What are Near-Field Communication LED Drivers?

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James Prietzel, Product Manager at Intelligent LED Solutions (ILS)

James is the ILS Product Manager for everything related to LEDs and has been with ILS since 2012. James is dedicated to understanding the latest technologies and innovations from leading suppliers in the OptoElectronics world, from optics, to LEDs and to Intelligent LED Drivers.

Although you may not know , Near-field-communication (NFC) technology is integrated in our daily lives. It is currently used in a variety of applications, such as parking meters, turnstiles, garage doors and mobile devices. But perhaps most commonly, it is used through contactless phone payment methods like Apple Pay. In more recent years, this technology has been integrated into LED drivers, making NFC more prevalent in LED lighting applications. 

With growing requirements for connectivity and ease of use, NFC LED drivers have increased in popularity. The luminaries generating light are visually taking a back seat. Products that are intelligent and compact, without compromising performance are key. OSRAM DS, now Inventronics, meets this need with a wide range of high-performance LED lighting components.

What is NFC?

In short, NFC is a form of contactless data transfer. It is a wireless technology globally available in the 13.56MHz unlicensed radio frequency range and is designed for short-range data transfer. Implementing NFC in LED lighting, creates the ability to programme LED drivers dimming levels, operating current, and lumen output wirelessly and without the need to connect to mains-voltage. 

NFC communication requires two devices: an NFC reader and an NFC tag. The NFC tag is typically embedded in a device, such as a turnstile or LED driver. The NFC reader is designed to read and write information to the NFC tag and is often embedded in a smartphone, or a standalone unit that connects to a PC. In Figure 1, you can see the reader is connected to a host PC that uses software to transmit programming data between the reader (or programmer in this case) and the tag embedded in the LED driver.

What are the benefits of NFC?

LED drivers containing an integrated NFC interface, enable users to programme specific settings through wireless transmission within only a few seconds – saving valuable time. This technology also provides the useful ability to alter the configuration quickly and simply after initial installation and needs no mains-voltage to programme the desired settings. Not needing to connect to mains also provides increased safety, whilst simplifying the programming process, and reducing assembly costs. 

Osram OTI DALI LED Driver

The compact technology of the OTI-DALI-10/220-240/700/NFC-I provides versatility in size as well as functionality. With its minute size allowing it to fit in spaces as small as 40mm in diameter, this power supply enables creative freedom in luminaire design as well as easy installation. This Osram Compact constant current LED driver is fully dimmable. Simple and fast output current setting via near-field communication (NFC) enables a low complexity set-up. Using our powerful configuration software Tuner4TRONIC and NFC, the OTI-DALI-10/220-240/700/NFC-I can be programmed very quickly to perform optimally in the intended application.

Osram CPR30 NFC Wireless Programming Interface for LED Drivers

For programming wirelessly, check out the NFC programming plate CPR30-USB. This device will connect to your PC and operate seamlessly with the OTI-DALI-10. This NFC programming plate enables the functionality of the LED driver without requiring mains power to the driver.

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