provides a modular LED driver system using preprepared circuit cards that may be assembled in modular fashion to address a wide variety of power output requirements. In addition, the housing accommodating the circuit cards may be modular largely eliminating the need for custom circuit design and housing construction. By providing master and servant modules, power output can be readily scaled without the need for unnecessary duplicated components to decode digital control signals and implement control routines. This arrangement also allows extremely simple configurations requiring servant modules only.
These particular objects and advantages may apply to only some embodiments falling within the claims and thus do not define the scope of the invention.
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The housing 12 may generally provide for a planar baseplate 16 having opposed upstanding sidewalls 18 joined with respective top edges by a spanning top plate 20. Each of the baseplate 16, sidewalls 18, and top plate 20 may be an electrically and thermally conductive material such as aluminum and may thermally and electrically intercommunicate to provide electrical shielding and a common heat sink. A second baseplate 17 may optionally attach under the first baseplate 16 and have tabs to allow the housing 12 to be mounted to a surface.
An optional metal front panel 22 may attach over a front opening of the housing 12 on one side, for example, by machine screws or the like, and similarly an optional metal rear panel 24 may attach over and opposed rear opening of the housing by similar machine screws or the like to complete a Faraday shield provided by the housing 12.
Each of the circuit cards 14, for example, may provide for an aluminum core circuit card capable of communicating heat from components on the circuit card to the walls of the housing 12 by direct mechanical contact, for example, through mounting brackets or the like. Opposed vertical edges of the circuit cards 14 at the front and rear of the housing 12 support releasable electrical connectors 26 and 28 that may be exposed through apertures 30 and 32 cut in the front panel 22 and rear panel 24 respectively so that these connectors 26 and 28 may attach to external circuits and devices as will be described. Generally, the connectors 26 may each receive electrical power provided by a power supply 35 which may be shared or centralized among many servant modules. One connector 26 (associated with master circuit cards 14′) may receive control signals such as DMX/RDM using for example RS 482 transport.
The output connectors 28 may provide connections to connectors 37 providing electrical current to lighting units 38 or a fan 15 that may be used to provide supplemental forced convection cooling if required when the housing 12 is incorporated into a larger assembly such as a light fixture. Generally, the output connectors 28 associated with each circuit card 14 may drive different light fixtures 38 or may be connected in parallel to drive a light fixture 38.
The circuit cards 14 also include connectors 34 which may attach to ribbon cables 36 providing a daisy chained communication between each of the circuit cards 14. This communication allows coordination of master and servant cards and may, for example, employ a number of communication protocols including but not limited to SPI, UART, and I2C protocols known in the art.
The modular LED lighting power system 10 may include a local control module 40, for example, allowing adjustment of parameters such as units DMX address. Optionally this local control module 40 may provide a simplified user interface including an LCD display 42, a membrane switch 44, and optionally a control knob 45 that may be used to provide control signals through a cable 46 connecting the connector 26 to the master circuit card 14′. This local control module 40 may be functionally equivalent to a standard dimmer panel but of lower cost and may allow for local (proximate to the lighting units 38) lighting level control including the execution of simple lighting sequences. Alternatively, the connector 26 of circuit card 14′ may connect to a standard remote lighting panel or the like.
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The servant circuit cards 14″ may include a simpler microprocessor 60 than the one provided on the master circuit card 14′ and need not interpret digital control signals from a remote device. The servant circuit cards 14′ may also provide onboard programming by means of switches 63 or replaceable resistors or the like to be used without a master circuit card 14′ if desired to produce a steady programmed output power with the controlled current.
Generally, the output voltage of each circuit card 14 may vary from 56 to 36 volts and may provide a power output of approximately 100 Watts so that a total of 500 Watts of output power may be created with a master control circuit card 14′ and four servant control boards 14″, for example. Preferably the output is current-controlled to a predetermined current value independent of the load.
The signals received by the master circuit card 14′ may be high-level signals that describe, for example, a sequence of lighting effects such as a gradual fade-in over a predetermined time period or fade-out, or other sequence. The outputs provided by the master circuit card 14′ to the servant circuit cards 14″ are generally primitive commands indicating a particular voltage and current value. Accordingly, the servant circuit cards 14″ may have reduced computational requirements. The ability to divorce the master circuit card circuitry 14′ from this circuitry of the servant circuit cards 14″ allows greater flexibility in accommodating the power requirements of various LED fixtures and allows the production of a lower cost system when multiple independent control signals are required by eliminating the need for multiple master control circuit cards 14′. This approach also allows the sharing of a power supply among the servant circuit cards 14″ and placement of that power supply closer to the proximity of the LED lamps.
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Certain terminology is used herein for purposes of reference only, and thus is not intended to be limiting. For example, terms such as “upper”, “lower”, “above”, and “below” refer to directions in the drawings to which reference is made. Terms such as “front”, “back”, “rear”, “bottom” and “side”, describe the orientation of portions of the component within a consistent but arbitrary frame of reference which is made clear by reference to the text and the associated drawings describing the component under discussion. Such terminology may include the words specifically mentioned above, derivatives thereof, and words of similar import. Similarly, the terms “first”, “second” and other such numerical terms referring to structures do not imply a sequence or order unless clearly indicated by the context.
When introducing elements or features of the present disclosure and the exemplary embodiments, the articles “a”, “an”, “the” and “said” are intended to mean that there are one or more of such elements or features. The terms “comprising”, “including” and “having” are intended to be inclusive and mean that there may be additional elements or features other than those specifically noted. It is further to be understood that the method steps, processes, and operations described herein are not to be construed as necessarily requiring their performance in the particular order discussed or illustrated, unless specifically identified as an order of performance. It is also to be understood that additional or alternative steps may be employed.
References to “a microprocessor” and “a processor” or “the microprocessor” and “the processor,” can be understood to include one or more microprocessors that can communicate in a stand-alone and/or a distributed environment(s), and can thus be configured to communicate via wired or wireless communications with other processors, where such one or more processor can be configured to operate on one or more processor-controlled devices that can be similar or different devices. Furthermore, references to memory, unless otherwise specified, can include one or more processor-readable and accessible memory elements and/or components that can be internal to the processor-controlled device, external to the processor-controlled device, and can be accessed via a wired or wireless network.
It is specifically intended that the present invention not be limited to the embodiments and illustrations contained herein and the claims should be understood to include modified forms of those embodiments including portions of the embodiments and combinations of elements of different embodiments as come within the scope of the following claims. All of the publications described herein, including patents and non-patent publications, are hereby incorporated herein by reference in their entireties.