Melexis miniaturizes LED drivers for automotive lighting

Tessenderlo, Belgium 13 June 2024 – Melexis, an influential player in automotive LED drivers for ambient lighting, announces the extension of its LIN RGB family with the MLX81123. Built on the success of its predecessor, it delivers cost-effective performance and reliability in a small package. By leveraging a new supply chain, Melexis boosts competitiveness and ensures business continuity for its customers.

Melexis expands LIN RGB family with miniaturized packaging

Ambient LED lighting is now a key design feature for automotive manufacturers, enhancing the end-user’s experience and helping OEMs to provide striking visual distinction. With well known OEMs utilizing ambient lighting extensively across their latest models, maintaining a reliable supply chain is paramount.

As a successor to Melexis’ incredibly popular MLX81113, the fourth generation MLX81123 features a SOIC8 and a small DFN-8 3mm x 3mm packaging. This miniaturization enables the use of light in any location of the car, whereas before there were limitations due to space constraints. Manufactured using cutting-edge silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology, the MLX81123’s miniaturization allows for an increased number of ICs per wafer. The result of this advancement is both one of the smallest RGB LIN IC controllers on the market and a significant increase in production output volume – ready to meet the demands of the growing automotive ambient lighting market.

With common software design and pin-to-pin compatibility (SOIC 8) with its predecessor, it offers effortless integration into existing designs. Replacement of current MLX81113 chips with the new MLX81123 is often possible without a full development cycle.

The MLX81123 delivers RGB according to LIN 2. x and SAE J2602. For safety applications, it supports system integration up to ASIL B under ISO 26262.

The advanced 16-bit microcontroller unit (MCU) is equipped with 2 KB RAM, 32 KB of application-usable flash, and a system ROM with a bootloader and LIN driver. A built-in 512 B EEPROM allows for effective configuration, such as LED calibration coefficients, which are needed to ensure uniform cabin brightness and color representation.

The MLX81123’s LIN system includes a transceiver and protocol handler, which facilitate the seamless connection between RGB ambient modules and the pre-existing LIN network of the vehicle. Featuring four high-voltage I/O with free configurable current sources (up to 60 mA), the MLX81123 can support RGB and white LEDs from a wide range of suppliers, allowing for greater procurement flexibility. The IC’s independent 16-bit PWM output provides precise color and brightness control of any connected LEDs, meeting the demands of a variety of vehicle ambient applications such as door trim, accent, and interior cabin lights.

In sleep mode, the MLX81123 exhibits a typical standby current consumption of just 25 µA and features a 28 V jump start, as well as battery monitoring with over and under-voltage detection. The operating temperature is a wide -40°C to +125°C with a built-in temperature sensor for thermal monitoring, ideal for even the most demanding automotive environments.

“Ambient lighting transitioned from an aesthetic option in high-end vehicles to a fundamental automotive feature, providing a new landscape for customization and visual differentiation. This creates additional demand for automotive LED controllers,” said Michael Bender, Product Line Manager of Embedded Lighting at Melexis. “Our third generation LIN RGB IC controllers have seen incredible success. The fourth generation MLX81123 takes existing strengths, miniaturizes the solution and adds production capabilities. We deliver an unrivaled feature set at a price point that enables a roll-out across vehicle ranges from luxury to entry-level models”

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