A low frequency architecture is proposed for driving parallel cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) in large screen liquid crystal display (LCD) TV backlighting applications. Key to the architecture is a proposed capacitive coupling approach for aiding lamp ignition. A dc voltage is applied to the lamp electrodes while an ac voltage is applied to an external plate for capacitive coupling. The result is reliable, simultaneous ignition of parallel lamps with a required applied dc voltage near the lamp steady-state operating voltage. The complete system architecture includes a single high voltage converter, a pulse lamp ignition circuit, current control circuits and a single backlight controller. The topology is capable of driving a large number of parallel lamps with independent lamp current regulation, while avoiding ac coupling losses in steady-state operation and achieving significant reduction in reactive components when compared to typical high frequency ac ballast designs. Experimental results are presented for a system of four parallel 250 mm length lamps, demonstrating simultaneous parallel lamp ignition and dc current regulation.
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