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Technology – Driverless

The Role of Drivers in an LED Lamp

Light Emitting Diodes (or LEDs) are negative impedance devices. This means that unless controlled, the current supply to it would continue to increase, causing the lamp to fail almost instantly after starting. To prevent this, a driver, which is a current limiting device, must be used with every LED lamp. The driver serves three functions:

  • It provides the proper starting voltage to establish the correct light up protocol
  • It supplies the proper voltage to operate the LEDs
  • It limits the operating LED current and voltage to a pre-programmed level prescribed by the lamp manufacturer for the optimal operation of the lamp

As a result it is very important that the driver used always be matched to the particular lamp type, wattage and line voltage it is made from. If the incorrect driver is used, the incorrect voltage and current shall be supplied to the LED chips, which will instantly destroy the device.

Traditional LED Driver

LED-lamp-driveA traditional LED driver consists of a combination of resistors, capacitors and diodes that work collectively in circuit to power a series of LEDs. A total of 150 parts make up a driver. When on, all 150 carry electricity through them which generates a large amount of heat.

The LEDs are made of silicon based material that is highly sensitive to heat. The introduction of heat directly impacts the performance of the chips because of this (regardless of quality of LEDs) in ways such as:

  • Loss of lumens/watt
  • High depreciation
  • Discoloration of the chips over time
  • Flickering of the lamp
  • Reduced lifespan

As a result, most LED tubes in the market today have a relatively low efficacy (around 100 lumens/watt) and a lifespan of 50,000 hours. This makes it challenging to find an LED tube that directly replaces a fluorescent with the same brightness and significant savings.

Some manufactures have managed to achieve higher lumens per watt by separating the driver from the LED tube (external driver). This installation however, is time consuming and expensive as it involves removing the fluorescent ballast from the fixture and replacing it with the LED driver for a nominal increase in lumens per watt.

ThinkLite Driverless Technology

At ThinkLite, we are committed to long-term success and to the highest level of quality in our products. Over the past years, we have worked closely with industry leaders to develop, design, manufacture and patent a solution to the driver issue.

Combining expertise with our research partners in Germany and the developmental laboratories at Samsung Inc. in Seoul, Korea, ThinkLite has developed an LED driverless technology that replaces the 150 piece driver with a 4 piece microchip called the T1.

ThinkLite is the first and only company in the world that has been able to design and bring to market this technology of entirely eliminating the driver unit in a linear tube. The A1 chip does the same job the driver does of directing current while producing 90% LESS heat than a driver. 

  • Provide the highest efficacy in the market today (131 lumens/watt)
  • Have a negligible depreciation of lumens (5% over life)
  • Eliminate flickering of the LED lamp
  • Increase lifespan to 65,000 hours (15,000 longer than other tubes)
  • Give off enough light to create unique LED products such as the TL LED T5 tube made to replace a high output T5 HO fluorescent and the TL LED Dual

The T1 microchip is located on the end of the PCB board on which the LEDs are mounted, thus also freeing up the space the driver took up in the back of the tube. Since the need for a hollow back was eliminated it freed up the space for an efficient heat sink. With ThinkLite’s optimized heat dissipation system, the heat generated from the tube is dissipated 90% more efficiently than before. This helps enable a high lumen output in any type of environment and climate.

Advantage of the ThinkLite Technology

Due to the fewer components and moving parts present in the AIC microchip, the heating effect of operation within the lamp is also significantly reduced. This allows our LED to operate at lower temperatures, and thus:

  • Provides the highest efficacy in the marketplace today (131 lumens per watt)
  • Negligible depreciation of lumens on the LED (<5% over 65,000 hours)
  • Elimination of flickering of the LED lamp
  • Increased lifespan of 65,000 hours
  • Allowed for more surface area for an enhanced thermal management system for the LED T8
  • And most importantly, be able to create unique LED products that have never been able to be possible till date, such as the TL LED T5 Tube to specifically replace T5 Fluorescent High Output (HO) tubes, and the TL LED Dual Shine™ Tube for indirect fixtures
  • While meeting all UL, CE, FCC and DLC certification and safety requirements

TL LED T5 HO 4′ tube made to directly replace a T5 HO 54W 4′ fluorescent tube

TL LED Dual Shine™ tube made to retrofit indirect fluorescent fixtures

Typically hollow heat sink design to accommodate driver

Enhanced heat sink with advanced thermal management capabilities enables higher efficacy

Benefits Summary

 Competition

Traditional LED Driver, that acts as a ballast to the LEDs

The traditional LED driver consists of 156 different components working together in a circuit, of which most of them are tiny resistors

The introduction of every component in the design increases the chances of the circuit to break off; and thus, causing the lamp to fail.

The large number of components creates more heat, which:

  • Limits the light that can be produced
  • Increases lumen depreciation
  • Reduces the lifespan of the system
  • Operating temperature: -22°F to +95°F

The introduction of every component in the design increases the chances of the circuit to break off; and thus, causing the lamp to fail.

ThinkLite Technology

ThinkLite AIC Chip and PCB
board now “drives” the LEDs

ThinkLite has reduced the number of components in the circuit to only 4 units, and have compressed it into a single microchip, called the AIC.

As a result of this technology, less heat is now created in the system, allowing us to:

  • Produce significantly more light per watt    
  • Negligible Lumen Depreciation
  • Highest lifespan and reliability in the industry
  • Ability to withstand higher surrounding temperatures: -30°F to +149°F
  • Ability to create more variations and styles of products, such as the T5 LED tube and Dual Shine™ LED tube

And lastly, this design is quicker, easier and less expensive to produce, while being more efficient.