Buck LED Driver IC - 2014 market analysis and overview.

1. Manufacturer

2. Internal or external switch (MOSFET)

3. Single-channel or multi-channel

4. Special feature automotive AEC-Q100

5. Output current

6. Input voltage

7. Summary


Optional: Start page for DC/DC LED driver IC with information, details and start choice for Boost LED Driver IC (Step-Up LED Driver) or Buck LED Driver IC (Step-Down LED Driver). Or, jump directly into the DC/DC Buck LED Driver IC parametric search with internal switch (Converter) and external switch (Controller).


Introduction to DC/DC LED buck driver market analysis

Market overview on available DC/DC step-down LED driver IC. Detailed look into features, parameters, manufacturer and statistics. Currently (summer 2014) 232 step-down LED driver IC are listed and available for search. The latest major Selector update include the expansion into LED driver controller with external FET which can drive LEDs with much higher output current up to 20A.

Some products can work in multiple topology configurations like Buck, Boost, Buck-Boost, SEPIC and inverting. As long as a product can work in Buck (step-down) mode by default it is part of this summary and part of the LED Buck Selector.

The DC/DC step-down LED driver segment is very small compared to others like LED step-up driver or general purpose DC/DC converter with voltage regulation. Those segments include several hundred LED Boost driver or several thousand DC/DC converter.


1. Manufacturer LED buck driver analysis

Overview on number of manufacturer and products by each manufacturer. Currently 31 IC manufacturer are listed and they are very divers, ranging from small vendors over specialized supplier to the market leaders. Also the number of products ranges from a single product to several dozens. Details are available in the next chart and in the manufacturer matrix.


3 groups can be identified.

  1. Manufacturer with more than 20 products which are: Diodes, Linear Technology, Monolithic Power Systems, ST, Texas Instruments.
  2. Manufacturer with 5-10 products which are: Infineon, Macroblock, Micrel, Richtek and ZMDI.
  3. Manufacturer with 1-5 products.

Group A with the top 5 manufacturer for step-down LED driver clearly dominates with a total product share of ~59%. The next 5 as Group B come to a share of ~18% and the remaining 21 manufacturer sum up with 23%.





2. Internal or external switch (MOSFET) LED buck driver analysis

Simple answer, step-down LED driver with internal FET clearly dominate with 75% share. There are 2 main reasons why internal FET LED driver are preferred. First reason is the small current capability in the few 100mA to 1A range which is usually more than enough for standard LEDs. These power levels are very easy to integrate. Second reason is the vast amount of LED drivers is used for standard LED applications like backlighting, interior lighting or general purpose illumination. All this can be easily done with a single channel and low to medium power LED driver. The main difference is the input voltage which ranges from 5.5V for a single LED all the way to 95V for 20+ LEDs all in a single string. There are very few products which can be supplied from 12V and drive a LED string down from 400V or 450V for large panel TV applications.



Looking at the internal FET or external FET share within each manufacturer it shows a very mixed picture. The two manufacturer with the largest portfolio on step-down LED driver, Linear Technology and Texas Instruments have both configurations more or less balanced within their portfolio. The other three from Group A, Diodes, MPS and ST focus mainly on driver with internal FET. Beside Micrel and Richtek all other ones have mainly LED driver with internal FET in their portfolio.




3. Single-channel or multi-channel LED buck driver analysis

This is a lead for single channel step-down LED driver. Single channel driver are so dominating that currently only single channel products can be searched in our parametric search. There is a separate page which lists all multi-channel step-down LED driver.




4. Special Feature Automotive AEC-Q100 LED buck driver analysis

Currently there are 11 manufacturer which qualify step down LED driver for Automotive and AEC-Q100. There is a total of 29 products available in the parametric search and AEC-Q100 qualified. Out of those 29 there are 24 products single channel, 2 products dual channel and 3 products quad channel.


A complete list of all LED Buck Driver IC with AEC-Q100 qualification can be found under the AEC-Q100 menu point.


5. Output current LED buck driver analysis

Looking over all 232 products their is wide range of output current capabilities, starting at 0.05A and going all the way to 20A. As higher the output current is specified, especially with external FET LED driver there are many assumptions made and personal judgement taken. Depending on the used external FETs, the voltage and total power rating there is a lot room for variation. The next chart only give a rough estimate on output current capability across all step-down LED driver.



6. Input voltage LED buck driver analysis

Similar to the output current rating, there is a very wide range of input voltage segments. A few products are designed for 5.5V input to drive a single LED in step-down (Buck) mode, though the vast majority can handle voltages up to 40V and above. Highrunner can supply a single LED string down from 95V (100V absolute maximum).




Summary LED buck driver analysis

The step-down LED driver (Buck) segment is very small and kind of slow moving (compared to others). We released this summary in summer 2014 and plan to updates it once every year.

A few words before finish. Statistics are only as good as data quality, plus there is a lot of room for interpretation. Please take the numbers and charts as general guideline and rough overview. If there are mistakes please send a short email so we can look into it and update if needed. Same applies if we missed any products or manufacturer.

On manufacturers webpages new products get released, older ones removed or made obsolete. We try to catch all updates but your help and hints are always appreciated.






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