Powering HID ballasts with Atmel MCUs

This month, Bits & Pieces is taking a closer look at Atmel’s versatile lighting (MCU) portfolio. First, we discussed the role Atmel MCUs (microcontrollers) have to play in brightening LED ballasts. Specifically, we’ve highlighted the AVR AT90PWM microcontroller which supports the DALI standard and is used to network multiple ballasts to a centralized system for tighter light level control and significant energy savings.

We’ve also talked about how Atmel MCUs are used to light up fluorescent ballasts, producing warm and inviting light without flickering or humming. And today we are getting up close and personal with the Atmel-side of HID ballasts.

Due to their high light (lumen) output per watt, HID lights work quite well in large indoor and outdoor public areas. They are also being increasingly used for vehicle headlights, projection TVs and displays. However, HID ballasts do require sophisticated wattage control.

Fortunately, the embedded EERPROM on Atmel’s stalwart AT90PWM is capable of storing tube wattages and parameters for accurate wattage detection and parameter adjustment without additional components. Meanwhile, Integrated Power Stage Controllers (PSCs) help reduce electromagnetic interference (EFI), manage lamp power and control voltage in HID lamps.

In addition, Atmel accelerates time to market for engineers with its ATAVRFBKIT light ballast demonstration kit which incorporates a broad range of design features, including universal line input, low harmonic distortion, low stand-by power and aging protection features.

“In short, digital HID ballasts are fast replacing magnetic HID ballasts because of their significant energy and cost savings,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces. “With the Atmel AT90PWM microprocessor family, you can embed up to three Power Stage Controllers (PSCs) to drive your lighting system according your lamp power.”

Interested in learning more about Atmel devices for HID ballasts? Be sure to check out our extensive portfolio here.

4 thoughts on “Powering HID ballasts with Atmel MCUs

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