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DLP Advanced Light Control Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Welcome to the DLP Advanced Light Control (ALC) forums. This is an active community with many users of DLP technology asking and answering questions. You’ll also be able to get help from TI engineers and TI design partners.
We hope that these FAQ pages will help you get started on some of the questions that you might have. One of the advantages of such a large and active community is that your question might have been asked before! In these pages we’ll highlight the answers to some common questions so that you have a place to start. If our white papers, app notes, or these FAQs don’t satisfy your questions, please don’t hesitate to post in the forums.
Here are some starting points:
1. What is Advanced Light Control?
DLP technology is a Texas Instruments microelectrical mechanical system (MEMS) that is used to control light with high accuracy. Fundamentally, it is based on the control of mirrors that act as pixels. For further detail, please read this application report:
DMD 101: Introduction to Digital Micromirror Device Technology www.ti.com/lit/pdf/dlpa008
2. What are the DLP terminology I should be familiar with?
This page will highlight and explain some of the common terminology you might find when using the DLP forums.
3. I need help with a specific Evaluation Module (EVM).
Please refer to the individual FAQs we have provided for each of the EVMs below:
Although Advanced Light Control (ALC) has many evaluation modules (EVMs) there are some principles which are common across our parts and platforms.
4. What is the difference between video vs pattern mode?
In most of the ALC EVMs, data can passed to the DMDs in one of two ways. The first is video mode. In video mode, the controller accepts streaming data over the data lines and applies video functions such as gamma correction and others. This mode supports 24, 20, 16, 10 and 8bit input data.
The second mode is pattern mode. In this mode, patterns are stored on memory and displayed in a pixel accurate mode. There are no additional functions applied to the images. These images can be 1 through 8bits each.
5. Where can I get a TIR Prism to use with my DMD?
Both TIR and RTIR prizm designs are patented. TI cannot make a recommendation on where to get such a prism. We do recommend that you consult with our design house partners to see if they can help with your needs. One potential route is to research which projectors on the market today use this type of prism and see if the optics can be used on your system.
6. What's going on with my aspect ratio? Why it is squeezed/wrong?
Please read this post clarifying that issue. It relates to how the pixels are oriented on the DMD: https://e2e.ti.com/support/dlp__mems_micro-electro-mechanical_systems/f/850/t/170877#pi239031349=1
7. My EVM is broken. What can I do?
If you purchased your EVM in the last 90 days and the cause of the failure is compliant with Texas Instrument's standard terms and conditions for EVMs then you must fill out a return merchandise authorization at the point of sale. If you purchased through the TI eStore, please fill out this form. For other issues with your EVM, please post on the forums for support.
8. What is the maximum optical power of each device?
Below is a table summarizing the maximum optical power for the DLP Advanced Light Control DMDs.
Thermally limited - (420 - 700 nm)
11 (400 - 420 nm)
0.00068 (<400 nm)
0.010 (>700 nm)
0.002 (<363 nm)
2.5 (363 - 420 nm)
Thermally Limited (>420 nm)
2.5 (400 - 420 nm)
0.00068 (<400 & >700 nm)
0.00068 (<420 nm)
10 (400 - 420 nm)
0.010 (<400 & >700 nm)
2.5 (363 - 400 nm)
Thermally limited (>420 nm)
9. Where can I get SDK software?
To assist in understanding how DLP can be used in machine vision systems, TI provides an example SDK which is used as the basis of TIDA-00254, TIDA-00361, and TIDA-00362. You can find the user's guide and the software here.
10. Where can I learn about Light Control applications?
Advanced Light Control (ALC) products can be used in many applications ranging from spectroscopy to lithography. Texas Instruments has resources for many of these applications. We encourage you to take a look at the following materials as you evaluate or design with DLP® technology in your system.
Applications Overview: http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/dlp/advanced-light-control/applications.page
On this page you can find an overview that highlights some of the key applications that we support. There are links to training materials, reference designs, product selection tools, and more. Many of our evaluation modules (EVM) are also reference designs meaning that you can see all the design files for those boards.
ALC also has it's own software development kit (SDK) for 3D Machine Vision. You can find that software here: http://www.ti.com/tool/dlp-alc-lightcrafter-sdk. This is intended to show how DLP® technology can be used in a 3D machine vision set up and gives users some example code to work with in their designs.
11. I need assistance with a custom design (optics, electronics, mechanical, etc.).
A successful DLP® design is truly a system design. It relies on optics, electronics, mechanical, and more. To help with all of these aspects of producing a DLP product, TI has a network of design partners that can help you achieve your goals. Please consult the following links:
For Advanced Light Control: http://www.ti.com/dlp-chip/advanced-light-control/optics-electronics/optics-electronics.html
For Video and Data Display: http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/dlp/video-and-data-display/design-houses.page
Many of these design partners are active in the forums, so posting a question will help you get in touch as well.
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