Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Electrical Engineering


Electrical Engineering




This project explores the rapidly expanding area of AC direct drive for LED lighting. AC LED driving does not use typical DC-DC converter-based driving but uses semiconductor switches and a linear regulator to activate a number of LEDs proportional to the input voltage at any given time. This allows bulky, expensive magnetics to be eliminated from the system. The goal of this project was to design a scaled-down physical AC LED direct drive system to validate the conclusions of methods for improving efficiency from a previous investigation that found minimizing voltage across the linear regulating MOSFET led to higher efficiency at the cost of increased input current THD. This project found that this conclusion is physically realizable, with a final efficiency of 94.46% and an input current THD of 58.9%. This result was achieved by taking the previous investigation’s final design as a starting point and replacing ideal switches and control signals with discrete components. The final version uses a set of comparators and sense resistors to determine when a given LED stack should be on for a simple, analog control solution. Once the system was simulated this way, the assembled version was used to measure efficiency, power factor, current THD, flicker index, and DC supply power. Additional plots of the stack voltages and control signals were collected to verify proper operation and compare to simulation. The final measurements aligned with trends from simulation and result in a simple AC direct drive solution that requires no specialty ICs.