This is one of my first Arduino projects, but I have worked with electronics many years ago.
I want to connect my Arduino connected to segments of several feet of LED ribbon, which requires 12 volts and a few amps.
I want to run at least 2Khz PWM dimming on the entire LED ribbon (I can indirectly detect PWM at 1Khz through the fast-eye-roll stroboscopic effect, so I need a higher frequency). I don't want to use voltage dimming because it's for a special project that requires custom PWM control, perfect for an Arduino sketch.
I'd wire a MOSFET (source, emitter) inline with a power supply connected to the LED ribbons (which already has built-in current limiting resistors), and switch the MOSFET using the Arduino. I just want to be able to switch 12 volts on/off very rapidly and efficiently, and cheaply, since I'll need to control several LED ribbons separately. I'm open to alternatives to a TO-220 MOSFET package (60V 100W capable component, logic level gate), but LED ribbon amplifiers are expensive and I can get these transistors cheap.
Can I pull this off directly connecting the Ardiuno pin to the gate of a common TO-220 MOSFET of sufficient amperage ability, as long as I have a heatsink attached to the MOSFET? I don't think I need a resistor before the gate, but would a Darlington type circuit for better switching efficiency? Are there other good combined discrete component (e.g. SmartFET's, etc) that can do this fast high-power switching job efficiently with minimum component count?