Flat-panel liquid LCDs are the display of choice in a wide range of portable products from notebook
computers, tablet PCs, and PDAs to digital cameras and portable instrumentation. Compact coldcathode
fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) provide the necessary light source in these applications, enabling a
readable display in both dim and bright ambient light.
Inverters that supply the power to turn on (strike) and run CCFLs control one of the major power
drains in any battery-powered device. These are technically challenging circuits. First, inverters must
accept a wide range of dc input voltages, typically from 3 to 14 V, and provide ac outputs of 500 to
800 V to run the lamps. Then, to ignite CCFL lamps, these circuits must provide momentary strike
voltages that typically are twice that of their run voltages. Many applications also require efficient
dimming capabilities to allow lamp output to match ambient light conditions and thus prolong both
lamp and battery life.
Typical of the consumer electronics market, inverters for portable products also face on-going
demands for ever-increasing efficiency to reduce heat and prolong battery life, while simultaneously
meeting size reduction and ever-lower cost models.
For many years, display makers employed a Buck/Royer inverter topology to strike and power CCFLs.
This analog power topology is essentially a combination of a step-down Buck voltage regulator and a
self-resonant Royer oscillator with an integral step-up transformer.To read more, and to learn about other types of inverter circuits besides the "buck royer" click the photo below.