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I want to use a step-down LED driver and configure it to deliver a constant current to some LEDs. This one looks nice:

https://www.diodes.com/assets/Datasheets/AL8843Q.pdf

I can control the brightness with a PWM signal into the CTRL pin. But how do I control the on/off of the LEDs?

Should I send a PWM signal with a 0 % duty cycle (is it possible?), or switch off the LED driver with an external transistor?

In the datasheet they seem to make the distinction between PWM frequency and switching frequency. Moreover they are talking about a soft-start which is 0.1 ms. Does it apply only when the LED driver is supplied with current, or each time the PWM signal reaches 0?

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I can control the brightness with a PWM signal into the CTRL pin. But how do I control the on/off of the LEDs?

The CRTL pin will control the LEDs on and off. As David said, 0 % duty cycle will turn them off.

Should I send a PWM signal with a 0 % duty cycle (is it possible?), or switch off the LED driver with an external transistor?

No external transistor. Just PWM the CTRL pin from your MCU.

In the datasheet they seem to make the distinction between PWM frequency and switching frequency. Moreover they are talking about a soft-start which is 0.1 ms. Does it apply only when the LED driver is supplied with current, or each time the PWM signal reaches 0?

I can't find if the soft-start will kick in each time you PWM it. Perhaps they did something clever here to disable the softstart once you start PWM it. Best way would be to test it by increasing the PWM frequency and see if the soft-start comes into play or not.

enter image description here

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Adding to @winny's answer, yes you can send a PWM with a duty cycle of 0%, then the LED will be off. Also, I think the soft-start kicks in each time, because the datasheet states: "The default soft-start time for AL8843Q is only 0.1ms, and this provides very fast turn-on of the output, improving the PWM dimming accuracy." \$\endgroup\$ – David Feb 14 at 10:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @David It's fully possible. For a 1 kHz PWM frequency, it should still be neglectable. \$\endgroup\$ – winny Feb 14 at 10:45

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