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Empowering Global Innovation June 2010

Special Report – Powering Portable Power ISSN: 1613-6365

Dilbert – 56
Pervasive Portable Power, By Cliff Keys, Editor-in-Chief, PSDE .................................................................................................... 4

Industry News: Web Exclusive Content (

Unleash Sharp’s Line-up of Low Power LCDs .............................................................................................................................................. 6

Sheer Power!
Battery Fuel-Gauging, By Bakul Damle, Maxim Integrated Products............................................................................................. 8

Is Charging our Portable Electronics Costing the Earth, By Ryan Sanderson, IMS Research ..................................................... 10

Design Tips
Power Supply Development Diary Part IV, By Dr. Ray Ridley, Ridley Engineering........................................................................ 11

On the Road
Micrel Unveils New 4G Wireless PMIC, Reported by Cliff Keys, Editor-in-Chief, PSDE............................................................... 14

Cover Story
Long Play Portable Audio, By Mark Jacob, Dialog Semiconductor.............................................................................................. 16

Case Study
Power Station Revitalized, Reported by Cliff Keys, Editor-in-Chief, PSDE................................................................................... 20

Electrical Isolation
Isolate to Communicate, By Jeff Marvin and Brian Jadus, Linear Technology Corporation......................................................... 23

Connection & Mounting Technology

Maximized Manufacturability, By Marc Buschkühle and Thilo Stolze, Infineon Technologies ...................................................... 26

Power Supplies
SAMPLES AVAILABLE! Keeping Systems Running Cooler, By Michael Bean, Molex Incorporated .................................................................................. 29

Special Report – Powering Portable Devices

Battery Management, By Odd Jostein Svendali, Atmel ................................................................................................................ 32
2SP0115T Gate Driver Features Portable Efficiency, By Peter A. Khairolomour, Fairchild Semiconductor ..................................................................................... 36
Antenna Tuning Technology, By Tero Ranta and Rodd Novak, Peregrine Semiconductor ........................................................... 40
Unleash the full power of your converter design using Plug-and-Play solution Keep on Running, By Tom Karpus, Semtech Corporation............................................................................................................ 44
the new 2SP0115T Plug-and-Play driver. With its 1W output power Challenging Charging, By George Paparrizos, Summit Microelectronics..................................................................................... 46
direct paralleling capability, the scalability of your 15A gate current USB Modem Design, By John Constantopoulos, Texas Instruments........................................................................................... 50
design into highest power ratings is unlimited. <100ns delay time
Rugged SCALE-2 technology enables the complete ± 4ns jitter
Career Development
GULYHUIXQFWLRQDOLW\RQDVLQJOH3&%ERDUGH[DFWO\¿WWLQJ Advanced active clamping Big Power Challenges in Little Products Create Opportunities for Power Specialists,
the size of 17mm dual modules. Direct- and halfbridge mode By David G. Morrison, Editor, 53
Combined with the CONCEPT advanced active clam- Direct paralleling capability
ping function, the electrical performance of the IGBT 2-level and multilevel topologies
can be fully exploited while keeping the SOA of the DIC-20 electrical interface
New Products: Web Exclusive Content (
IGBT. Needless to say that the high integration level Safe isolation to EN50178
provides the best possible reliability by a minimzed UL compliant
number of components. 50.- USD @ 1000 pieces

Solar PV or Solar Thermal? Reported by Cliff Keys, Editor-in-Chief, PSDE............................................................................................ 56

CT-Concept Technologie AG, Renferstrasse 15, CH-2504 Biel, Switzerland, Phone +41-32-344 47 47

Pervasive Portable
AGS Media Group
146 Charles Street
Annapolis, Maryland 21401 USA
Tel: +410-295-0177
Fax: +510-217-3608
potential in the imminent high volume 4G
Editorial Director, Power Systems Design
market. This is what I mean by creative power
China, Europe & North America
Editor-in-Chief, Power Systems Design engineering.
Europe & North America
Cliff Keys
Beginning with this issue of Power Systems
Design Europe, I would like to highlight the
Contributing Editors first of a regular contribution from David
Liu Hong
Editor-in-Chief, Power Systems Design China
Morrison, Editor of How2 Power. David will talk about design engineering opportunities
Ash Sharma, IMS Research and how jobs offered in our industry are developing, and will follow the magazine’s
Dr. Ray Ridley, Ridley Engineering editorial theme in each issue. This should be a
Welcome to this issue of PSDE which valuable new career resource section. Please
David Morrison, How2Power carries the industry-inspiring theme of join me in welcoming David to our top team of
Portable Power. The powering of portable regular contributors.
Publishing Director
Jim Graham devices has never been as important as it is right now. We have seen a tidal wave of With the two major power conferences
portable devices - from the first MP3 players and exhibitions (APEC and PCIM) behind
Julia Stocks to the rapid adoption of smart phones and us there’s a wealth of new products and real
now the tablet devices supporting a broad innovations from our industry. I attended
range of applications and connectivity. The both these shows and was amazed at the
Circulation Management
Kathryn Phillips one thing they all have in common is that they work that had obviously taken place during
are powered by batteries. These batteries a very difficult recession. This tells me that
Research Director although slowly improving, need to have their our industry is alive and well, even during
Meghan Corneal stored energy carefully managed to maximize these difficult times. For those who could not
the run-time of the device and to enhance the attend, please visit our website where I have
Magazine Design user experience. prepared a roundup report of what I saw at
Beata Rasmus, Eyemotive these two major events in our calendar. At PCIM I ran a forum themed on ‘Designing for
I am always impressed by the ingenuity
Production Manager that companies demonstrate in their quest Power Conservation and Performance’ the
Leo Jiang for eking out every nanoamp of current in the content of which can also be accessed from
portable products demanded by consumers. our website. Also, look out for our extended
Power management has for years been at the weekly web-blast, PowerSurge, which now
Registration of copyright: January 2004
ISSN number: 1613-6365 forefront of successful products; the iPhone contains an extra feature article or case study.
and iPad are great examples of what can be
AGS Media Group and Power Systems Design Europe
achieved by creative power engineering. I hope you enjoy the issue. Please keep
magazine assume and hereby disclaim any liability to
your valuable feedback and comments
any person for any loss or damage by errors or omis-
sions in the material contained herein regardless of Recently I was in the centre of London to coming, and check out our fun-strip, Dilbert,
whether such errors result from negligence, accident
meet with Micrel, a company renowned for at the back of the magazine.
or any other cause whatsoever.
its creative power management solutions.
Here, I heard about the company’s new All the best!
Send address changes to: device; forming the power foundation for
Free Magazine Subscription,
forthcoming 4G designs, representing a
go to: complete power management solution for
Volume 7, Issue 5 processors, multi-standard RF transceivers
and power amplifiers, memory, USB-PHY,
associated I/O interfaces and many other Editor-in-Chief, PSDE
system requirements. This product has huge

 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010


%DA 127=23A
Sharp’s Line-up of Low 4=@6756D=:B/53>=E3@AGAB3;A/>>:71/B7=<A

Power LCDs
harp has introduced Memory any backlighting. The combined effect the memory LCDs, polarisers and high-
LCDs in new sizes: two 2.7-inch means that memory LCDs only have 0.8 reflective (HR) liquid crystals are used.
(LS027B4DN01, LS027B4DH01) percent of the power consumption of They supply a purely black-and-white
displays with a resolution of 400 x 240 conventional displays of the same size. image with superb legibility and a very
and a 2.94-inch (LS029B4DN01) model broad viewing angle.
with a resolution of 45 x 240 pixels. Standard LCDs with backlight have
a power consumption that is around Small solar cells can supply sufficient
Sharp is now planning the introduction 130 times greater than that of the newly electricity to run the new Memory LCDs
of a .02-inch model in order to developed memory LCDs. A 1.35-inch which are thus an ideal solution for small
specifically address portable applications
the e-books market such as, for instance,
and other portable e-books, wristwatches,
reading devices. heart rate monitors and
For this market other fitness devices,
segment, Sharp will shelf labelling, etc.
supplement the range Using solar cells as a
with transflective and source of power, such
touchscreen models in systems can even
the second half of the be designed as self-
year. Unlike the usual sufficient applications.
reflective memory
LCDs, transflective In order to simplify
memory LCDs offer the design-in for such
the option of adding energy self-sufficient
backlighting so that solutions, Sharp also
e-books or other offers memory LCDs
applications can also as 3-volt models so
be used in the dark. that when operated
Memory LCDs with Memory LCDs for low-power applications are available in two technology variants: with conventional
High-reflective (HR) models (left) can be read very well from all sides; Polymer
touchscreen ensure Network Liquid Crystal (PNLC) models (right) provide a silver-metallic appearance lithium ion rechargeable
that these devices are and are also suited for fashionable applications batteries, no charge
user friendly. Thanks pump is required in
to the capacitive touchscreen, e-books memory LCD uses 15µW in operation, between. The new .02 inch display is 1`SSbVSAWZWQ]\1O`PWRSZSORS`W\b`]RcQSaO\SeabO\RO`ReWbVbVS¿`abQ][[S`QWOZZg
can be designed in such a way that whereas a standard LCD of comparable already designed for this supply voltage OdOWZOPZS%DAW18c\QbW]\0O``WS`AQV]bbYg2W]RSa0g`S^ZOQW\UZSaaST¿QWS\bAWZWQ]\
readers can turn the pages almost like a size requires around 2mW displaying an and four other memory LCDs that are RSdWQSaeWbV1`SSH@SQ—%DAW1RW]RSaRSaWU\S`a]TVWUVd]ZbOUS^]eS`Q]\dS`aW]\
paper book. image. expected to be launched on the market
in the second half of 2010 also only
These innovative System LCDs are Memory LCDs offer a unique image require the lower supply voltage. Q]abO\RW\Q`SOaSagabS[S\S`UgST¿QWS\Qg`SZWOPWZWbgO\RZ]\USdWbg
based on Sharp's own Continuous representation. Unlike other reflective
Grain Silicon (CGS) technology. This displays, this new type of LCD does not The new memory LCDs are already 5SbOaO[^ZSObeeeQ`SSQ][%D
enables it to equip each pixel with a require polarisers. Thanks to a special available in 1.35-inch, 2.7-inch and 1@33%DA7:71=<1/@0723
8C<1B7=<0/@@73@A16=BB9G27=23A ]`QOZZ&#!! #&!
1-bit memory that stores the image PNLC material, the image is generated 2.94-inch diagonals from the sales
information uploaded onto the screen. by the status of the pixel changing from offices of Sharp in Europe and through
PART NUMBER If (A) Vf (V) IR (µA) Qc (nC) TJ (˚C)
Image information therefore only needs transparent to white with a reflectivity distributors. Samples of the .0-inch
to be rewritten in those pixels in which of 50%. This gives the display a silver- models are anticipated to be available in
the content has changed compared to metallic appearance that is particularly Q2 2010. CPW3-1700S010B 10 1.8 @ 25˚ C 10 @ 25˚ C 80 175
the previous picture frame. As reflective suited to fashionable applications. With 3.2 @ 175˚ C 20 @ 175˚ C
displays, Memory LCDs do not require a slightly more conventional version of CPW3-1700S025B 25 1.8 @ 25˚ C 25 @ 25˚ C 210 175
3.2 @ 175˚ C 50 @ 175˚ C
Cree and the Cree logo are registered trademarks of Cree, Inc. Z-Rec is a trademark of Cree, Inc.
 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 7
Battery Fuel-Gauging
cost. ModelGauge ICs also eliminate the
need for battery relearn cycles, as they
do not require the system to reach empty,
full or standby states required by typical
coulomb-counting solutions. Additionally,

Needs, challenges and solutions

the ICs can be mounted on the system-
side instead of the battery pack. That
lowers the battery-pack cost and allows
designers to use batteries from more ven-
By Bakul Damle, Business Manager, Notebook, Battery, and Display Business Unit, dors. The ModelGauge ICs are shipped
with factory calibration and that also helps
Maxim Integrated Products Inc., Dallas, Texas simplify system manufacturing by elimi-
nating calibration in the end-equipment

ne of the most frustrating issues the offset error while measuring current manufacturing line.
with portable electronic systems is over time. This accumulated offset error
turning the system on and finding causes the accuracy to worsen over time. For systems that require even higher
that the battery is either dead or the sys- Coulomb-counting algorithms must gen- accuracy, Maxim is developing a family
tem shuts down shortly after it is turned erally make their corrections during empty, of fuel-gauge devices that incorporate
on. Although you could leave the system full or system standby conditions leading both voltage measurement and coulomb-
continually plugged in and charging when to a more expensive bill-of-materials that counting schemes.
it is not in use, this can potentially reduce requires a larger board area.
the life of the battery. What is needed is ModelGaugeTM performance tracks the true State-of-Charge very closely, resulting in With this plethora of choices, it is easier
a form of fuel gauge, which is either built So today, most cost-sensitive battery an RMS error of just 1.11% and cheaper than ever for designers to
into the battery pack or into the system, capacity measurement systems are based make their products stand out by improv-
portable products. nate the current-sense resistor employed ing their system’s usability by providing
to provide an accurate measure of how on voltage-based approaches. Maxim
by the traditional coulomb-counting reliable battery indicators.
much charge is left in the battery. also supports voltage-based schemes,
These new ICs are the industry’s only solutions. That reduces the number of
but goes one step further with a new algo-
accurate fuel-gauge solutions that elimi- components, saving both space and
Although many products already include rithm that greatly improves accuracy. The
low-battery indicators, such displays rare- newly-released MAX17040/MAX17041
ly give any indication of how much usage and MAX17043/MAX17044 family of
time is available once the system turns 1- and 2-cell fuel-gauge ICs employ a pat-
on. Portable computers, smartphones, based on the instantaneous voltage value. ent-pending algorithm, ModelGaugeTM, to
and other high-end portable products do This is sometimes used in cell-phones estimate the Li+ battery state-of-charge.
include better fuel-gauging options and and other applications which typically of-
often include some power-management fer a “3 or 4 bar” battery indicator. The new algorithm overcomes the limi-
options to help minimize power consump- tations of other voltage-only fuel-gauging
tion when the devices are active. The only hardware needed for the volt- approaches by using a sophisticated
age-only approach is an ADC to read the battery-modeling scheme that delivers
However current-generation fuel- battery’s instantaneous voltage to demine better accuracy than the other voltage-
gauging techniques are not very accurate the battery capacity. Although inexpen- only solutions (see figure). The higher
– typically delivering real-world results sive, it is inaccurate because the battery accuracy allows the system to run longer
that are accurate to within only 10% to voltage is not only a function of the state- between recharge cycles, and that, in turn,
30%. Such poor accuracy reduces the of-charge (SOC), but also a function of the could also extend the battery life since it
system’s operating time since the gauge load, temperature, and age of the bat- would take longer to reach the maximum
indicates that recharging is required a lot tery. Also, the voltage-based fuel-gauge number of recharge cycles.
earlier than really needed. If, instead, the inaccuracy is due to the flat voltage vs.
gauge was accurate to within a 5% or SOC characteristic that most Li+ batteries The fuel-gauge ICs also have the indus-
so, systems could run longer between exhibit, requiring a larger, heavier and big- try’s lowest current consumption – just
charges, which would provide a better ger battery to provide the same run-time. 50 µA, typical, which also helps extend
user experience. Additionally, the longer the system run-time. The MAX17043/
time between charges could reduce the The second approach to measure the MAX17044 also include a programmable
cycling wear-out on the batteries, and battery’s remaining capacity is to integrate low-battery alert to warn the host system’s
thus let the batteries last a little longer as the discharge-current measurements microcontroller to take appropriate power
well. (i.e. coulomb counting) across a preci- management actions when the battery
sion sense resistor. This method has the is nearly empty. Due to their simplicity
There are two primary methods to potential to predict the remaining capac- and low active current, the ModelGauge-
calculate the battery remaining capacity: ity accurately, as long as appropriate based ICs are a great match for wireless
one is voltage-based, while the other is compensation schemes are implemented systems such as handsets, smartphones,
coulomb-counter based fuel-gauging. A to account for varying loads, tempera- e-books, portable games, portable navi-
simple voltage-only fuel-gauging ap- ture, and age of the battery. One concern gation devices as well as digital cameras,
proach measures the battery’s voltage about this method is the accumulation of blood glucose meters and many other

 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 


Is Charging our Power Supply Development

Portable Electronics Diary
Costing the Earth? Part IV
This article continues the series in which Dr. Ridley documents the processes involved in getting a power
By Ryan Sanderson, Market Analyst, IMS Research supply from the initial design to the full-power prototype. In part IV, the transformer and inductor are
plugged into the circuit and testing continues.

ell over a billion mobile alternative to traditional charging By Dr. Ray Ridley, Ridley Engineering
phones are shipped each in portable equipment is wireless
year; each with their own charging (in particular inductive Initial Power Supply Testing with Figure 2 shows the resistive
Magnetics waveforms obtained for the voltage and
proprietary charger. Handsets have charging). Whilst offering convenience
The schematic of the two-switch current of the lower power FET, Q1.
a typical replacement time of once to the user, many wireless charging power stage is shown in Figure 1. Once the resistive operation was
every 18 to 24 months. So, this solutions have greater intelligence Snubbers and other components are verified, the power magnetics were
means that every two years in most than traditional ones offering the omitted for clarity. ready to be plugged into the circuit. The
cases a charger becomes redundant. ability to charge more than one device full details of the magnetics design are
This amounts to tens of thousands of at once using the same charger and In the last article of this series [1], beyond the scope of this article, but
the power stage was tested with a details of changes will be described
tonnes of redundant chargers gener- the ability to switch themselves off
resistive load in place of the transformer. in a future part of this series. All of the
ated each year, for which the energy when they are not in use. As these This allowed several issues to be magnetics were designed with the
consumed in manufacturing and solutions use a power adapter in the resolved in the design, and verified assistance of the power supply design
transporting is huge. transmitter portion of the design, in the proper operation of the gate drives program POWER 4-5-6 [3].
the short term it is projected that they and FETs, and proper connection of Figure 3 shows the waveforms
However, it’s not only wastage of will complement the power adapter instrumentation. The circuit was powered obtained for the lower FET with the
from the AC line as described in [2]. magnetics in place, and 40 VAC applied
redundant chargers that creates an USB charger which can be used in market and consumers will purchase
environmental impact. The charging conjunction with an interoperable solutions in addition to the supplied
habits of many consumers are such wired charger supporting a traditional charger. IMS Research’s
that they will charge their device, such compatible connector. It’s predicted recent report, “The Growth Potential
as a cell phone or a notebook, and that this will have a substantial impact for Wireless Power and Charging”,
leave the charger/adapter plugged in. on the market in the long term as forecasts that over one billion
This habit leads to a huge amount of consumers will be given the choice portable devices will be enabled for
wasted power (the so called “vampire to opt out of receiving a charger with wireless charging by 2019.
effect”). their new handset. IMS Research
has studied the implications of this Despite these new initiatives aimed
One initiative which is predicted to initiative closely and forecasts that at reducing wasted adapters and
have a large impact on the amount it will be adopted initially in Europe new competing technologies such
of energy wasted by chargers is the and quickly transition globally. Whilst as inductive charging, the external
Universal Charging Solution (UCS), the growth of universal chargers is power adapter market is still forecast
currently being driven by the GSM forecast to explode to reach almost to grow from $4.5 billion today to
association. The initiative has been 1 billion units shipped in 2015, the $6.5 billion in 2015 and so plenty of
agreed by the majority of major mobile overall shipments of mobile phone opportunities still exist!
phone manufacturers and aims for chargers is projected to decline by
all mobile phones shipped from 2012 around 25% in the same year.
onwards to have a standard micro- Another rapidly emerging universal www.imsresearch Figure 1: Power stage schematic. Some components are omitted for clarity.

10 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 11


to the circuit. The red waveform is the turned on with the main transformer
drain voltage, and the yellow waveform in place, the gate drive immediately
is the drain current. The FET turns on at shut down. This was due to the current
time A, and the drain voltage falls rapidly sense resistor not being replaced
to a low value. At the same time, there is when the current transformer polarity
a ringing observed in the drain current, error was fixed as described in the last
denoted by A’. This ringing is caused by article. (The current-sense transformer
the leakage inductance resonating with was a socketed part since it was
the capacitances of the transformer and anticipated to be changed several times
output rectifiers. to fine-tune the circuit protection.)
At time B, the FETs turn off, and there Event #10 Solder Bridge on Secondary of
is a rapid rise in the drain voltage. This Transformer
is caused by the energy stored in the With the current sense resistor in
leakage inductance, which rings with Figure 2: Lower FET voltage and current Figure 3: Lower FET Q1 voltage and place, excessively high currents were
the output capacitance of the FET, and waveforms with resistive loading current waveforms with transformer immediately seen on the primary of the
other stray capacitances of the circuit. loading at 40 VAC input Figure 6: Voltage waveforms with and without local capacitors converter. A small bridge of solder was
This voltage should theoretically be discovered on the secondary side of the
clamped to the input voltage of the power transformer. This is a common
power supply through the diode D1, but occurrence when building prototype
trace inductance causes an overshoot. boards, even on a PCB. It also happens
This can be fixed with improved layout, on production supplies – many times
as will be shown later in this article. The in reviewing designs as a consultant, I
turn-off ringing can also be observed in find that power parts have insufficient
the drain current at B’. spacing for the high voltages that will
After a short period of time, the be encountered, and the large parts
energy in the primary of the transformer that will be mounted on the board.
is transferred to the secondary, with
the exception of the energy stored Summary
in the magnetizing inductance. The The introduction of magnetics into the
magnetizing current leads to the slower power supply gives rise to significant
rise time during the period denoted by high frequency ringing waveforms
D, after which the voltage is clamped on all of the semiconductors. It is
to the input voltage through diode D1 important to control the ringing spikes.
during the period E. Once all the energy One approach to this is to minimize
is discharged from the magnetizing trace inductance on the board. This
Figure 4: Secondary voltage waveform with 40 VAC applied
inductance, the voltage falls during the is demonstrated in this article for the
period F of the cycle. improved primary voltage spike with
For newcomers to the field of power additional local capacitors.
supply design, the initial waveforms are Figure 7: Detail of voltage waveforms with and without local capacitors In the next article of this series, the
a surprise. The severity of the ringing at secondary ringing will be properly
the switching transitions often makes operation of the converter is to improve Figures 6 and 7 show the effects of controlled with the addition of snubbers
you wonder if such a circuit can ever be the primary clamp. The input bus the additional local clamp capacitors. and clamp circuits.
made to work reliably. The waveforms capacitor was located a significant The first waveform of Figure 6 is
of Figure 3 are quite typical of power distance away from the FETs, and this without the capacitors, and the second References
supplies, and a considerable amount introduced stray inductance in series waveform includes the local capacitors. 1. “Power Supply Development Diary
of time must be spent in reducing the with the clamp diodes. Mechanical A significant reduction in the spike is Part III”, Ray Ridley, Power Systems
effects of the ringing waveforms in order board layout constraints make it difficult achieved, and the details of this part of Design Magazine, May 2010.
to avoid excessive noise and stress on to place the capacitor closer. A practical the waveform are shown in Figure 7. 2. “Testing Offline Power Supplies”,
the semiconductors. solution is to add two new capacitors, Notice how narrow the highest part of Ray Ridley, Power Systems Design
Ringing can also be seen on the as shown in Figure 5. the spike is, less than 10 ns. Controlling Magazine, January/February 2010.
secondary of the converter, as shown in These two capacitors are located ringing frequencies like these is difficult, 3. POWER 4-5-6 Design and
Figure 4. Unlike the primary waveform Figure 5: Local capacitors added for improved voltage clamping close to the FETs, and a very tight loop but they can be very destructive despite Simulation Software, www.
on the FET, this voltage is not clamped. is provided from each FET through its the short duration.
The peak voltage of 175 V at time A far better, the secondary rectifiers will fail in this series. clamp diode and capacitor. The traces 4. Design articles at www.
exceeds the anticipated square wave when full voltage is applied to the power from these capacitors back to the input Failures and Build Errors Found
voltage, 50 V during the main part of the supply. The method of controlling this Improved Primary Clamp Network bulk capacitor can be longer and are Event #9 Missing Current Sense Resistor
switch on-time. If this is not controlled spike will be the topic of the next article The first step in cleaning up the not critical high-frequency paths. When the power stage was first

12 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 13


On the Road
liver greater than 96 percent efficiency.
The MIC2829 is available in both 76-pin
5.5mm x 5.5mm LGA and 85-bump
5.5mm x 5.5mm FBGA packages with
an operating junction temperature range
from –40 °C to +125 °C.
Reported by Cliff Keys, Editor-in-Chief, PSDE
This unique power management solu-

Micrel Unveils New 4G Wireless PMIC

tion was made for today’s fast devel-
oping 4G design and manufacturing
industry arena. The company’s involved
in this business will no-doubt want their
I had the enormous pleasure to meet with Micrel’s Andy Khayat in the centre of the capital city of own refinements built in to differentiate
London, England. Andy has more than 28 years of high-tech and management experience and has their offerings to consumers. My knowl-
been Director of Micrel’s Portable Product Group since 2007. He has responsibility for the business edge of Micrel’s speed and flexibility in
refining its products tells me that this
unit’s strategic marketing, roadmaps, business plans, product definition, pricing, product launch and
part will form the basis for many future
promotion, as well as technical support for new design in activities. A very busy guy, he gave me an 4G designs. I will feature a full article
insight into Micrel’s stunningly flexible new 4G PMIC. on the unique technical features of this
device in a later issue of the magazine.
Highly integrated and versatile power management solution Micrel’s flexible foundation for 4G power management solutions

icrel is acknowledged as an The MIC2829 incorporates six DC/DC
industry leader in analog, buck converters, eleven LDOs and
high bandwidth communica- digital level shifters for SIM Card support
tions and Ethernet IC solutions and has inside a single, compact package. Five
just launched the MIC2829, a highly general purpose LDOs provide low drop-
integrated Power Management Inte- out, excellent output accuracy of ±3% and Our continuous search for innovative
grated Circuit (PMIC) for 4G wireless only require 40 microamps of ground IT’S ESSENTIAL … materials and production methods
applications. The device represents a current for each to operate. The remain- results in a wide product range that
complete power management solution ing six are high performance Low Noise … TO EMPOWER YOUR ENERGY ! meets our customers’ needs:
providing power to processors, multi- Regulators (LNRs) and provide high
standard RF (such as HEDGE/ LTE or PSRR and low output noise for sensi-
WiMAX) transceivers and power ampli- tive RF subsystems. Each LNR requires
fiers, memory, USB-PHY, associated only 20 microamps of ground current to Rogers Power Distribution Systems division RO-LINX® Easy
I/O interfaces and other system require- operate. specializes in the design and manufacture of Designed as a cost efficient alternative
ments. Forming the power foundation custom designed laminated busbars. for stacked busbars
for forthcoming 4G designs, this product Four of the six integrated DC/DC buck
has huge potential in the imminent high Andrew Khayat, Director, Portable Product converters incorporate HyperLight Load™ Global presence, extensive designing and
volume 4G market. Group, Micrel, Inc. (HLL) technology. Each of these buck engineering capabilities lead to the most
economical design right from the start.
or WiMAX 4G standard based mobile regulators operate at high switching
That’s how we empower your energy.
Designed for 3G/4G (HEDGE/LTE communication devices. This product speed in PWM mode (4MHz/2.5MHz)
and WiMAX) USB wireless applications, is the result of Micrel’s focused efforts and maintain high efficiency in light load
the MIC2829 is currently available in to revolutionize mainstream wireless conditions. The high speed PWM opera- RO-LINX® Performance
volume quantities with pricing starting PMICs. tion allows the use of very small induc- Our state-of-the-art laminated busbar
at $2.95 for 10K quantities. Samples tors and capacitors minimizing board
can now be ordered on line on Micrel’s The MIC2829 integrates all system area while the HLL mode enables 87
web site at: power and analog functions supporting percent efficiency at 1mA.
RO-LINX® Thermal 4G wireless baseband, RF and digi-
Meets high power requirements with increased
tal/analog sub-systems into one IC. It HyperLight Load™ technology also temperature ratings of 125°C working temperature.
Andy explained, “The MIC2829 is a features Micrel’s HyperLight Load™ has unmatched load transient response Power Distribution Systems Division
complete 4G wireless system PMIC. (HLL) DC converters that greatly extend to support advance portable proces-
This release to the market represents
the beginning of a new level of integra-
battery life and Micrel’s advanced LDO
technologies for ultimate system perfor-
sor requirements. The remaining two
DC/DC buck converters support 100
tion for USB and embedded based LTE mance.” percent duty cycle operation and can de-

14 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 15


Long Play Portable Audio

Now, with the advent of the iPad,
a similar set of power and thermal
design constraints will have to be ex-
plored within a different form factor.

Single-chip PMIC and digital audio

Maximum runtime and fast charging are now key It was for exactly this class of prod-
uct, and to cater for a rapidly-evolving
set of usage scenarios, that Dialog
Semiconductor created the DA9057, a
The first generation Apple iPhone, launched in 2007, was a turning point in the way cellphones are used. highly-integrated flexible energy man-
It marked the transition from a communications-centric device to one that is driven primarily by the agement IC with on-board ultra-low
applications it hosts. power audio codec. This configuration
draws a distinction with some earlier
products that have sought to place all
By Mark Jacob, Director of Marketing, Audio and Power Management division, Dialog Semiconductor of the power-management and audio-
signal-chain functionality on a single
chip – including the audio power

he cellular air interface, rather facturer has taken his product to life as a key selling point. amplifier (APA). There is a case for that
than being the primary function of market with the explicit message, “If integration; both systems can exploit
the device, takes its place among you want all these extra features, you Within a complex system such as similar semiconductor device technol-
a large – and still growing – set of sub- will have to charge the battery every the smartphone, the interfaces that system. Users have high expectations LAN, GPS and FM. As if that were not ogy, and the combined IC takes one
systems and peripherals. The chang- day rather than the every-few-days drive signals out of the digital pro- of audio performance from today’s enough, in the process of configuring more part out of the bill-of-materials. It
ing use model also impacts the power- you were used to with your last-gener- cessing context, and into the real portable products, whether they are the device for its various applications, is also the case that the latest Class-D
consumption profile of the smartphone. ation pure cellphone” – nevertheless, world of the user, tend to be points of portable media players, netbooks or voltage rails must be ramped up and amplifiers have greatly improved per-
Not only did the iPhone’s user-friendly the market has accepted that reality. significant power consumption; the smartphones. Not only high-quality, down in pre-defined sequences. The formance in respect of EMI than some
browser – and those of all the compet- However, when frequent charging is cellular radio power amplifier, the dis- high-output headphone or earphone overall power-management function of their predecessors; nevertheless,
ing smartphones that have followed it accepted, rapid charging joins battery play backlight, and the audio output drives, but also loudspeaker outputs within such a smartphone or portable the majority of portable-audio-product
into the market – mean people go online at usable loudness levels and of ac- product has grown to be a very com- designers prefer to place the power
more frequently; the phone also gave ceptable quality. Today’s smartphones plex problem. amplifier IC close to the transducer
users access to a plethora of applica- must use less power when playing (speaker) to minimise the distance
tions – over 140,000 and still growing. audio content via speakers and head- Nor is the reverse situation of bat- covered by the circulating currents of
phones than their predecessors. tery charging necessarily simpler. switching-output amplifiers. Partition-
Google’s smartphone operating As noted above, minimum charging ing the function set into a combination
system, Android, has quickly been Achieving maximum battery life in times are a marketing necessity, so of audio codec on the same silicon as
adopted by multiple manufacturers such a complex device imply, among that the maximum power possible has all power-management functions; and
such as HTC, LG, and Sony. This OS may other requirements, fine granular- to be delivered to the battery from a minimum-size, separate APA die,
also comes with an applications store, ity of control of power feeds to all of any available source– both with, and produces an optimum outcome.
and many of these gaming, business the product’s subsystems; put simply, without, concurrent operation of the
tool, mapping and multimedia soft- if a given application does not need a smartphone’s other systems. As is The DA9057 therefore contains all
ware downloads require a permanent certain function, then that system has well known, high-energy-density lithi- the resources that a design team might
connection to the mobile and GPS to be in a very low-power standby- um ion cells demand precision control need to control the flow of power to
networks. Users are now checking state or, preferably, switched off com- of charging energy; even an efficient the functions of a smartphone, mul-
Facebook on the phone’s browser, pletely. Added to that is the fact that charging regulator will dissipate timedia player or portable naviga-
watching the BBC’s iPlayer to catch almost every system within the por- some heat, and there will be some tion device, with optimum efficiency,
up on the week’s TV, downloading table product requires different voltage dissipation in the battery itself, as it together with audio, and user-interface
clips from YouTube and listening to levels, with different power demand approaches its fully-charged state; controllers. It has four DC-DC buck
streamed music via Spotify. More profiles across the various application add in the dissipation from the normal switching converters and ten low-
applications mean more time spent scenarios, and with differing tolerance operation of the phone, and a thermal dropout linear regulators (LDOs). A fur-
active rather than in standby, increas- of noise and other power-line param- management challenge emerges. All ther DC-DC boost converter provides
ing energy consumption and bringing eters. of this activity is taking place within the higher voltage needed to drive
battery life back into the spotlight as a a tightly-packed plastic enclosure series-connected “strings” of white
key product differentiator. Power sequencing that is, as far as the manufacturer can LEDs for display and keypad back-
This is of key importance for each ensure, sealed – N.B. in the iPhone lighting. (Three strings, at 24V and 50
Faster-charging batteries of the product’s radios, of which there itself, the battery is not removable, mA.) Each DC-DC converter and LDO
In fact, user expectations have will be several; cellular radios for although other designers have not fol- is individually configurable on start-
proved to be fairly resilient. No manu- multiple bands, Bluetooth, Wireless lowed that paradigm. up to match its output to individual

16 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 17


functional blocks. graphical user interface; on one side,

it allows configuration of the power-
Accelerated charging management system through drag-
The chip is intended for use with a and-drop interconnection of on-
single lithium-ion or lithium-polymer screen functional blocks, plus entry
battery and supports multiple charg- of parameters such as time-delays
ing scenarios – use of a plug-in or to set up sequences. In a separate
docking-station charger, charging window, are all of the parameters of
from USB, or even wireless (induc- the audio sub-system. The engineer
tively-coupled) charging systems. An can set up an audio path, configur-
autonomous charging control block ing the codec and adding whatever
optimises power flow between AC-line filtering the application demands.
charger, USB cable, battery and any The development environment in-
functional blocks that are active, op- cludes a complete graphical filter
timising available power to maximise design package with simple selection
charging rates in all states. from a range of standard filter types;
a graphical simulation immediately
Both AC charger and USB sources shows the effect of any particular set
can be safely connected simultane- of filter coefficients.
ously; the USB power-rail specifica-
tions are fully observed and, in addi- Both PMIC and audio-subsystem
tion to the protection that should be full-load, without requiring additional time clock, and uncommitted register configuration files are loaded to the
but improve efficiency by running with ucts are “authoring” as well as listen-
present at source in any USB connec- external components. space; there is also a touch-screen chip over a serial interface and are
low voltage supply rails while program ing devices. There is a fully-featured
tion, there is further internal 500 mA interface block. As a processor-based retained in on-chip configuration regis-
content is at a low level, only stepping audio mixer with up to eight sources,
current limiting and voltage monitoring. Today’s sophisticated portable device, the portable product may well ters.
up the supply rail to faithfully repro- stereo/mono conversion, a general-
Batteries that can sustain it, can be consumer products will contain one, have a memory-backup recharge-
duce high peak-level outputs. The purpose 5-band equaliser and per-
fast-charged at up to 1.3A; if the on- or several, processor or DSP cores, able coin cell, or other PCB-mounted Conclusion
result is over 70% more efficient than channel equalisation, with automatic
chip regulators approach their limits, appearing either as individual chips or battery, to retain essential data when Achieving the longest possible bat-
a Class AB amplifier. level control. Additionally, a general-
thermal protection comes into play to integrated within system-on-chip (SoC) the main battery is discharged; the tery life has once again been thrust
purpose filter engine allows application
ensure safe operation. The switching ICs. To conserve power, the proces- DA9057 caters for that as well, with a to the forefront of portable consumer
The DA9057 has been designed to specific or adaptive speaker equali-
charger supports precise voltage and sors will typically scale both operat- secondary, low-current charging circuit multimedia product design, with the
work directly-linked with the DA7201 sation to be introduced. To integrate
current profiles; when the battery is ing frequency and supply voltages, that is totally independent of the main added customer expectation of fast
Class D loudspeaker amplifier, to these features with the host operating
in a low state-of-charge the charging according to their throughput at any provision. recharge times from any available
which it connects via differential line system of the smartphone or media
circuit will operate at an intermediate moment. Signalling to control dynamic power source. Every functional block
outputs (with 60 dB CMRR). The device, Windows CE and Linux drivers
voltage level of 3.2 - 3.5V to minimise voltage scaling (DVS) is typically via a Optimising the audio path in the product must be designed
DA7201 is a stand-alone, single-chan- are provided.
losses, reverting to full Li-ion cell volt- serial bus: the DA9057 supports DVS Efficient control of power flow is an with low power in mind, but a flexible
nel filter-less chip that delivers 3W
age levels when the battery’s charge on three of the four DC-DC converters important part of maximising battery global power management system
has recovered. Compared to a linear
mono audio power into 4 ohm speaker GUI development is a necessity to handle the complex
and the chip has twin serial interfaces life, but by no means the only one.
loads. It has a 1.5mm2 outline and It has long been the case that power
charger, this strategy alone can save (as well as a general-purpose 16-bit As noted earlier, the smartphone or sequencing and voltage control that
operates with a direct battery connec- systems tend to be attended to late in
over 1W dissipation within the product’s parallel interface). Each of those DC- media player is likely to spend a high is now standard. The audio sub-
tion (rejecting power supply noise with a product’s development cycle. Elevat-
casing. DC converters can individually sup- proportion of its on-time processing system makes a natural pairing with
a 90dB PSRR) simplifying placement ing battery life to a top-priority specifi-
ply a maximum of 1A, within a 2.4A and outputting audio, so optimising the power-management system,
in close proximity to the transducer; cation point has altered that situation,
Many loads within a smartphone maximum for the four running in paral- that signal path for power consump- implemented in the same energy-
its peak efficiency is over 90%, saving forcing engineers to design for power
require low-noise, well-regulated lel: each is a four-mode device with tion offers good returns in overall efficient mixed-signal silicon process,
battery power in extended playback, demand from the outset. Against
power supplies, that the LDOs are well alternate characteristics to suit RF, power drain: and, the mixed-signal and careful attention to power dis-
and contributing to reduced heat that, however, is the fact this class
suited to providing. The losses inher- linear, or digital circuit loads. In total, environment of the power manage- sipation throughout the audio chain
build-up in small enclosures. All this is of product is very prone to specifica-
ent in the operation of an LDO can be the chip can supply up to 5A from its ment IC is a good environment in – and especially in the output drivers
achieved with no compromise on au- tion changes and addition – or even
minimised by cascading them with various outputs, from a package mea- which to locate the function, thanks to – contributes significantly to meeting
dio quality; signal/noise ratio is 98 dB deletion – of features late in the cycle.
one of the switching regulators: the suring just 7x7 mm. the common requirement for precision an application-centric media product’
and distortion is under 1%, and nor- It is therefore desirable that configur-
DC-DC block effectively reduces the linear transistors. However, as most s specification.
mal listening level playback of 24-bit ing the PMIC should not involve low-
battery line voltage to an intermediate Packaged together with the regula- of the audio codec is digital circuitry,
audio, to headphones, takes a power level coding, or changes to peripheral
level so that the LDO can complete the tor functions is a collection of virtu- integrating it on to the PMIC is readily
budget of just 5mW from the battery passive components or – even worse –
regulation chain with minimum losses. ally every other functional block that achievable. The block is a high-quality,
(including regulator losses). PCB layout changes.
Linear regulators use Dialog’s Smart the designer will need to assemble a multi-rate-adaptive audio codec with
Mirror adaptive biasing scheme, which system-management controller; for an integrated Class-G, DC-coupled
Returning to the DA9057, the design In fact, complete set-up of the
ensures maximum efficiency over the example, watchdog timer, general-pur- (capacitor-less) output, headphone
recognises that today’s portable prod- DA9057 is accomplished through a
complete range from light-load to pose analogue/digital converter, real- amplifier. Class G amplifiers are linear,

18 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 19

Case Study Case Study

Power Station Revitalized

Breathing added life into failing heat exchangers
AEP Tanner’s Creek power station found that using the latest technological advancements can add years
to heat exchanger units. By more accurately and quickly replacing tubes, costs are slashed and service is
life extended.

Reported by Cliff Keys, Editor-in-chief, PSDE

hen heat exchanger tubes while the repair work is done. Perhaps pervisor. “It was not feasible to replace
- sometimes numbering a most importantly, the sleeved heat ex- the heaters at this time. We had to have APS's innovative approach-they were able to sleeve the Tanner's Creek feedwater heaters despite the limited access within the
thousand or more per unit - changer can operate reliably for added a certain amount of time to put together feedwater heater and presence of heavy wall tubing,representing a very substantial savings to AEP over replacement heaters.
begin to crack or wear, the effects can years, saving the operator’s capital until a replacement package to present to the
lead to a cascade of subsequent failures a planned rebuilding or replacement unit board and show that is was justifiable to to have severe stress cracks from the nologies and techniques are used, the of the tubes and the sleeves extended
in adjacent tubes. If too many tubes are is installed. replace the heaters in the future.” back face of the tube sheet in the de- results can lower material and instal- past the area where the stress cracking
plugged, heat exchanger effectiveness superheating zone extending approxi- lation costs, improve heat exchanger or excessive wall loss was located. So, if
is compromised, and power genera- AEP Tanner’s Creek case “We were at the point where we had mately six feet to the back of the zone. performance, without the need to take the tubes continued to weaken and fail,
tion may be curtailed by a substantial At AEP’s Tanner’s Creek 995MW to discuss abandoning the heaters until the generation units offline while the re- then we have those liners installed that
percentage. If conventional mechanical station, located on the Ohio River we could replace them. Unfortunately, In order to verify the severity of the pair work is done. Once the repair work should prevent the tubes with through
plugs are used, they can break loose, near Lawrenceburg, Indiana, thermal this would possibly cut down our output stress cracking, a tube sample was tak- is done, the re-sleeved heat exchanger wall cracks from leaking.”
leak and fail. At that point the replace- stress cracking and wall loss indicat- because it would not be desirable to en for laboratory analysis which proved can operate reliably for added years,
ment of a very costly heat exchanger ed impending failures of 60 percent operate the heater in each string. This the eddy current test was accurate. It saving operator’s capital until a planned Grimes adds that APS chose to
may be imminent. of the feedwater outlet tubes in the would greatly accelerate the end life of would have been extremely difficult if not replacement unit is installed. recommend installing the sleeves
heat exchanger on the plant’s 500MW these heaters. To operate without any impossible to cut and pull a tube sample because plugging such a large percent-
However, if the latest sleeve installa- super critical Unit 4. This was in the heaters in service would have meant from these heaters via conventional “At Tanner’s’ Creek the tube defects age of tubes would have led to reduced
tion technologies and techniques are fall of 2009. as much as a 50MW curtailment,” King methods due to the very heavy tube wall were roughly up to 6 ft. back behind thermal performance and increased
used, the results can be lower materials added. thicknesses. However, American Power the tube sheet,” says APS sales and feedwater velocity in the inlet of the un-
and installation costs, improved heat “We had done some testing and were Services (APS) was able to extract a services engineer David Grimes. “Instead plugged tubes. Additionally, the plant
exchanger performance, without the hopeful that the heater could be re- The two high pressure feed water heat- tube sample using their proprietary and of plugging the problem tubes we went may have had to cut a bypass orifice
need to take generation units offline paired,” explains Jay King, Process Su- ers were eddy current tested and found patented advanced plasma arc tube cut- in with sleeves that were roughly 7 ft. in the pass partition plate in order to
ter (P.A.T.C.). APS’ plasma arc tube cut- long and installed the sleeves in the ID prevent higher tube inlet velocities that,
ter enables them to cut heavy wall tubes would have led to further heat transfer
at any length up to the tangent point degradation.
of the U-bend in order to facilitate tube
sample removal. Since the thickness of As a result of APS’ innovative ap-
the tube walls ranged between 0.083” proach, we were able to sleeve the Tan-
and 0.115” thick, cutting and removal of ner’s Creek feedwater heaters despite
a tube sample would be very tough to the limited access within the feedwater
cut or even access otherwise. heater and presence of heavy wall tub-
ing, representing a very substantial sav-
“They came up with the idea of sleev- ings to AEP over replacement heaters.
ing the outlet tubes to increase the
APS was able to extract a tube sample The pressure feed water heaters were Instead of plugging the tubes we went in longevity of the heaters and return the “I would say that, using this technol-
using their proprietary and patented tested and found to have severe stress with sleeves that were roughly 7 ft.long heaters to service,” says King. “They The use of a hydraulic expander pro- ogy, our customers can realize savings
advanced plasma arc tube cutter(P. cracks from the back face of the tube and installed the sleeves in the ID of the sleeved all the feedwater outlet tubes vides a more uniform expansion and of over 80 percent of the cost of a new
A.T.C),APS's plasma arc tube cutter sheet in the de-superheating zone tubes .The sleeves extended past the that had 70% or greater wall loss and superior contact of the sleeve OD with heat exchanger if they elect to install
enables them to cut heavy wall tubes at extending approximately six feet to the area where the stress cracking or exces- had signs of stress cracking.” the ID of the parent tube.Additionally, sleeves rather than replace their prob-
any length up tothe tangent point of the back of the zone sive wall loss was located . the sleeves were stregth welded to the lem heat exchangers,” says Grimes.
U-bend in order to facilitate More advanced sleeving parent tubes at the face of the outlet After the sleeving project at Tanner’s
tube sample removal. If the latest sleeve installation tech- tubesheet Creek unit was finished, Jay King was

20 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 21

Case Study Electrical Isolation

Isolate to Communicate
surprised to see that heater perfor- temperature difference) and the satura- have presented us with a very difficult
mance was substantially maintained. tion temperature of the heater (based situation on how we would start and
on the pressure) versus the feedwater shut down the unit without some serious
“We would have expected to see outlet, have not decayed at all.” Quite pipe modifications and major changes in
slight performance decay, since you possibly that resulted from the selective, operating procedures. These heaters are
have the sleeves in place in the de-
superheating zone, because it’s now a
limited use of sleeving.” used during start-up and are equipped
with alternate drains that drain back to System robustness through the rejection of
system level noise
heavier-walled tube, he said. But that “The thing I liked best about going this the condenser that must be utilized dur-
didn’t happen. We maintained the same route is that we didn’t have to abandon ing start-up. The piping modifications
performance levels. The TTD (terminal the heaters,” adds King. “That would would have meant a large added O&M
expense and time lost for engineering
to assess needed operational changes. RS485 networks provide the backbone for communications in applications ranging from industrial control
The installation of the sleeves allowed systems to roadside traffic message boards. In environments where high voltages are present, electrical
us to maintain efficiency and return the
unit to service maintaining a design isolation from the communication bus to logic controllers is regularly employed for human safety and
basis.” equipment protection.

In installing the sleeves, APS em- By Jeff Marvin, Design Center Manager and Brian Jadus, Senior Design Engineer, Mixed Signal Products
ployed an advanced hydraulic expan-
sion method that utilized a flexible
Linear Technology Corporation
hydraulic expansion mandrel. The use
of a hydraulic expander provides a more

uniform expansion and superior contact ften overlooked, are the benefits mination resistor are built in. power lines routed adjacent to RS485
of the sleeve OD with the ID of the par- of isolation affecting system bus wires. Computers, printers, fluores-
ent tube. Additionally, the sleeves were performance rather than simply Ground and Common Mode Voltage cent lights, variable speed motor drives
strength welded to the parent tubes at protecting it from dangerous voltages. Disturbances and other electronic non-linear loads
the face of the outlet tubesheet. Grimes These benefits come in the form of unin- RS485 was developed and standard- can introduce significant frequency
added that with projects that utilize terrupted, error-free communication in ized to allow communication between harmonics into power distribution neu-
the advanced tube testing and sleev- the presence of harsh ground perturba- transceivers with ground potential dif- tral, ground lines, and communication
ing technologies, there are benefits tions and other system level noise that ferences of up to ±7V. The signals on network wires. These disturbances can
that are somewhat immeasurable. “In would otherwise render a non-isolated the bus can assume voltages of -7V to cause real data errors in RS485 net-
most cases, sleeving can be performed system inoperative. +12V with respect to the local "ground" works which isolation can alleviate.
at any node. These ground potential
with the heater isolated while the unit
remains online which allows the Utility
Isolated RS485 transceivers are avail- differences arise from a variety of condi- Transmitted but Not Received
able from several manufacturers. Most tions including earth ground variations RS485 wiring configurations for non-
to continue to generate electricity. The
of these solutions provide data isolation or voltage drops on ground returns that isolated and isolated networks are
power generating capacity that these
but do not provide the isolated power are shared by other circuits under load. shown in Figure 1. For simplicity, the il-
companies retain, as well as how much
needed to drive the bus interface. The lustration shows point-to-point unidirec-
more heat transfer they are able to get user is left to come up with the solu- Under some circumstances extra- tional communication but the concept
out of that heat exchanger are additional tion, requiring bulky, expensive discrete neous transient events can produce also applies to multi-node networks.
cost savings that the utilities realize elements to make up the isolated DC/ ground shifts that far exceed ±7V. Figure 1a shows a non-isolated, un-
from this process. So, you would have DC converter. The overall size, cost, These conditions will likely introduce shielded twisted pair connection imple-
to calculate that and how much less power consumption, or complexity can errors in the received data, or worse mented with Cat5e cabling. Figure 2
coal you would have to burn to maintain deter the use of isolation in systems yet, damage transceivers and their shows oscilloscope waveforms captured
the same MW. Plus, the capital expen- that could truly benefit from it. associated system circuitry. Proper at points on this network while driving
ditures have to be considered regarding use of an isolated transceiver, like the 100ft of cable and introducing a ground
heat exchanger replacement.” New Isolator µModule® technol- LTM2881, extends the usable com- potential difference between driver and
ogy from Linear Technology provides mon mode voltage (mean voltage of receiver. The trace colors correspond
For more information, contact Ameri- a complete power and data isolation the differential signal lines with respect to the colors of the probe locations in
can Power Services or solution in small LGA and BGA surface to ground) to ±560V continuously or ± Figure 1. All signals are measured with mount packages. The LTM2881 incor- 3500VDC for 60 seconds. This level of respect to earth ground at the output of
porates a robust isolated RS485 trans- isolation offers protection and uninter- the receiver. ceiver and an isolated DC-DC con- rupted communication from severe
verter capable of delivering up to 1W of voltage disturbances such as indirect Channel 3 (green) shows the data
power for the bus interface circuits and lightning strikes to networks spanning signal into the transmitting driver at DI,
auxiliary circuits. The µModule trans- multiple buildings. while Channel 4 (red) is the data output
ceiver requires no external components from the remote transceiver's RO pin,
– even the decoupling capacitors and Repetitive ground and signal distur- which should follow the data input by
an electrically switchable network ter- bances can result from coupling to AC only propagation delay.

22 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 23

Electrical Isolation Electrical Isolation

The yellow trace at the top of Fig- are two factors contributing to the loss of-7V to+12V. In this case, the signal Figure 1d. All isolated grounds at each
ure 3 is the sine wave voltage signal of data, both relating to the finite com- amplitude at the end of the 100ft wire node are tied together with a common
introduced between grounds with 7V mon mode rejection capability of the has peaked up to±20V even though wire. The common connection is tied
amplitude (14VPP). Channel 2 (blue), RS485 receiver. First, the high fre- the stimulus introduced at the near end to non-isolated ground at one point to
shows the “B” signal at the negative quency content of the common mode had voltage peaks of only ±7V! This establish the nominal voltage reference
receiver input after it has traversed the signal, here about 1.2MHz, exceeds the amplitude peaking is maximized at level of the otherwise floating network.
100' cable. The digital data at "B" is effective bandwidth of common mode the resonant frequency of the network This prevents the bus from floating to
nearly imperceivable compared to the rejection for most RS485 receivers. wiring. Note this does not refer to the excessive voltages beyond the isolation
large common mode voltage signal it is differential characteristics of the bus, rating.
superimposed on. Secondly, the amplitude of the com- which behaves like a transmission line,
mon mode signals presented to the but is a characteristic related to the This configuration elicits the best
Figure 2 shows obvious errors. There receiver far exceeds the allowed range common mode impedance. The reso- performance out of the RS485 receiver
nant frequency is a function of the cable because the receiver’s isolated ground
length, cable configuration (e.g., coiled potential follows the common mode of
or straight) and the complex impedance the input signals and is absorbed across
of the connected nodes. The interesting Figure 2: Non-Isolated Data Loss for network of Figure 1a the isolation barrier. Since the receiver
point is that a ±7V common mode signal ground moves with the signals, the
was able to corrupt RS485 signal trans- receiver is not taxed with rejecting com-
missions due to the frequency content mon mode voltage transients. Instead,
and amplitude peaking. the rejection happens at the isolation
boundary where the LTM2881 encodes
Isolated Communication Works the data into differential digital pulses
Replacing the RS485 transceivers before inductively coupling it across the
with LTM2881 Isolated RS485 trans- barrier. This communication method
ceivers (Figure 1c) solves the problem is tolerant of extremely high common
of data corruption as is evident in the mode transient events faster than 30kV/µs
corresponding waveforms of Figure 3. with no data loss or added jitter.
In this configuration, the common mode
applied to the receiver inputs is mostly Figure 1d also shows a separate shield
developed across the isolation barrier. tied at one point to earth ground to shunt
The receiver isolated ground moves coupled noise. However, some systems
with the common mode voltage of the will not have both a shield and separate
receiver inputs, simply riding on top of Figure 3: LTM2881 Isolated RS485 Transceiver communicating through severe reference wiring options. In this case,
it. As a result, the receiver does not see common mode voltage the best option is to tie the shield to
this as a common mode variation and the common terminal of each isolated
continues to reliably detect the differen- transceiver and then to earth ground at
tial data. one location. If RF immunity remains a
concern, a high frequency, high voltage,
Notice that the common mode fre- capacitor from each receiver common to
quency has been increased to 2MHz, ground can help shunt the energy away
which causes the signal amplitude at the from the transceiver.
end of the cable into the receiver (blue
trace) to increase significantly to 40VPP. Figure 4 shows a typical usage of the
This common mode voltage amplitude LTM2881 isolated RS485 transceivers
is far beyond the specification called out arranged in a half-duplex network with
in the RS485 standard and would chal- their isolated common nodes (GND2)
lenge most non-isolated RS485 trans- wired together for optimal performance
ceivers. as discussed.

Wiring Improvements Conclusion

Better choices for wiring include using Isolation improves system robustness
shielded wire and a common wire that through the rejection of system level
ties all isolated ground nodes together Figure 4: LTM2881 Typical Application noise. Products like Linear Technolo-
are discussed below. gy's LTM2881 isolated RS485 µModule
Connecting the shield to the receiver ergy to ground rather than onto the signal transceiver with integrated isolated
Figure 1b shows the non-isolated ground provides the best shunting for wires and does not reduce the effects of power, make it easier than ever to get
network connected using a shielded system performance. In multi-node, non- ground differences between nodes. the best performance out of a commu-
twisted pair, such as Belden 9841 cable. isolated networks the master node is nication system.
The shield should only be tied at one typically the shield connection location. The best wiring option for use with
Figure 1: RS485 Wiring Configurations point to avoid creating ground loops. The shield serves to shunt coupled en- isolated transceivers is illustrated in

24 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 25

Connection & Mounting Technology Connection & Mounting Technology

of ceramic cracks due to high result-
ing pretensioning force of a screw. This
results from the fact, that the force is
applied directly onto the housing as can

be seen. A ceramic crack leads to a
safety relevant isolation failure, meaning
the module has to be scrapped.

The thermal grease, which is state of

Self acting PressFIT module simplifies assembly the art necessary for a good thermal
interface between power module and

- maintains reliability
heatsink, increases the risk of cracks
due to its viscosity and velocity propor-
tional absorbability.

Customers of power electronics increasingly require new, easy connection and mounting technologies. Figure 2: Schematic drawing of a Smart module: The forces of the screw are trans- Unfortunately and especially if the
PressFIT technology creates the possibility of solderless mounting combined with an improved reliability. ferred to the outer part – the inner, decoupled part is protected thermal grease is applied by hand,
there are some unavoidable fluctuations
By Marc Buschkühle and Thilo Stolze, Infineon Technologies AG, Warstein, Germany regarding the thickness of the grease.
For the thermal behaviour of the module
later on, these fluctuations are not ob-
jectionable, but due to the viscosity and

o continue this approach, a step mounting process with a high additional fixing points for the board are velocity related damping of the grease
new module platform based on mechanical robustness, in combination necessary around the module. material, they could be fatal for the ce-
PressFIT technology has been with a robust contact system. ramics and the isolation capability of the
developed which furthermore offers an This Self acting PressFIT assembly is module. This comes from the inhomo-
extremely fast and robust mounting con- The Smart module is suitable for a sin- presented in the full Smart family. The geneous mechanical support and the re-
cept to improve inverter manufacturing, gle step mounting procedure by the use family consists out of three packages, sulting high, local bending stress which
reliability and design. Special emphasis of PressFIT contacts, hence the name dedicated to the different power ranges. can lead to a crack. This risk becomes
has been put on mechanical robustness. “self acting PressFIT”. This means that The following tests are carried out with greater, the higher the mounting speed
Avoiding the risk of DCB cracks result- the fixation at the heatsink, the electrical the Smart1 module, but can be also due to the speed of turning of the screw
ing from controllable forces originating contact and the PCB fixation is done in roughly assigned for the Smart2 and during assembly.
from the module design, was one of the just one very fast process step, simply Smart3, because of the similar mechani-
main approaches. To demonstrate the by tightening a screw. cal concept.
robustness, comprehensive mechanical
Figure 3: Schematic drawing of a PressFIT connection
tests were carried out. A counterholder transfers the force The mechanical design is benchmark
from the screw to the PCB and pushes regarding robustness. This is realized
Self acting PressFIT: the Smart prin- the contact pins into the dedicated by a duplex frame, which prevents the inner part has a vertical degree of free- in the local contact point which gener-
ciple holes. At the end, this pressure part ceramic substrate from all screw forces dom. Those two parts are connected ates a cold welded connection. This
Regarding current module designs, rests onto the module and presses this and also from other external loads. It with elastic elements which pushes results in very low FIT rates, which are
there are three main improvement areas, to heatsink for a good thermal contact. consists out of an inner module core the inner part to the heatsink. Also the approximately one decade below solder
which have to be combined into one Furthermore the PCB is fixed between with the ceramic substrate and an outer PressFIT pins, which are directly dis- connections.
solution: So the approach is, to get a the module frame and the counterholder decoupled parts frame. The screw force tributed on the substrate, push onto the
module which is suitable for a single after the mounting process, therefore no is only applied on the outer frame. The substrate. So PressFIT should be the connection
method with the highest potential for the
High reliable connection to the PCB future.
To enable the single step mount-
ing process, a solderless connection No ceramic crack issue
technology is required. Within the Smart A trend in the market of low power
modules, the well proven PressFIT con- semiconductor modules is to build the
tacts are used. modules without the classic baseplate.
This means, the module base is de-
The reliability of a PressFIT contact signed as the ceramic substrate, where Figure 4: No ceramics cracks with the
is based on the gas tight contact zone, the high power dies are bonded. protecting Smart principle. Crack risk
which is very robust against climatic of ceramics in standard module due to
Figure 1: Module fixation and press-in process by tightening a single screw influences and corrosive environments In contrast to the smart concept, direct loads on inhomogeneous thermal
Further information: due to the particular plastic deformation existing designs suffer the common risk grease support

26 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 27

Connection & Mounting Technology Power Supplies

Keeping Systems Running

To ensure the functionality of the tive action is to use a two step proce- the crack sensitive ceramics.
Smart principle, some simple tests have dure, where the speed is reduced in the The overload torque was adjusted to
been carried out, where the application second one to values of 100U/min and a maximum of 12Nm (Figure 6), which is
of the thermal grease has been pur- below. corresponding to a torque of 9Nm at a

posely falsely applied. friction value of 0.10. All modules have
A Smart module is suitable for a real been inspected and measured due to
Torque and speed of rotation one-step-mounting procedure with a their isolation capability before and after
The request of modern manufactur- rotation speed of 500U/min, due to its the test:
ing is to tighten screws as fast as pos- robust and force-absorbing design.

Developing highly efficient power supplies

sible. But as can be seen, a fastening Within the torque overload tests, ther- That means there is no DCB crack
machine is not able to stop exactly at mal grease with a thickness of 100µm occurred and also the rest of the device
a torque limit at that speed. It has an was applied. The Electrolube HTC mate- was completely damage-free.
overshoot effect due to the inertia of rial was chosen, because it has a very
Taming the heat is one of the biggest design challenges facing system architects and power supply
the rotating masses. A common correc- high viscosity, which is more critical for Conclusion
Many tests on the mechanical ro- manufactures today. Free air flow through the power supply is critical for improving performance in both
bustness and behaviour of the Smart1 system and supply.
module have been performed. All show
that the Smart principle is a realized ap- By Michael Bean, Global Product Manager, High Current Power, Molex Incorporated
proach to cover all of today’s main im-
provement areas in one power module:

A solderless, robust single step mount- ata centers are on the front perature of internal components rises. flow required to meet the intended de-
ing concept, combined with a reliable line when it comes to targeting sign specifications by calculating CFM
and universal contact system. Certainly, energy consumption. With the Choosing the right power connector is using heat to be dissipated and desired
the Smart family will be extended to explosive growth in size and number of critical to the achieving the ideal thermal temperature rise. In this example, Q =
higher power ranges, with the same large data centers, server manufacturers design equation. A new approach to 1.76 W / Tc (Q=CFM airflow required;
features and the same robustness. are in hot pursuit of efficient system de- low profile connectors enables greater W = watts heat to be dissipated; Tc =
signs that include space-saving power airflow and lower temperatures through temperature rise above ambient; and,
supply strategies. Striving to achieve as the power supply. slope=1.76). So, the required airflow
much system efficiency as possible, the should be 23.67 CFM to meet the de-
Figure 5: Although with inhomogeneous, wrong applied thermal grease: No damage microprocessors, chassis fans and pow- Traditional SSI connectors v. EX- sired design goal.
of ceramics. The wrong application, exemplary shown in 0 could not crack or dam- er supply losses combine to account Treme LPH™ connectors
age the DCB or the module in any way for 50-80% of the total energy used in Consider, for example, a typical 1800 LPH connectors yield 14%-25%
the average high-capacity server. On watt, 12.0V power supply with an 87% improved cooling
average, every 100 watts generated to efficiency rating running two parallel The EXTreme PowerPlus indicates
power the system demands an addi- 40mm fans. And let’s say the enclosure 22.70 CFM at the measurement point,
tional 50 watts just to cool the system. size is 295.0mm long x 106.0mm wide x midway through the power supply, re-
40.0mm high. quiring fans running at full RPM to cool
Power supplies must not only exhaust the supply, yielding excess energy us-
self generated heat but also be capable Comparing two connectors, both with age. The taller connector tends to keep
of exhausting some of the heat pro- 10 power blades and 32 signal pins the movement of air to the upper half of
duced by the system which is why free integrated into a single housing, one the enclosure, producing stagnant and
airflow through the power supplies is vi- connector is a standard SSI type, the recirculated air flow to the bottom of the
tal. Better cooling strategies can reduce Molex EXTreme PowerPlus™, which supply.
energy usage, lower carbon dioxide is 100.3mm long x 14.5mm high. The
(CO2) emissions, improve efficiencies other connector is a newer design, a low Recirculation may be desirable for
and lower the chance you will suffocate profile version by Molex called EXTreme large computer cabinets, but in small
your power supply. LPHPower™ that is only 92.3mm long x power supply enclosures most airflow
7.5mm high. The LPH connector is half is lost due to recirculation. A cross-
Connector size, height profile, length, the height profile of the standard con- sectional view demonstrates airflow
and design determine current densities nector. That height difference proves to blockage with the traditional SSI con-
and can have a significant impact on be a measurable advantage in airflow. nector, based on velocity contours. Red
airflow within a power supply enclosure. indicates areas of high velocity, which is
Essentially, air flow must not be inter- If, at 1800 watts and 87% efficiency, most desirable.
rupted by the connector. The stronger there are 200 watts of heat to exhaust
the airflow, the more cooling that will from the power supply enclosure. As- Conversely, the lower profile Molex
take place. If air flow is inhibited or suming a target of 20°C temperature EXTreme LPHPower™ connector in the
prevented from entering or exiting the rise for safety rating purposes with 60% same environment indicates airflow of
enclosure, recirculation increases, static free air flow at the non EMC boundary 25.90 CFM – an increase of 14% over
Figure 6: Torque rotation-angle diagram of a Smart1 module air mounts, draft is limited, and the tem- grate, one can calculate the basic air- the taller connector. Although that may

28 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 29

Power Supplies

Figure 1: Airflow and draft through en-

Special Report-
closure using standard SSI type connec-
tor (Molex EXTreme PowerPlus)

Figure 2: Airflow velocity using standard

SSI type connector (Molex EXTreme
Powering Portable Devices

Figure 3: Improved airflow and draft

through enclosure using lower profile
Molex EXTreme LPHPower connector

Figure 4: Improved airflow velocity using

lower profile Molex EXTreme LPHPower

seem relatively insignificant, the differ- power supplies that may have only a proven thermal reduction strategies.
ence equates to an increase power sup- single 40.0mm fan squeezed next to Smaller, higher speed fans can be a
ply to 2000 watts, while maintaining safe the standard AC input IEC connector, double-edged sword, boosting energy
20°C temperature rise without altering the effects of the lower profile LPH style consumption and noise, while reducing
thermal specifications. The extra airflow connector are even more pronounced. MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) of the
headroom also allows an extra boost of Compared with traditional SSI con- fans and other internal components.
system cooling to accommodate ambi- nectors, in identical test situations, the Connector selection is a critical aspect
ent or other component conditions. Molex EXTreme LPHPower™ connector of fan performance and overall power
can gain 25% more airflow with im- system design. Molex EXTreme LPH-
The contour plot of velocity for LPH- proved draft through the enclosure. Power connectors offer space-saving
Power shows that draft is also vastly high-current configurations for improv-
improved and promotes greater air flow Conclusion ing power supply performance that help
to reach the lower extremes of the en- Industry demand for reduced energy solve thermal design challenges associ-
closure - meaning more internal compo- and costs will continue to fuel demand ated highly efficient systems.
nents are cooled more efficiently. for smaller enclosures, and better
utilization of data center real estate—
On smaller sized 850 - 1200 watt and will also accelerate the need for
Image courtesy Omni Magazine / Bob Curry (circa 1984)
30 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010
Special Report
Special – Powering
Report Portable
– Powering Devices
Portable Devices Special Report – Powering Portable Devices

Battery Management
this current for a very long time.

The current measurement ADC offset error limits the lowest

current level that can be measured for a given sense resistor
size. This leads to the important tradeoff between low sense

Importance of accurate measurements and resistor value and required dead band where the current level
is too low to accumulate the charge flowing. Most equipment

temperature stability manufacturers are looking at ways to reduce current con-

sumption, and stay in low power modes whenever possible,
making it more important to ensure that small currents can be
Lithium Ion batteries are becoming the technology of choice for most portable applications requiring measured accurately.

rechargeable batteries. The advantages include high energy density per volume and weight, high
Measuring a voltage in the µV range accurately is challeng-
voltage, low self-discharge, and no memory effect. ing in itself and when the chip is experiencing temperature
variation, the challenge becomes greater. Atmel’s offset cali- Figure 1: Typical offset after calibration using standard offset
By Odd Jostein Svendali, Field Application Engineer, Atmel, Norway bration method is proven to be very efficient when tempera- calibration method
ture effects are taken into account. As can be seen in Figure 2
the temperature effects are eliminated, ensuring that the offset

hen selecting a lithium Ion battery, it is important lithium Ion battery is to accurately track the charge flowing is not a problem for the accuracy of the measurement.
to manage it correctly to get safe operation, the in and out of the battery. An accurate voltage measurement
highest capacity per cycle and the longest lifetime can be used to compensate for errors in the charge flow The bandgap voltage reference is a vital component to
- normally by using a battery management unit (BMU). For due to the fairly constant relationship between Open Circuit achieve high accuracy results. A deviation in the actual volt-
safe operation, it is important that the BMU ensures that the Voltage (OCV) and State of Charge (SoC). Some of the latest age reference value from the expected value in firmware will
battery cells operate within the manufacturer’s specification in Lithium Ion cells have a very flat voltage characteristic, mak- translate to a gain error in the measurement result. In most
terms of voltage, temperature and current. ing it much more challenging to correct an error in the current cases this is the most important error source for cell voltage
measurement with an OCV measurement. A small error in the measurements and measurements of high currents. A stan-
When designing a battery management system, the worst- voltage measurement can lead to a significant error in the dard bandgap voltage reference combines a current that is
case conditions must be taken into account. One such exam- SoC calculation. Optimum accuracy is achieved with accurate proportional to absolute temperature (PTAT) with a current
ple is the charge termination voltage – For standard notebook current and time base measurements. The offset in the current that is complementary to absolute temperature (CTAT) to give
batteries for example, the battery cell voltage should never measurement ADC can be reduced by measuring the offset a current that is relatively stable over temperature. This cur-
exceed 4.25V. in a controlled environment, and then subtract this offset from rent is run through a resistor to give a voltage that is relatively
every measurement. But this does not take into account the constant over temperature. However, since the CTAT shape
Figure 2: Remaining offset when using Atmel’s offset
Usually, the recommendation is to look at the standard de- drift of the offset. is curved while the PTAT shape is linear, the resulting voltage cancellation technique
viation of the voltage measurement in the BMU, and subtract curve over temperature is curved. The current levels in the
4 times the standard deviation from the charge termination Figure 1 shows the remaining offset when using this bandgap reference have some production variation requiring
voltage. Thus, if a BMU measures the voltage at 4.25V with technique for a number of parts. A better method has been factory calibration is to minimize the impact of this.
a standard deviation of 12.5mV, charging should cease at implemented in Atmel’s Battery management units. With the
4.2V. This conflicts with the desire to get the highest capacity ATmega16HVA for instance, the offset can be cancelled out An example of variation in an uncalibrated reference is
from a given cell, where charging to a higher voltage will give by periodically changing the polarity of the current measure- shown in the following plot. The maximum variation within the
higher capacity. Also to extend the battery life, it is impor- ment. With this method, a very small but fixed offset will temperature range -20 - 85°C is -0.9 – 0.20%. As indicated
tant to avoid excessively high charge voltage and a too low remain. This can also be removed by measuring it before in Figure 3, two outliers differ significantly from the other de-
discharge voltage. The wear on the cells is most evident when the protection FETs are opened, giving a known current flow vices.
the cells are outside the recommended End of Charge Voltage through the battery pack.
(EOCV) and End of Discharge Voltage (EODV). The voltage Standard bandgap references commonly used in BM de-
measurement accuracy determines the required safety margin As can be seen from Figure 2, a significant improvement is vices are calibrated for nominal variation, providing very good
to the EOCV and EODV. achieved by using this method. The remaining error caused by accuracy at 25°C. To achieve improved performance over Figure 3: Bandgap results without curvature compensation
offset drift in the Atmel BMUs is below the quantization level. temperature variation, Atmel adds an additional calibration
The critical parameters to achieve voltage measurement The advantage of eliminating the offset is that current mea- of the voltage reference where the temperature coefficient of - 85°C is in this case as low as -0.5 – 0.0%. Note that the sec-
accuracy over temperature are ADC gain drift, and voltage surement at low level can be performed accurately. For de- the bandgap reference is adjusted. This calibration step will ond calibration step not only provides significantly improved
reference drift. The offset in the voltage measurement is typi- vices with a large offset, it is necessary at some point to stop adjust the shape and position of the curvature and provide accuracy, it also enables detecting and screening outliers that
cally less than 3µV compared to a measurement of 4200mV, measuring and start predicting the current value. Some BMUs significantly improved stability over temperature, as shown in have significantly different temperature characteristics than
and can thus be ignored in a practical design. have a snap-to zero band or dead-band of up to 100mA using the following plot, Figure 4. normal devices.
a 5mΩ sense resistor. This is still a significant current consid-
The most efficient way to implement a gas gauge for a ering that a notebook for instance, can stay in a mode with The maximum variation within the temperature range -20 The second calibration step is normally not performed for

32 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 33

Special Report – Powering Portable Devices

step that minimizes the additional cost. Atmel’s patented

method minimizes the test equipment requirements by utiliz-
ing features that are present in the BM unit itself. The on-
board ADCs are used to perform the measurements using
accurate, external voltage references, the CPU is used to
perform the necessary calculations, and the Flash is used
to store the measurement data from the first test step. As
a result, very cheap test equipment can be used, while still
achieving very high accuracy results. This method allows
Atmel to provide industry leading performance with very little
added test cost.
Figure 4: Bandgap with curvature compensation
When the battery reaches a fully discharged or fully charged
state, it is the voltage measurement that determines when to
shut-down the application or stop charging the battery. The
safety levels for maximum and minimum cell voltage cannot
be compromised, so a guard band must be built in to ensure
safe operation in all cases. The higher the guaranteed voltage
measurement accuracy, the smaller guard band is required
and more of the actual battery capacity can be utilized. For
a given voltage and temperature, the voltage measurement
can be calibrated, and the voltage measurement error in this
condition will be very small. When taking the temperature drift
into account, the main factor contributing to measurement
error is the voltage reference drift.

Figure 5 shows the uncertainty when using a standard volt-

age reference compared to a curvature compensated voltage
Figure 5: Voltage measurement accuracy over temperature reference. As can be seen the curvature compensation gives
significantly improved accuracy.

High measurement accuracy is vital for getting the most en- Ridley Engineering offers power supply design workshops around Our next workshop is 15-18 June 2010 in Atlanta, GA USA.
ergy out of the battery per cycle, and the longest battery pack the world. Dr. Ridley combines the teaching of theoretical and Tuition is 2500 Euros and includes training, lab notes,
lifetime without sacrificing safety. To avoid extensive costs for practical concepts, and hands-on experience with design software POWER 4-5-6 software, and lunch. Reservations are now
and lab instruments. Attend our intensive four-day workshop, being accepted. Only 24 seats are available at each workshop.
calibration, the inherent accuracy in the BMU must be as high
where mornings are spent studying theory and design concepts, Download a reservation form at
as possible. Also by utilizing clever calibration techniques us-
and afternoons are spent building power circuits and controllers.
ing onboard resources of the MCU good calibration, cancel-
ling out temperature effects, can be achieved at a minimal
cost. Power Supply High-Frequency Hands-On
Modeling & Control Magnetics Design Laboratory
Figure 6 shows a discharge cycle of a 10Ah battery over 32 PWM Switch Model Optimal Magnetics Design Combined Lecture and Lab Learning
hours. 3 hours at 1.5A, 7 hours at 0.6A and 22 hours at 60mA. CCM and DCM Operation Core and Winding Loss Build Power Supply Circuits
The variation in temperature is +/-10 deg C, and a sense Power Stage Characteristics Component Parasitics Build Magnetics
Figure 6: Gas gauge accuracy results based on current mea- resistor of 5mOhm is used. The error in the charge accumula- Voltage-Mode Feedback Design Frequency Response Measure Waveforms and Components
surement accuracy tion using a standard BMU with typical calibration methods Current-Mode Power Stage Characteristics Planar Design Structures Measure Transfer Functions
is higher than 400mAh corresponding to more than 4% of Design with Current-Mode Control Proximity Effects Design Control Loops
BM devices because of the added production test cost. The
the 10Ah battery in this example. Atmel’s solution delivers a
second calibration requires accurate analog test of packaged
significantly better accuracy due to the clever analog design
devices at two temperatures, while the industry norm is to test
combined with patented calibration methods. Due to these
packaged devices at only one temperature. Adding a second
improvements, the error is reduced to less than 20mAh, cor-
test step with high analog accuracy requirements will normally
responding to 0.2%.
give a significant cost increase.

Atmel has a novel method for performing the second test
Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 SARL Ridley Engineering Europe ~ Chemin de la Poterne ~ Monpazier 24540 ~ FR ~ +33 (0)5 53 27 87 20 ~ Fax: +33 (0)5 67 69 97 28
Ridley Engineering, Inc. ~ 3547 53rd Avenue West, Suite 347 ~ Bradenton, FL 34210 ~ US ~ +1 941 538 6325 ~ Fax: +1 877 247 8595
Special Report
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Portable Devices Special Report – Powering Portable Devices

Portable Efficiency
This matter becomes important when
we get to the discussion of power sup-
ply considerations.

Power Supply Considerations

Powering SD flash memory in smartphones SD Specification Version 2.00 calls

for an operating voltage supply range
of 2.7 - 3.6V. 2.7V is defined as the
The handset world is seeing a burgeoning need for memory storage. This article discusses memory minimum voltage required for guaran-
trends and different methods of powering SD Flash memory. teed performance. Above that and up
to 3.6V is acceptable but is also unnec-
By Peter A. Khairolomour, Technical Marketing Manager, Fairchild Semiconductor essarily wasting power. Beyond 3.6V,
performance is not guaranteed and in
addition the memory is at risk of being

he need for memory is being Fortunately though for the consumer, sol- memory is also categorized based on
driven by rapid advancements id state memory density and production capacity range. Standard SD cards Another consideration for the power
in the ability to capture, display, capacity have been increasing over time provide a maximum of 2GB capacity, supply design is the current consump-
and share both video and image con- leading to significant reductions in both high-capacity (SDHC) cards have a ca- tion of the memory. Current consump-
tent. Capture is making huge strides price ($/MB) and area (mm /MB). Figure pacity range of 2 - 32GB, and eXtend- tion varies depending on which of the
due to the emergence of miniaturized 1 illustrates that in 2011 process geom- ed Capacity (SDXC) fall in the range of four main states the memory is in: shut-
camera optics, highly integrated image etries will likely breach 25nm for NAND- 32GB to 2TB. down, standby, read and write. For a
processing, and flashes both in the based flash memory. given memory card, read/write current
form of increasingly bright LED solu- There are also two clock rate cat- consumptions can also vary depend-
tions and shrinking xenon solutions. The most common solid state egories. In default mode, the memory ing on the rate at which data is being
Thin and efficient touch screen LCD, memory format for consumer storage can operate with a clock rate range of clocked into or out of the memory.
AMOLED, and Super AMOLED solu- applications is SD Flash. Modern day 0 - 25MHz providing up to 12.5MB/sec Regular cards support clock frequen-
tions mated with intuitive user inter- SD Flash memory is based on NAND interface speed (using 4 parallel data cies of up to 25MHz and high speed
faces have made displaying photos and technology and comes in the three form lines). In high-speed mode, the mem- cards can support up to 50MHz. As
videos a simple and vibrant experience. factors SD card, mini SD card, and mi- ory can operate with a clock rate range capacities become larger, it becomes
Finally, sharing has been accelerated cro SD card shown in Figure 2. Though of 0 - 50MHz providing up to 25MB/sec apparent that fast clock rates are
due to ubiquitous connectivity, social the three form factors differ in size they interface speed (using 4 parallel data desired in order to ensure reasonable
networks, and numerous sources of do not differ in electrical interface. lines). It is up to the system designer usage models for the consumer.
downloadable content. to optimize this parameter based on
Independent of form factor, SD the desired read and write speeds. Small capacity SD cards operat-
These technologies are driving and ing at low speeds often consume less Figure 2: SD card, mini SD card and micro SD card size dimensions
enabling cell phone manufacturers to than 100mA. Given that Li-Ion batter-
design phones with cameras capable of ies nominally operate at 3.7V and that
8 or even 12MP image resolutions. Or memory supply rails are quite high, linear
in the case of video we are increasingly regulators have become the incumbent
seeing cell phones with the capability power supply of choice for SD memory.
to shoot 720p@30fps. These are all The selected linear regulator though has
memory- intensive applications and to be capable of operating with low drop
typically this content is stored in the out because the Li-Ions have an effec-
form of solid state memory. tive voltage range of 3.2 - 4.2V.

While digital still cameras have histori- With the emergence of 8, 16, and
cally demanded large memory capacities, 32GB high speed SD cards, it is not un-
this requirement for cell phones has only common to see current consumptions
become prominent in the last few years. in the range of 300 - 400mA. These
Figure 1: Process geometry trend for NAND flash memory technology Figure 3: LDO powering SD Card at 2.9V

36 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 37

Special Report – Powering Portable Devices

6MHz switcher in this power conscious application

dissipates considerably more power than a 3MHz
While the selection of a buck to replace an LDO  LQGXVWULDOHOHFWURQLFV
may seem trivial, it is important to consider that
Table 1: Power supply comparison between LDO, 6MHz buck, and 3MHz buck the buck must be capable of operating at very high
duty cycles. If the buck’s output is set to 2.9V
and the battery has come down to 3.3V, the buck
current levels are substantially higher
is already operating at 88% duty cycle. At some
than the 100mA of the lower capacity
conditions of load and input voltages the buck will
cards. At these new increased current
even be forced to stop switching and operate at
levels, LDO power supply solutions
100% duty cycle. The situation gets even worse
begin dissipating substantial amounts
during low VBAT situations if the phone starts
of power. Figure 3 shows an LDO pow-
transmitting GSM pulses. GSM pulses can be as
ering an SD card at a typical voltage
high as 2A and during these pulses the output im-
of 2.9V. 2.9V is chosen with the as-
pedance of the Li-Ion battery will cause the battery
sumption that the LDO can guarantee
to drop by as much as 400mV. For LDOs this sud-
its output will never drop below 2.7V
den VBAT drop is palatable because LDOs are al-
under any line, load, or temperature
ways operating in the linear region. It is a different
situation though for buck converters because they
Figure 4: FAN5362 buck converter powering a SD card at 2.9V must gracefully transition from switching to 100%
Table 1 calculates conversion ef-
on and then back to switching again once the bat-
ficiency for the LDO scenario in Figure
tery returns to 3.3V. During the phase in which the
3 at current levels of 300 and 400mA.
high side device is fully on, the output voltage of
The conversion efficiency of the LDO is
the buck is simply VBAT – RDS(ON) *I – DCR*I where
78% resulting in power dissipation of
RDS(ON) is the on resistance of the high side FET,
240 and 320mW respectively.
DCR is the series resistance of the inductor, and I
is the memory load current.
Many system designers will under-
standably find 320 and even 240mW
power loss to be unacceptable. For-
nario described above with minimal over and
tunately it is possible to use a switch- s 0.3ILOPFDSDFLWRUVIRU'&OLQNDSSOLFDWLRQV
undershoot. In addition, the control mechanism
ing converter as shown in Figure 4 s 3)&SURGXFWVIRUHQHUJ\VDYLQJDQGSRZHUTXDOLW\
and RDS(ON) of the FETs were carefully designed such
to achieve higher power conversion
that the output voltage can be guaranteed to never s (0&DQGVLQHZDYHILOWHUVIRUFXUUHQWVXSWRN$
drop below 2.7V, even including both line and load s ;(0,FDSDFLWRUVXSWR’)
transients. This is critical for memory because SD
As calculated in Table 1, the FAN5362
Specification Version 2.00 calls for an operating
can reduce dissipated power down
Figure 5: FAN5362 efficiency vs. load current, AutoPFM (solid line) ForcePWM voltage supply range of 2.7 - 3.6V. s 7KHUPLVWRUVIRULQUXVKFXUUHQWOLPLWLQJ
to 55mW for the 300mA system and
(dashed line) Figure 6 shows a typical schematic and PCB of s 17&WKHUPLVWRUVIRUWHPSHUDWXUHPHDVXUHPHQW
101mW for the 400mA system. These
the complete FAN5362 power solution. DQGFRPSHQVDWLRQ
efficiencies are based on measured ef-
ficiency curves taken on the FAN5362.
While process geometry advancements address
Figure 5 below shows these curves for
both AutoPFM (solid line) and For-
the need for ultra compact and affordable SD mem- s )HUULWHPDWHULDOVZLWKUHGXFHGSRZHUORVVHV
cePWM (dashed line). While optimiz-
ory, the resulting high capacity devices also present s 6$:ILOWHUVIRUDGYDQFHGPHWHULQJLQIUDVWUXFWXUH
a power consumption problem. This problem can
ing the FAN5362’s efficiency, 3MHz
be overcome by replacing the incumbent LDOs with
was selected as the nominal switching
a buck converter such as the FAN5362, which was s 0LQLDWXUL]HGSUHVVXUHVHQVRUVXSWREDU
frequency because it provided the best
designed specifically for this application.
tradeoff between size and efficiency.
As can be seen in Table 1, using a Figure 6: FAN5362 typical schematic and PCB layout ZZZWGNHSFFRP

38 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010

Special Report
Special – Powering
Report Portable
– Powering Devices
Portable Devices Special Report – Powering Portable Devices

Antenna Tuning Technology

a narrow section of the 470 to 862 MHz
bandwidth that is quickly retuned as
the desired receive channel changes,
ensuring that most of the signal power
captured by the antenna actually ends up

Takes portable handsets to the next level

in the receiver. The UHF band for DVB-H
mobile TV is divided into 48 channels that
are 8MHz apart. In order to provide high-
quality mobile reception, the antenna will
Thinner form factors, mobile TV and the requirement for power efficiency are placing extreme demands need 16 or 32 tuning states.
on the antenna, requiring a new approach to keep calls on track and antennas inside the handset.
Figure 1 compares the input im-
pedance of an embedded mobile TV Figure 2: Open-loop (left) and closed-loop (right) antenna tuning
By Tero Ranta and Rodd Novak, Peregrine Semiconductor antenna with fixed matching and one
with a tunable matching circuit. Note are necessary for embedded mobile mobile handset designers. An antenna
the VSWR of the antenna without tun- TV antennas, but how necessary is tuner forces the antenna to appear 50Ω
ing is 6:1, but with tuning circuitry, antenna tuning for cellular frequencies? despite environmental effects, so the

ootprints are shrinking inside wire- challenge for mobile TV, when an an- Antenna Tuning Challenges matching is very good at better than 2:1 Absorption loss in the body, mismatch rest of the system operates optimally,
less and mobile devices, making tenna is constrained to a very small form As mobile handset antennas are across the entire band. So, to achieve loss in the antenna, ripples in the RF which significantly improves the TRP.
a significant impact on antenna factor such as this, it cannot receive all wrapped and re-pathed, they lose ef- satisfactory performance, the only real filter passband, and reduction in output Even though an antenna tuner causes
performance. Portable system design- of the required TV frequencies at high ficiency. Fortunately, some of this lost options for handset designers incorpo- power due to low efficiency all combine additional insertion loss when the an-
ers need to contend with very small efficiency without some sort of reliable performance can be recovered with an- rating mobile TV is to use an external to severely reduce the power radiated tenna is at 50Ω (VSWR 1:1), adaptive
antennas that must support voice calls tuning technology. tenna tuning, in which the system uses whip antenna or a narrowband tunable out of the handset. These effects are antenna tuning will significantly improve
from 824 to 2170 MHz (or more), dif- dynamic impedance tuning techniques antenna. directly visible to the consumer as a the overall insertion loss from the tuner
ferent modulation schemes, high data To be viable in a portable device, to optimize the antenna performance for decrease in battery life, degradation of input to antenna input compared to
rates, and mobile TV channels ranging antenna tuning technologies need to be both the frequency of operation and en- Mobile TV is a receive-only system, call quality, and an increase in dropped uncorrected situation (Figure 3), and
from 470 to 862 MHz—all in a thinner low-loss, highly linear, able to handle vironmental conditions. This same type so an open-loop antenna tuning method calls. To guard against these problems, provide performance improvements in
form factor. Many of the latest portable very high RF signal levels of 30Vpk or of antenna tuning can be used to track (Figure 2) is required. Here, the cen- many network operators are adopt- the power amplifier (PA) and RF filters
wireless designs constrain the antenna +40dBm, and consume low power. For- mobile TV channels with an embedded ter frequency of the antenna is tuned ing radiated power requirements for as well.
to a historically small area, and, in tunately, electronically-tunable devices antenna. based on a look-up table for the tunable handset antennas. For example, Total
many cases, the antennas are literally that are robust enough and use proven component as a function of the desired Radiated Power (TRP) and Total Isotro- Tuning Solutions
wrapped around peripheral functions in high-volume technologies are already For mobile TV applications, the receive frequency. pic Sensitivity (TIS) specifications are While the case for antenna tuning
the handset. This approach often makes available, and they will enable mobile achievable bandwidth and input match now being tested by simulating actual technology has been strong for some
the antenna more susceptible to detun- handset designers to embed mobile is directly related to the physical size of Because an open-loop system does use cases with head and hand configu- time, the challenge has been the ab-
ing by environmental effects and lowers TV antennas and take voice and data the antenna and the mobile phone. A not measure the operation of the an- rations rather than testing the phone in sence of a high-performance, electroni-
the antenna's efficiency. As an added performance to the next level. “tunable” internal antenna would cover tenna in real time, it cannot take into free space or performing a conducted cally-tunable reactive component that is
account environmental conditions. In a measurement in a controlled imped- low loss and has a wide enough tuning
mobile device, the environment is con- ance environment. ratio to handle both cellular and mobile
stantly changing as a cellular subscriber TV frequencies.
walks, drives, or moves his or her In order to meet these new stringent
fingers (the so-called 'head and hand' power specifications, adaptive an- Since it is connected to the antenna,
effect). To address the needs of cellular tenna tuning may be the only option for any tuning circuit used needs to be
frequencies that are detuned due to low
efficiency or environmental conditions,
adaptive closed-loop antenna tuning can
be used (Figure 2). Here, a mismatch
sensor tracks the antenna's operation by
measuring power that is reflected back
to the antenna (VSWR) and makes nec-
essary adjustments to the impedance
tuning circuitry. In this way, a closed-
loop antenna tuner tracks the optimal
frequency and matches for the antenna
in all use cases. The tuning algorithm
forces the tunable elements to constant-
ly track and adjust to the optimal setting
as environmental conditions change. Figure 3: Simulation of an adaptive closed-loop antenna tuner showing insertion
Figure 1: A traditional passive internal antenna covers the mobile TV bandwidth with very high VSWR (left) whereas a narrow loss improvement with the antenna tuner (blue) compared to not having the antenna
tunable antenna can be moved in frequency to cover the same bandwidth with significantly better VSWR (right) It is clear why tuning technologies tuner (red)

40 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 41

Special Report – Powering Portable Devices Special Report – Powering Portable Devices

™ technology, a patent-pending design integrate a digital communication and they are expected to be in volume
methodology that is being used to interface and all the other required production in late 2010. Ultimately,
develop Digitally Tunable Capacitors functionality monolithically on the die, DuNE technology allows for monolithic
(DTCs). This solid-state DTC can be which minimizes lines and connections integration of the complete adaptive
designed to meet the challenges of both between devices. antenna tuner system, which promises
cellular handset and mobile TV antenna to help handset designers meet and
tuning. It is a fully integrated way to This new technology is based on beat the challenging antenna perfor-
implement a variable capacitor with proven building blocks and process mance and size requirements of the
digital control whose basic design can technologies that are already ship- future.
be adapted for open-loop (mobile TV) ping millions of units per week to the
and closed loop (cellular) antenna tuning handset industry. DuNE DTCs for cel-
applications. lular applications are sampling now,
Figure 7: The level of the 3rd harmonic as
a function of input power is
Because they are manufactured on
largely independent of ca-
the UltraCMOS process, the DuNE DTC pacitance state and meets the
products can integrate the digital func- -36dBm GSM specification up
tions (CMOS control, digital processing, to +40dBm of input power
serial peripheral bus, tuning algorithm),
analog functions (mismatch sensors, For cellular applications,
Figure 4: The DTC circuit for cellular applications is available in a flip-chip form for
charge pumps, biasing circuitry), as DuNE DTCs (Figure 4) are
low parasitic inductance, and it measures 1.36x0.81mm
well as RF passive (high Q capacitors), being designed with capaci-
extremely linear so as not to generate ponent must be able to handle RF signal and RF active (switches, ESD protec- tance values from 0.5pF to
harmonics or intermodulation distortion. levels up to 30Vpk or +40dBm. tion) circuitry in addition to the DTC 10pF, with typical tuning
The tunable element, such as variable core. And, thanks to a fully insulating ratios ranging from 2:1 to
capacitor, needs to have a tuning ratio Numerous materials and technologies sapphire substrate, UltraCMOS field 10:1 with 5 bits or 32 states
of at least 3:1 or better. In addition, the have been proposed over the years to effect transistors (FETs) can be stacked of resolution (Figure 5).
whole circuit must have power con- implement tunable antennas and filters, to handle high RF power levels, unlike
sumption of less than 1mA. Finally, the but these techniques have not been able bulk CMOS and silicon on insulator Typical Q values range
tuning circuitry must be small, rugged, to overcome technological and market- (SOI) technologies. As a result, a DuNE from 40 to 80 at 1-2GHz
and reliable. It needs low insertion loss ability hurdles, so they are not suited for DTC's power handling can be scaled (Figure 6). In addition to
and a high quality factor (Q). The most high-volume production. from +20dBm to more than +40dBm, >+38dBm of power handling
challenging component requirements easily withstanding the high RF power in 50Ω (Figure 7) and switch-
have been power handling and linearity, DuNE™ Technology levels encountered in GSM and WCD- ing speed of better than 5µs,
especially in the presence of GSM sig- In response, designers at Peregrine MA operation without degrading the Q this new technology meets
nals. Although GSM antennas transmit Semiconductor have leveraged proven or tuning ratio. other necessary specifica-
at power levels up to +33dBm, under UltraCMOS™ process and HaRP™ tions for a cellular antenna
mismatch conditions the tunable com- design innovations to develop DuNE DuNE for Mobile Handsets tuning circuit. For instance,
the power consumption is
about 100µA.

The Future of Antenna

Tuning SuperSpeed USB
We expect the footprint
for mobile handset circuitry Circuit Protection Solutions
will continue to shrink and USB 3.0 delivers 10 times the data rate of USB 2.0 and can
performance demands will use nearly twice the power. So protecting your circuit from
overcurrent, overvoltage and ESD damage is all the more
continue to grow. Fortu-
critical to help assure reliable performance.
nately, DuNE technology You can rely on Tyco Electronics Circuit Protection for a
addresses all of the required complete range of products and the applications expertise
performance points for em- you need.
bedding tunable antennas in • Innovative PolyZen overvoltage protection
mobile handsets. Depend- • The latest in silicon-based and polymer ESD protection
ing on the application, these • Industry-leading PolySwitch resettable overcurrent protection
self-contained UltraCMOS For the latest information, go to
RFICs communicate directly
with the cellular transceiver
Figure 5: Measured 5-bit DuNE DTC showing very linear Figure 6: DuNE DTC with Q designed to be 60-70 at 900MHz © 2009 Tyco Electronics Corporation. All rights reserved.

tuning characteristic and a capacitance range from 1.15 to and baseband or the mobile PolySwitch, PolyZen, TE (logo) and Tyco Electronics are trademarks of
the Tyco Electronics group of companies and its licensors.

3.4pF (3:1) TV receiver chipset. They

42 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 43

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Portable Devices Special Report – Powering Portable Devices

Keep on Running
converter is needed to boost the supply
voltage and regulate the output voltage
at the 5V needed to properly transfer
charge to a Li-ion battery. The combina-
tion of a boost converter with a dual AA

Recharging a cell phone battery with …

battery pack can serve as a 5V power
supply for battery charging when a wall
outlet or USB supply are not available.

Batteries! A simple circuit can be constructed

to provide the 5V needed by the battery
charger using a standard DC-DC boost
These days, people can’t live without cell phones. This is not a monumental revelation to anyone who converter IC and some simple external
has been at an airport, a shopping mall, or a park watching their children play. We close business components. Figure 1 demonstrates
how this system works. In this example,
deals, talk to our friends and family, check email, and browse the web while waiting for a connecting the boost circuit is contained in an
flight. But how do we keep them running when on the go? accessory capable of holding two AA
battery cells. The 5V output is main-
tained throughout the duration of the
By Tom Karpus, Director of Handheld Systems and Applications Engineering, Semtech Corporation
charging operation as the AA batteries
discharge. The boost converter used in
this example – the SC120 from Semtech Figure 2: Li-ion battery charging voltage and current curves

he mobile phone has been else can you do? Accessories are now option to raid the kids’ games when you – is set to a 5V output by connecting
transformed from what used to available that act as a portable char- need to recharge your phone). Depend- a resistor divider network between the
be called a “telephone” into a per- ger for just such an occasion. This is a ing on the state of your phone battery, OUT and FB pins.
sonal communication and data transfer great idea – it’s like carrying a portable this power transfer system could top off
device. All this communicating and data electrical outlet and charging adapter the battery or provide just enough power The charger IC typically resides inside
moving takes power, so phone design- all-in-one. Such an accessory can utilize to maintain an important call when your the phone or in a charging cradle for
ers and chip companies have poured different battery configurations to supply battery is nearly depleted. removable batteries. Accessories with
a lot of effort into squeezing every last the charging power. One simple, low- similar capability use standard USB con-
mAh (milliampere-hour) of battery life cost choice is to use two disposable A typical Li-ion battery charges to a nectors to attach to the phone charg-
out of each mobile phone function. Talk AA alkaline batteries to transfer energy final voltage of 4.2V, so a power supply ing system. The phone should limit the
times and standby times have declined to your phone’s Li-ion battery. These level greater than 4.2V (typically 5V mini- charge current internally to 100mA – the
as more complicated, feature-rich prod- batteries are inexpensive, available at mum) is needed to supply the charging standard for low power USB charging.
ucts have been adopted by the average any convenience store, and transferable circuit. Alkaline battery cells range be- The fast charge current in this example
user. Advances in phone power man- between different devices (providing the tween 0.8V and 1.6V, so a DC-DC boost is set to 100mA to illustrate charging
agement have performance under these conditions.
addressed this Charging is terminated when the current
issue to some ex- into the battery drops to 10% of the fast
tent, but we still charge current – in this case, 10mA.
need to recharge Figure 2 illustrates the Li-ion battery
our phone batter- voltage and current during the charging
ies when they run process using a 750mAh battery, while
out of power. Figure 3 shows the voltage and current
profiles for the AA 2-cell pack through-
Anyone who out the same process. Figure 3: 2xAA alkaline battery cells discharge curves
travels knows
that it’s not al- Figure 2 demonstrates that normal AA cells provided just enough power to charging capacity, which would allow
ways convenient battery charging occurs. The current is charge the Li-ion battery to 4V (but not a complete charging cycle or possibly
to pack a char- held constant at 100mA and the Li-ion completely recharge it to 4.2V). multiple charges. Of course, more bat-
ger. Even if you battery voltage approaches 4.2V – the tery capacity translates into higher cost.
have the charging cell voltage at which it is fully charged. Variations to this system could be Regardless of which configuration pro-
adapter packed Figure 3 illustrates the state of the implemented using 3 AA cells or a single vides the best cost-benefit tradeoff, it is
for the trip, there source batteries as charging occurs. The high-capacity Li-ion cell as the charg- clear that this DC-DC boost converter
is no guaran- combined AA cell voltage decreases as ing supply. Either supply configuration design approach provides a simple
tee that you will charge is transferred to the Li-ion bat- would be more efficient because they mobile charging solution for the battery
have access to tery, and the battery current increases to would operate the boost converter powered products that help make busy
a power outlet maintain the boost output at 5V. In this with less voltage drop. Their increased lives a little easier to manage.
when you really example, the Li-ion battery was fully dis- capacity and efficiency would also give
need it. So what Figure 1: Application circuit for battery to battery charge transfer charged at the start of charging, so two the charger accessory more available

44 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 45

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Special – Powering
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Portable Devices Special Report – Powering Portable Devices

Challenging Charging
more likely require a switch-mode char- est gadgets for example allow system
ger. On the other hand, a battery with a operation without the presence of the
regulation voltage of 4.35V can easily be battery, when the input power source
charged at the recommended 1C rate is attached to the portable device.
via a linear charger, unless the industrial Such operation requires the system

Choosing battery charging topologies for

design is extremely slim or the battery path to be separated from the battery
capacity is too large. path (CurrentPath™), thereby allowing
instant-on system operation even with

portables requires checklist analysis

Today most smart-phones are utilizing a deeply discharged or missing bat-
batteries with a capacity higher than tery. Another component of the power
1100mAh and therefore have transi- architecture (ecosystem) is the wall
tioned to switch-mode charging. The adapter used for a specific application.
This article discusses the selection process for deciding the battery charging topology in portable, average battery capacities in the market Lower-cost, unregulated wall adapters
keep getting higher to accommodate may operate at higher voltages, thereby Figure 2: Charging time comparison be-
consumer applications. The article analyzes system and battery conditions under which the benefits of
feature-rich portable devices, which requiring a switch-mode charger for tween a linear and a switch-mode charger
specific solutions outweigh the benefits of others. The analysis focuses on technical issues, consumer consume ever-increasing power and higher efficiency. On the other hand,
usability and secondary effects, like cost, board size, complexity and flexibility. The large selection thereby demand more frequent (and by even if the battery capacity is such that time system power and battery charging
definition also faster) battery charging. higher current is necessary for faster methods to ensure optimum (i.e. higher
of battery packs and technologies combined with the wide variety of available battery charger ICs The figure below demonstrates charging charging, if the adapter is limited to a –performance) operation, while main-
on the market and a wide range of system design approaches, makes the design very challenging -- time between linear and switch-mode lower current rating, a linear charger taining system safety. Such system ap-
charging from a current limited power may be sufficient for meeting charging proaches are calling for power conver-
especially if battery management is a new task for the engineer. source. time targets. sion and battery charging solutions that
incorporate digital bus communication,
By George Paparrizos, Product Marketing Director, Summit Microelectronics System Power Architecture The system architecture can also thereby allowing dynamic parametric
In addition to the battery selection, have an effect on the battery charg- and functional alterations based on
each new design utilizes a different ing algorithm, since a higher number of system, environmental and other condi-
Battery Charging Types such charging solutions more appealing. basic selection process depends on five power architecture. Many of the lat- sophisticated systems implement real- tions.
There are three basic battery charg- main factors: battery pack specifica-
ing types: linear, switch-mode and pulse Selecting the Ideal Battery Charger tion, system power architecture, system
chargers. Each of these types provides The selection of the battery charging cost, industrial design, and marketing

W! Power
advantages and disadvantages, which implementation has become a major requirements.
make them ideal for specific applica- challenge in modern portable designs. E Modules
tions. This article will focus on the first
two, since pulse-charging is nowadays
Like with any other power management
related function, in many cases it is the
Battery Pack Specification
Each battery pack provides several
for 500W to 50kW Ultra-reliable
an unpopular method due to reliability little details that determine the use of a specifications such as battery capac- Solar Inverters IGBT transformers
concerns associated with continuous specific IC. Choosing the battery charg- ity, battery technology, pack size, and
Widest Selection of Standard Inverter Modules
pulsing of the battery cell and other de- ing architecture is a constant balancing recommended charging and discharging
Custom Modules Available . . . isolation for operating
sign constraints. While some of the pros act, since on one hand the higher the profiles. Most of these specifications
voltages up to 20KV!
and cons of the two popular charging charge current the shorter the charging determine the required charging current Part Number Voltage Amps
types may seem very obvious (like low time, but on the other hand high charge levels and charge regulation voltage that APTGV30H60T3G 600V 30A
efficiency for linear charging and high current levels also prevent the solution ensure long and safe battery life. The APTGV50H60T3G 600V 50A
& )

APTGV75H60T3G 600V 75A
electrical noise for switch-mode charg- to fit in ever-shrinking portable designs. larger the battery capacity, the higher APTGV100H60T3G 600V 100A  414
142 21

ing), most of them depend on system Understanding the different battery current levels are required to meet mar- APTGV15H120T3G 1200V 15A 1
1   4
architecture, battery type/technology charging alternative methods and their keting’s targets for charging times and APTGV25H120T3G 1200V 25A 

APTGV50H120T3G 1200V 50A
and other design considerations. For trade-offs will assist in selecting the avoid consumer frustration. While the
APTGV50H60BG 600V 50A
example, unlike 5 years ago, modern ideal charger for a specific design. The majority of the batteries utilized today

APTGV25H120BG 1200V 25A   
smart-phone designs utilize a are Li-Ion and Li-Polymer,
variety of switch-mode, high- newer technologies are becom-
APTGV100H60BTPG 600V 100A • 
APTGV50H120BTPG 1200V 50A
frequency power converters ing popular with lower (3.6V) as Key Features & Benefits
with optimized layouts that well as higher (4.35V) regula- & 7
1   1
• Unique Full Bridge Solution for Unipolar Switching DC-AC Inverters
isolate noise from sensitive (RF) tion (float) voltages. These new • Optimized for inverter operation, reduced power loss • + 2,   • *

circuit. This makes the adop- technologies will require or be • More efficient than “motor drive” modules • / 2
• /  '   
tion of switch-mode charging able to accommodate differ- • Modern packages reduce stray inductance and resistance •  

 • .4 

more likely in modern wireless ent charging methodologies. • Smaller, lower cost magnetics
• Capable of high operating frequency
gadgets. On the other hand, For example, since the power
• Reduced EMI, “Quiet Switching” technology
When failure is not an option, choose Bicron.
new battery technologies with dissipation of a linear charger
a higher regulation voltage are increases proportionally with Phone USA: 541-382-8028 0  
on the horizon; such batteries the input (adapter) to battery Phone Europe: 33-557-92.15.15 Electronics  #"!!!
reduce the efficiency losses of differential, a LiFePO4 battery © 2009 Microsemi Corporation

linear battery chargers, making Figure 1: Typical switch-mode battery charging IC with a 3.6V float voltage will

46 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 47

Special Report – Powering Portable Devices

ated with the linear and the switch-

mode battery charging topologies when Fairchild Semiconductor
charging from a USB5 (500mA maxi-
TinyBuck™ DC-DC regulator wide variety of non-isolated DC-DC designs, the
mum) power source.
The highly integrated family of 3A, 4A, 6A, 8A, TinyBuck™ regulator offers a wide input range
and 10A synchronous Buck converters enable from 3V to 24V. Visit the Fairchild Semiconductor
Marketing Focus Points
designers to reach higher levels of efficiency website to access the TinyBuck™ video, design
Portable electronic gadgets are
in less space. Incorporating a controller, driver tool, calculator, and datasheets.
marketed in appealing packages that
and optimized power MOSFET, this family
contain specific technical characteris-
provides up to 95% efficiency and over 40%
tics and attributes. One popular (and
space savings in an ultra compact 5mm x 6mm html#
obvious) marketing point is charging
MLP package. To accommodate the needs of a
time. As mentioned in previous sec-
tions, high-efficiency battery charging
topologies will always result in shorter
International Rectifier
charging time. Furthermore, the archi- IR’s Highly Integrated, Feature-Rich side, dual-mode buck controller together with
Figure 3: Example of system architecture utilizing CurrentPath™ tecture of a switch-mode battery charg- IRS2573DS HID Ballast Control IC Simplifies a full-bridge driver. The device’s novel buck
ing IC with TurboCharge™ technology Design for Industrial HID Lighting Applications circuitry enables continuous-conduction mode
is able to provide charge currents that International Rectifier has introduced the full- control during lamp warm-up and critical-
are higher than the input currents, featured IRS2573DS High-Intensity Discharge conduction mode during steady state running.
which again shortens the duration of (HID) electronic ballast control IC for low-, The full-bridge driver includes all high- and low-
the charge cycle. This current “multi- medium- and high-power general purpose side gate driver outputs as well as integrated
plication” is extremely important with industrial HID applications including retail store bootstrap MOSFETs for the high-side supply
an increasing number of applications spotlights, general outdoor lighting applications voltages.
relying on charging from current limited and outdoor street lighting.
USB ports and AC adapters, and with The IRS2573DS 600V IC combines a high-
new-generation processors requiring a
higher current level for system wake- Infineon
up. Other technologies, such as the
Low-battery Recovery Mode™, also HybridPACK™ 2 - Compact Power for Your direct water cooling Infineon HybridPACK™ 2 is
exist on the marketplace, which enable Electric Drive Train. designed to fulfill the requirements of your electric
Figure 4: Power dissipation comparison between Linear and switch-mode charging a longer usable battery life. While in Based on the long time experience in the drive train application with power ratings of up to
most designs once the battery reaches development of IGBT power modules and intense 80kW.
System Cost ponent cost and expenses associated a typical cut-off threshold of around research efforts of new material combinations and
An increasingly critical factor in the with inventory and assembly. 3.4V the system is shut down, newer assembly technologies, Infineon has developed
selection of any power management IC battery and power management imple- – dedicated for automotive applications – this html?channel=db3a3043136fc1dd011370e812
solution, including battery chargers, is Industrial Design mentations allow last-minute calls (911), HybridPACK™ 2 power module belonging to the b7043a
the device budget. The focus point of a The “looks” and profile of cellular even when the battery is more deeply HybridPACK™ family. With its pin fin base plate for
cost analysis is the total Bill-of-Material phones and other portable gadgets discharged.
cost for a specific function vs. solely have been a major focus during the last LEM
the IC cost. While linear chargers used two to three years, especially after the Conclusion
This year, LEM will be highlighting a range of industrial applications, including variable speed
to have a significant cost advantage introduction of slick portable electron- Defining and developing the battery
products, including the CAS, CASR and CKSR drives for motors and power supplies, AC/DC
due to large adoption rates and their ics such as the iPhone. In many cases charging subsystem of new portable
family of current transducers. They are suitable converters, UPS systems for computers as
relatively low external component count the industrial design is the main driving designs is becoming an increasingly
for industrial applications such as variable well as in new innovative energy applications,
and cost, as system designs become force behind many of the other sys- complex process. Budgetary, consumer,
speed drives, UPS, SMPS, air conditioning, such as micro-turbines, wind and solar power
more complex, switch-mode charging tem- and battery-related decisions. marketing and technology requirements
home appliances, solar inverters and also generation.
ICs are quickly closing the gap. When Slim gadgets are pressured to keep are often at odds. Weighing the pros
precision systems such as servo drives for wafer For further information please go to
analyzing the cost impact of various temperature rise inside the case to a and cons of different charging topolo-
production and high-accuracy robots.
charging topologies, a closer looks minimum, since there is not enough gies is key for optimizing the battery
LEM is a leading manufacturer of current and
needs to be taken for additional func- space for the heat to escape. The charging circuit of new product develop-
voltage transducers used in a broad range of
tionality required by the system design. elimination of hot spots means a better ments. It is important to look “under the
Functions like input over-voltage and consumer experience as well as higher hood” and understand the true benefits
over-current protection, power source system reliability. Keeping temperature and costs of each topology and solution
ITW Paktron
identification (is the input power source levels low can be accomplished either in relationship to the system’s require-
Non-Polarized Polymer Film Capacitors Features “non-shorting” operation and does not
a USB port or a wall adapter with a by reducing the charging current level, ments. The goal is a sophisticated
(CS Series) Designed for Mission Critical crack like large ceramic chip capacitors under
USB connector?), or USB On-the-Go which results in longer charging times selection process that ensures that the
Applications temperature extremes or high vibration. There
power support may require additional and unhappy consumers, or by imple- end-products be reliable, provide a
ITW Paktron’s Multilayer Polymer (MLP) Film are no DC or AC voltage coefficient issues with
chips and/or external components. menting a higher-efficiency charging positive consumer experience, and keep
Capacitors (Type CS Series) feature ultra-low polymer film capacitors.
Hence, the monolithic integration of method, such as switch-mode charg- total cost at acceptable levels.
ESR and high ripple current capability and are Capacitance values range from 0.33µF to 20µF
such functions can result in significant ing. The figure below demonstrates the
designed for high frequency filtering and EMI/RFI and voltage ratings are 50 to 500 VDC. Lead
cost benefits, both in terms of com- difference in power dissipation gener-
suppression in power conversion applications. time is stock or four to six weeks.
Provides mechanical and electrical stability,
48 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 compared to multilayer ceramic capacitors.
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Portable Devices Special Report – Powering Portable Devices

USB Modem Design

quired to supply the energy to the load
and maintain the output voltage within
the specified limits during the high cur-
rent pulses. Here, three small 150μF, low
profile, Sanyo POSCAP solid tantalum

Overcoming space limitations capacitors are used to provide power

to the load during pulsed load events.
Given the magnitude and the duration of
the pulsed load current, the capacitors
With USB being a standard interface in PC peripherals, the number of applications that can be are chosen to meet the maximum input
voltage droop of the step down convert-
powered from a USB port is increasing at an exponential rate. The need for flexibility and continuous er (VIN_MIN = 3.5V), while still maintaining
connectivity in our lives is becoming more important than ever before. In a growing wireless world, a stable 3.3V supply to the RFPA.
many applications are taking portable form allowing users the ease and flexibility of connecting to the The voltage drop in the circuit com-
Figure 3: Overview of ILIM Switch + Buck Converter solution
web anywhere, anytime. With all the benefits this brings, there are a number of extra requirements that prises two components, the IR drop
associated with the capacitor’s internal
need to be taken into account when designing a device that is powered from a USB port.
Therefore the effective capacitance the following formula: resistance (as approximated by ESR)
required to buffer each pulse assuming and the drop in capacitor voltage at the
By John Constantopoulos, Systems Engineer, WW Low Power DC-DC, class 10 transmission (1.154ms slot) is end of the pulse. Neglecting the input
Texas Instruments equal to: current supplied by the source, the total
output voltage droop is given by:
Therefore the capacitance required
What is the problem? ply design revolves around the trans- Different Design Approaches is a function of the voltage squared.
A growing variety of wireless data mission cycle due to the high current There are numerous different to- Hence the higher the bias voltage on the
cards for applications such as GSM, consumption in this mode. The main pologies which can be used to power a capacitor, the more energy stored which
GPRS or WiMAX data communication problem with the GSM or GPRS require- wireless datacard. But for the purpose means you can reduce the total effective Where VDROOP is the change in output
use TDMA techniques which require ment is that in datacard applications, the of this article we will compare a Buck capacitance and still achieve the same voltage, IPULSE and tPULSE are the peak
peak current during the transmission of average input current being drawn at the Converter Only option versus that of amount of energy required to buffer a pulse current and duration respectively,
signals which can exceed the maximum USB host is between 500mA – 700mA, using a Current Limit Switch and Buck But as in many new applications, form transmission load pulse. RESR is the capacitor ESR and COUT is the
current specified by the USB standard. while most transmitters will need 1.5A to Converter combination to demonstrate factor and low price are firm require- output capacitance.
ments. And with the datacards this is To illustrate this topology, we used a
Therefore the modem must be designed 2A peak bursts to transmit at full power. the significant savings a designer can
no different. Newer models are being in- current limit switch and buck converter This energy storage benefit can be
to limit the input power and draw on achieve by using the latter.
corporated into small USB sticks which from Texas Instruments. The figure shown by comparing two different
card-based storage for most of the For example, when transmitting in
integrate small displays as well as the below shows how this topology can be scenarios. As shown in the comparison
energy requirement during a typical GPRS Class 10, a maximum of two of Taking a look at figure 2, this provides
ability to add Micro SD flash memory. implemented by using DCDC converters below, two different bias voltages were
transmission cycle. the eight 577μs slots are used, while the us with the smallest converter size due
from Texas Instruments’. applied to the buffer capacitor and the
remaining 6 slots are used to recharge to the use of only one buck converter.
This really constrains the amount of energy stored in the capacitor, as well as
As shown in Figure 1, the GSM signal the capacitor, during which the supply But due to the fact that 2A transmission
space available for electronic compo- The TPS2552/53 USB power-distribu- the total effective capacitance required
is transmitted over the carrier at a rate of current is reduced to less than 100mA. pulses still need to be buffered, a large nents, therefore using a large capaci- tion switches from Texas Instruments as has been calculated. For the purpose of
216 Hz (4.616ms pulse repetition inter- Therefore the power supply must be and expensive capacitor is required. tor complicates layout of the design if intended for applications where preci- the calculation we have used a Class 10
val). The transmission period is divided able to supply at least the average cur- space is restricted and is generally more sion current limiting is required or heavy (1.154ms) transmission pulse.
into eight time slots and depending on rent over one transmission period, as Assuming that the DCDC has an input expensive. capacitance loads and short circuits
the power class being used (8, 10 or well as be capable of handling the 2A current of around 700mA, with the sup- are encountered. These devices offer a To calculate the total capacitance
12) , the duty cycle of this high current transmission bursts. ply voltage directly from the USB port New Approach – Why store energy programmable current-limit threshold up (4) required to buffer a transmission
pulse can range anywhere between one- (i.e. 5V) and an output supply for the at higher voltages? to 1.5A via an external resistor with ac- pulse, requires that we understand how
eighth of the cycle (577us) up to half of Clearly it is not possible for a power RFPA of 3.8V, allows us to effectively Taking both the requirements of curacy as tight as ±6% at higher current much energy the intermediate capaci-
the transmission cycle (2.308ms). supply needed for a USB data card to supply around 920mA directly from the size and price into account, there are limit settings. tors are charged up with and how much
operate correctly without any special DCDC converter (no switching losses alternative options to save on the bulk the buck converter needs to power the
Much of the work in GSM power sup- design measures. taken into account). capacitor. By increasing the energy in The TPS62065 is a 3MHz high ef- RFPA during transmission. (2) and (3)
the capacitor, the designer can drasti- ficient step-down converter used as the above are the direct energy require-
Solution 1 – Buck Converter Only cally reduce the effective capacitance post regulator to supply the 2A current ments for the output voltage from (1).
required, thereby reducing total solution pulses required by the RFPA during the Taking these numbers into account, we
size as well as costs! transmission cycle. For low noise ap- can calculate how much energy is re-
The rest of the energy for a GSM plications, the device can be forced into quired from the capacitor and as a result
transmission slot needs to come from The energy stored in capacitors is fixed frequency PWM mode by pulling the total capacitance required:
the capacitor. related to the charge at each interface, the MODE pin high. The TPS62065 is
q (Coulombs), and potential difference, available in a 2x2 QFN package.
ICAP = IGSM – IDCDC V (Volts), between the electrodes. The
energy, E (Joules), stored in a capacitor Due to the total size restriction, low
Figure 1: Transmission period of a typical Figure 2: Overview of Buck Converter with capacitance C (Farads) is given by profile bulk buffer capacitors are re- As can be seen in Table 1 and the cal-
ICAP = 2.0A – 920mA = 1.08A
GSM/GPRS pulse only solution

50 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 51

Career Development
Special Report – Powering Portable Devices

Big Power Challenges in

culations above, both comparisons have
a significant advantage due to the total
reduction in capacitance compared to
that of the stand alone buck converter,

Little Products Create

while still maintaining the total required
energy in the capacitor.
The energy that the TPS2552/53 sup-
plies at a higher voltage effectively re-

Opportunities for Power

duces the total capacitance. This in turn
significantly reduces costs and solution
Figures 4 and 5 show screen plots

of the TPS2553 + TPS62065 configu-
ration, which uses 5 x 150uF (Sanyo
POSCAP) as buffer stage, while being
loaded with typical 2A pulses at power
class 8 and 10 respectively (577us and
1.154ms). During the period where no
transmission occurs, little or no current
(3) By David G. Morrison, Editor,
is being drawn from the device and the
output voltage remains stable at 3.3V.

As soon as a load pulse is applied dur-
ing transmission, the output voltage of n portable electronic devices, power Nevertheless, there are still opportuni-
the current limit switch starts to droop levels may be small, but the chal- ties for power specialists within porta-
(4) while the required power level is sup- lenges of power management can be ble device OEMs and within the original
plied to the load, and the output of the monumental. Spurred by consumer de- device manufacturers (ODMs) that work
Table 1: Output Capacitance overview with current limit switch and buck buck remains stable during each trans- mands, manufacturers of devices such with them. However, roles within these
mission period. as smart phones, portable media play- companies are changing, and increas-
ers, and laptops are continually driven to ingly these employers are looking more
Conclusion make these devices more sophisticated. for engineers who understand system-
Until recently, designers of portable The next generation of gadgets must level power issues rather than the
systems have rarely used large capaci-
always offer more functionality and bet- details of power converter design.
tors for applications other than back-up
ter performance, while maintaining the
or standby functions where currents are
low and charge times are fairly long. But same basic form factor and the same— Understanding how power system
a growing range of new applications, or even longer—battery life. design roles are changing within semi-
led by a new generation of high perfor- conductor and portable device compa-
mance data cards, demand high peak Since increasing battery size is not nies may help you to take advantage of
currents that are forcing designers to usually an option, product design- engineering opportunities in portable
consider new solutions. ers must resort to advanced power power design. (A sampling of current
management techniques to minimize opportunities in this area can be found
In these applications, designers are power consumption. But that’s not the in the table that accompanies the on-
Figure 4: 2A load pulse at 577us Tx slot frequently looking for different approa-
only requirement for portable power for the original equipment manufac- line version of this article.)
ches to reduce charge time, solution
management. Designers must man- turers (OEMs) who designed, built,
size and total cost, while still being
able to deliver the high required peak age the operation of multiple supply and marketed the portable electronic Customers Expect Complete Power
currents. The compact solution using rails, maintain tight tolerances on sup- devices. But over time, many of these Solutions
the TPS2553 USB power-switch and ply voltages, deal with very fast load companies have come to rely on the As in other segments of the elec-
TPS62065 2A step-down converter transients, keep noise problems at bay, semiconductor vendors to provide the tronics industry, many portable device
from Texas Instruments is an optimal and minimize design size and cost. power system design expertise needed manufacturers have been letting go
GSM/GPRS power supply solution for Plus, with consumer products, product to create the portable devices. So of their power supply designers,
USB powered peripherals. Its small so- design cycles can be short, so time-to- today, many of the opportunities for en- and relying more on semiconductor
lution footprint, combined with today’s market pressures impact the design. companies to help them with power
gineers in portable power design are at
low profile tantalum capacitors ele-
the semiconductor companies, which design in their applications. It’s no
gantly solves the pulsed load problem,
To meet all of these design chal- need IC designers and field applica- secret that many device manufactur-
providing a cost-effective, compact
solution. lenges requires engineers with experi- tion engineers (FAEs) to develop and ers expect semiconductor suppliers
ence in power system design. In the support power management ICs for to deliver power solutions as opposed past, more of these engineers worked portable products. to just supplying the chips. And it’s
Figure 5: 2A load pulse at 1.154ms Tx slot

52 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 53

Career Development Career Development

now standard operating procedure may be leaning heavily on the semi- power system. So the power engi- products such as printers tend to be in the U.S. or Europe have moved alists who support the design of power ICs
for semiconductor companies to offer conductor suppliers for power design neer needs to know something about based on chipsets, both for the logic their product design including power and all the non-power chips the company
complete reference designs, evalua- expertise, they still need engineers who software, systems, digital, and analog.” and the power management functions. system design off shore. However, sells. All of these variations will influence
tion boards, application notes and online understand how to address power re- says Parmenter in describing how the These power management chips may this trend may be less of a factor for the particular knowledge and skill sets
design tools to support the use of their quirements at the system-level. So, even semiconductor FAE’s job encompasses be highly integrated like the example products that are more specialized that semiconductor companies look for
power management ICs in the custom- if they’re not expecting their engineers to many disciplines. Meanwhile, some of cited above of a 396-pin BGA. Plus, and less commoditized as discussed when hiring FAEs to support their portable
ers’ applications. But in many cases, design power converters from scratch, the power management ICs developed whichever IC Company is supplying the above. power products. Beyond the requirements
this level of support is still not consid- some device manufacturers still value for portable applications have evolved main chipset for the product, is prob- for technical expertise, there will also be
ered sufficient by device manufacturers. the combination of power supply design into very large ASICs. “Some of these ably specifying the power components Opportunities in the Semiconduc- differences in the sizes of the territories
experience and applications knowledge. power parts are 396-pin BGAs with as well. The companies making these tor Industry that FAEs will be asked to support. For
Kevin Parmenter, the director of ad- I/Os tightly packed at 0.4- or 0.5-mm products tend to differentiate through The larger the semiconductor com- example, at smaller companies, FAEs may
vanced technical marketing for Digital An engineer who works for a major pitches,” says Parmenter. That creates software rather than hardware design. pany, the more likely it is to have their be expected to support customers over a
Power Products at Exar, explains that laptop manufacturer explained, “What layout and manufacturing issues, which As a result, says Parmenter, commod- IC designers and FAEs specialize in larger geographic area, which may mean
“among some device manufacturers the we try to do is understand what out- naturally the FAEs will be called on to itized products offer fewer opportunities portable power applications. In some more time spent traveling.
expectation is that the semiconductor fits like Intel say they need for a power help their customers address. for power designers within the device cases, a particular IC design center
company is going to do the design for supply and see if we really need the companies that make them. will focus on portable power chips. About the Author
them and hand them a working solution.” ‘Cadillac’ they want, or if we can find Steve Schulte, senior staff systems With regard to FAEs, there’s probably David G. Morrison is the editor of How-
Parmenter, who has years of experience other ways to do the job. It’s not uncom- engineer at Qualcomm, notes another On the other hand, portable device more variation as some companies, a site designed to speed
in semiconductor applications engi- mon for us to use good judgment in not technical challenge: Trying to supply manufacturers that sell more special- may opt to have their engineers focus your search for power supply design
neering at Freescale, Fairchild, and ON, taking their advice because that’s what clean power in the face of the very fast ized, not-yet-commoditized products on portable power applications, while information. Morrison is also the edi-
recalls a memorable visit to a major com- adds value.” For example, in very high- load transients generated by proces- still view hardware design as a means others may ask them to support a tor of How2Power Today, a free monthly
puter manufacturer, where an engineer volume applications, the laptop manu- sors, which have long been a problem to differentiate their products. So power specific product category such as cell newsletter presenting design techniques
summed up his company’s needs. The facturer can look for ways to make the in desktop and laptop computers, and supply designers still have a role to play phones. for power conversion, new power compo-
engineer explained “what the semicon- power supply design cheaper than what’ are now being generated by cellphone within these companies. nents, and career opportunities in power
ductor industry needs to understand s recommended in the reference design. processors. This is forcing designers to Some companies ask their FAEs to electronics. Subscribe to the newsletter
is that they need to stop bringing us a resort to some of the tricky power sup- Movement of Jobs Offshore. Since support power supply design across by visiting
cookbook and groceries, and bring us Meanwhile, in the area of portable ply topologies, says Schulte. most manufacturing of portable elec- a wider range of applications. And at ters/.
cooked food, ready to eat.” power IC design, semiconductor com- tronic devices is done in the Far East, smaller IC companies, it’s likely that
panies are more likely hiring engineers He also notes that the migration to it’s no surprise that some companies the FAEs will be required to be gener-
And it’s not simply a matter of the from their competitors rather than their finer CMOS process geometries in the
semiconductor vendor delivering a com- customers, according to Parmenter. digital realm creates power design chal-
plete, ready-to-build, power manage- When the business climate is strong, lenges for those who are integrating
ment solution after the customer has semiconductor suppliers will be com- power control in their microprocessors.
committed to purchasing their power peting with one another for IC design- This points to another area of oppor-
management ICs. In some instances, ers. In addition, they may face new tunity in portable power design which
the semiconductor vendor must deliver competition from overseas semicon- resides within the world of embedded
the complete solution before the cus- ductor companies who want to get a power design on chip.
tomer decides to place an order. foothold in portable power management
by setting up design centers in the U.S. Other Factors
Understanding Application Require- or Europe and hiring away experienced Power Experience Migrates from
ments IC designers from other companies. OEMs to ODMs. Parmenter points
One lesson here is that the semicon- out that the original equipment manu-
ductor vendor makes a heavy invest- Technical Challenges Require Inter- facturers (OEMs) that sell portable
ment of its resources to win design-ins disciplinary Approach electronic devices are relying more on
of its power chips. Another takeaway is
that the chipmaker must have appli-
As handsets and other portable de-
vices evolve, the power management
original design manufacturers (ODMs)
to develop their products. That means,
To Receive Your Own FREE Subscription to
Power Systems Design Europe, go to:
cation engineers who understand the challenges in these devices grow. Within semiconductor companies are working
customer’s application needs as well as these devices, some processors require more now with the ODMs to develop
(or maybe better than) the customer. As a power supply voltage accuracy of 1% power management solutions for por-
a result, says Parmenter, semiconductor over temperature, and they may have 5 table applications. This trend suggests
companies like to hire engineers who
have worked for their customers and
or 6 modes of operation that allow for
lowering of power consumption, says
that ODMs need to have engineers with
system-level knowledge of power issues
understand the application requirements Parmenter. just as the OEMs do.
as well as power supply design.
“Those modes all require intelligent Commoditization means less hard-
And while the device manufacturers interaction of the processor with the ware design. Highly commoditized

54 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010 55

Solar PV or Solar Thermal?
Reported by Cliff Keys, Editor-in-Chief, PSDE

ore solar reports are com- actually the solar thermal market, which
ing in, but now solar-thermal will expand by a factor of 37 from 2009
energy is also increasingly to 2014, compared to just a six-fold rise
finding its way into the news arena. In for PV during the same period. Solar
the Photovoltaic (PV) worldwide market, thermal, or Concentrated Solar Power
Germany continues to play a key role. (CSP), is undergoing a boom, as newly
But not only will it be the largest market installed capacity grows explosively.
for PV installations, its PV-friendly poli-
tics and FIT (Feed in Tariff) regulations In contrast to PV systems which use
serve as an example to other countries arrays of cells to convert the sun’s radia-
on how to promote solar energy. tion into electricity, solar-thermal uses
mirrors to reflect the sun’s heat en-
PV installations in Europe will account ergy onto collectors filled with fluids or
for about 80% of the worldwide market, gases. This energy is then used to heat
mostly coming from Germany, France, water and, in turn, drive a steam turbine

Plug in to our Power Tools

Italy and the Czech Republic. Italy and to generate electricity. The most popular
France, in particular, are becoming solar world despite the FIT cuts that reduce type is a parabolic trough version that
regions, with 1.0GW of solar installations the level of incentives to purchase solar heats a tube of synthetic oil, which is
in Italy and 500MW in France expected systems. pumped through a heat exchanger to
in 2010. But with both countries facing create water steam that drives a turbine
uncertainties about FIT cuts in 2011, Attractive investment conditions in the electricity generator.
Make better, faster power inductor choices with could work for you, complete with price infor-
these high numbers may be caused by first half of 2010 indicate that Germany Coilcraft’s powerful web tools. mation. A few more clicks gives you a detailed
a consumer race seeking to take advan- will experience an outstanding year for CSP plants can also store the sun’s
Start with an IC, a converter topology, or a analysis of core and winding losses.
tage of government programs. Other solar PV installations, with reports indi- heat energy for release to steam genera-
list of electrical and mechanical specs. In sec- Check out our complete power designer’s
countries such as Greece, Bulgaria, cating that it will install 6.6GW worth of tors at night. Forms of molten salt and onds you’ll get a list of every Coilcraft part that toolbox at
Spain and the UK appear to be prime PV systems in 2010, up 71% from 3.9GW graphite lead the list of storage alterna-
investment opportunities, but adminis- in 2009, and will see an even better year tives for slowly releasing heat. This is
trative hurdles or installation limits are in 2011 as installations reach 9.5GW. something to watch for the future.
slowing the growth of PV in these areas
according to iSuppli. For the foresee- While most of the focus in the so-
able future, Germany will continue to lar world is on PV power, the fastest- greenpage.htm
lead Europe and many other parts of the growing segment of the solar market is


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+44/1236/730595 Fax +44/1236/730627

56 Power Systems Design Europe June 2010

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