ISSUE: June 2022


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» Slammers And Software Verify Performance Of Advanced Voltage Regulators

» A Guide To Power Electronics Design For Off-Battery Automotive (Part 2): DC-DC Conversion From 12 V

» Advanced PMICs Can Flatten The Processor Power Curve For Data Centers

» Focus On Magnetics:
Power Magnetics Component Roundup

» Special Guest Commentary:
Building Better Power Supplies For 5G Base Stations

» New Power Products

» Industry Events

» Other Top Power News

From the Editor's Desk

David G. Morrison
Editor, HOW2POWER TODAY       

With discrete power semiconductor developments dominating the industry news lately, and extra attention given to EVs and ac-dc power supply applications, we seem to be reading less about board-level dc-dc converters and voltage regulators. Nevertheless, demand for these power converters is always growing and application requirements are ever evolving. So, the development of the related power ICs, which encompass everything from power supply controllers to monolithic switching and LDO regulators and multi-regulator PMICs, continues as power IC developers seek to address an ever-growing spectrum of application needs. This issue of the newsletter brings voltage regulator requirements and developments into focus with three design articles. The first feature by David Baretich of ProGrAnalog explores the versatility of load slammers in testing high-performance, high-current voltage regulators and describes how designers can configure the company’s specific test device and software to perform transient, pulse train and impedance tests, and then analyze the results. A second feature by Tim Hegarty, continues the series on automotive-grade dc-dc regulators and their immunity requirements, by presenting a voltage regulator design for applications operating from the 12-V battery bus. This design employs an ideal diode controller to provide reverse-battery protection and withstand negative voltage transients. Finally, an article on advanced voltage regulator ICs by Trey Roessig discusses how his company has leveraged very high frequency switching to produce very small and fast voltage regulators that can help to better manage processor power. These articles illustrate the complexities of voltage regulator applications, in terms of design and test requirements, and the fact that silicon still has plenty of life left in the low-voltage power designs. This issue of How2Power Today also presents a roundup of magnetic component news, a commentary on what’s needed to build better power supplies for 5G base stations, a report on EnerHarv, the latest power component news and more.


Slammers And Software Verify Performance Of Advanced Voltage Regulators

by David Baretich, ProGrAnalog, Portland, Oreg.

Voltage regulators must meet increasingly stringent supply requirements. Peak load currents of several hundred amperes are common, and transient load steps can be a high percentage of full load current. Test equipment designed to exercise and verify these regulators has previously existed only in the realm of custom testers for vendor-specific ICs. This article looks at the utilization of load slammers, a class of off-the-shelf voltage regulator test devices from ProGrAnalog—and sometimes constructed by engineers for in-house use—as a test utility for high-performance transient load testing. Mainly the focus here will be on how to configure the LoadSlammer’s GUI to perform a variety of transient, pulse train and impedance tests. Example test results are presented and analyzed with attention given to the various features of the GUI that aid our analysis. Read the article…

Load slammers provide large-signal test
capabilities for qualifying high-performance
board-level power converters.

The example dc-dc converter design
includes a reverse-battery protection
controller that enables the system to
meet the transient immunity
requirements described in part 1.

A Guide To Power Electronics Design For Off-Battery Automotive (Part 2): DC-DC Conversion From 12 V

by Timothy Hegarty, Texas Instruments, Phoenix, Ariz.

In this second installment, the author presents a voltage regulator design that demonstrates how the immunity requirements explained in part 1 can be met in practice and verified. He walks through several steps within the context of a power circuit development flow for an automotive application. The steps include creating a list of circuit specifications to meet the application requirements; compiling a schematic and bill of materials; using a calculation or simulation tool to optimize and fine-tune the design; selecting components to achieve low power loss; optimizing board layout to meet electromagnetic interference (EMI) and thermal management constraints; and finally, conducting functional validation and performance testing of the final design. By way of example, the author delves into an implementation that powers an electronic control module (ECU) with a maximum load current requirement of 15 A. Read the article…

Advanced PMICs Can Flatten The Processor Power Curve For Data Centers

by Trey Roessig, Empower Semiconductor, San Jose, Calif.

With data center operators under pressure to keep energy consumption and costs to a minimum, they are looking for the most efficient ways to address increased power demands and to break the linear relationship between increased processor power and increased rack power. This article looks at the factors driving increased rack powers and the importance of voltage regulator transient response and dynamic voltage scaling (DVS) in maximizing server energy efficiency. It then introduces a PMIC technology that can significantly reduce the overall power consumption needed to drive next-generation processors. This technology, which is implemented in Empower Semiconductor’s IVR family of devices, reduces the usual tradeoff of efficiency for higher switching frequency, enabling development of highly compact and very fast voltage regulators. Read the article…

The fast control loop of Empower’s
IVR point-of-load regulators enables
them to implement dynamic voltage

Sponsored by Payton Planar Magnetics
A monthly column presenting information on power magnetics design, products, or related technology

Power Magnetics Component Roundup

by David G. Morrison, Editor,

This article highlights the latest introductions of power magnetic components, presenting news about power inductors, chokes, transformers, current sensors and wireless power coils introduced over the past six months. Magnetics vendors continue to introduce power inductors for use in board-level dc-dc conversion in a range of applications with automotive systems driving many of the new product developments. Fewer in number and tending to be application specific, the recently announced transformers typically feature high isolation. One flyback transformer is notable for being designed specifically for driving SiC power switches. Other new components include high-current current sensors and transformers, and wireless power coils with an integrated NFC antenna. Read the full article…


Building Better Power Supplies For 5G Base Stations

by Alessandro Pevere, and Francesco Di Domenico, Infineon Technologies, Villach, Austria

Demand for mobile data is growing 40% year over year, according to Ofcom, the UK’s telecoms regulator. Ofcom says that servicing this demand will involve releasing more spectrum, especially in millimeter wavebands, making efficient use of all the available mobile spectrum, and building additional cell sites. This last item will be particularly important when millimeter-wave spectrum becomes available, since it can deliver a lot of bandwidth, but only over relatively short distances compared to base stations operating at less than 6 GHz. In this commentary, the authors discuss the impact of 5G base station requirements on power supply requirements and how Infineon is responding to these needs. Read the full story…

Vicor Header

Vicor celebrates opening of world’s first “ChiP” fab in Massachusetts

State and local officials celebrated the opening of a new, state of the art Vicor power module manufacturing facility. The world’s first ChiP™ (Converter housed in Package) fabrication facility, or “ChiP fab” enables scalable, automated, cost-effective manufacturing of power modules in the United States.

Find out more.

More from Vicor:

eBook: Accelerate vehicle electrification with Vicor power modules

Delivering higher power density and low noise for space applications



Nordic Semiconductor’s nPM1100
power management IC.

PMIC Complements Bluetooth Low Energy Chips

 Diagram: The power management IC combines a USB-compatible input regulator, a 400-mA battery charger and a 150-mA stepdown regulator along with overvoltage and overtemperature protection. The PMIC will help the company’s customers to not only wirelessly connect their devices to the Cloud but also power and charge those same devices. The chipscale-packaged PMIC is designed to meet the space constraints of tiny IoT devices.

See the full story…

Infineon Technologies
Bipolar’s Press Pack IGBT.

Press Pack IGBT For Transmission And Distribution Applications

 Diagram: The Press Pack IGBT features a blocking voltage of 4.5 kV at 3000 A without FWD and 2000 A with FWD. Fitting to the 3000-A device, Infineon offers external freewheeling diodes in different silicon diameters. According to the vendor, leading high-voltage IGBT chip trench technology combined with highly reliable press-pack technology, provides a high-performance solution for ultra-high power applications.

See the full story…

EPC’s EPC9173 GaN-based
inverter reference design.

GaN-Based Inverter Reference Design Shrinks Motor Drives For eBikes And Drones

 Photo: The design contains all the necessary critical function circuits to support a complete motor drive inverter including gate drivers, regulated auxiliary power rails for housekeeping supplies, voltage, and temperature sense, accurate current sense, and protection functions. The lower weight and size of the solution enables incorporation of the drive into the motor housing.

See the full story…

More Power Products. . .

Inverter Proof-Of-Concept Improves Efficiency Of 80-kW Electric Motor

65-W ACF Reference Design Achieves 30-W/in3 Power Density

Switcher ICs Extend Adapter Designs To 220 W With Small Size

Trench Schottky Rectifiers Come In Space-Saving Package

Architecture Simplifies Development Of Multi Port Chargers

LDO Features Low Noise, Dropout And Quiescent Current

Shunt Resistors Offer A 5-W Rating In 2818 Case Size

TVSs Offer High Surge Capability, Low Leakage Current In SMC Package


EnerHarv 2022 Explores Challenges And Opportunities In Powering The IoT

by Brian Zahnstecher and Mike Hayes, PSMA Energy Harvesting Committee Co-chairs and EnerHarv Co-founders

After a two-year, COVID-related deferral EnerHarv 2022 finally went ahead at the ASSIST Center at North Carolina State University from April 5-7, organized by the PSMA with EnABLES, ASSIST, IEEE PELS and CPSS as its technical sponsors. This is becoming the “must attend” biennial event for the “power IoT” community including researchers, industry, developers, integrators and end users. Each day we had a mix of technical sessions, demos, posters, panel sessions and of course lots of networking. Despite the COVID uncertainties and deciding on relatively short notice to proceed, we had a good attendance of around 55 people.

Read the full story…

Registration Is Now Open For ECCE 2022

The IEEE Energy Conversion Congress & Expo is the world’s leading technical conference and exposition for energy conversion solutions. ECCE is unique in its emphasis on integrated systems, presenting the best in current energy conversion research, as well as innovations from more traditional component topics. Co-sponsored by the IEEE Power Electronics Society (PELS) and the IEEE Industrial Application Society (IAS), this year’s ECCE will be held October 9-13 in Detroit, Michigan. For more information or to register, click here.


Hillcrest Energy Technologies has filed a patent application for a simplified EV charging solution.

Infineon announces that Zhuhai ENPOWER Electric, a supplier of inverters for the automotive industry, is the first to integrate Infineon’s latest 750-V automotive-grade IGBTs.

Innoscience issued two papers at ISPSD, presenting performance and reliability data for 15-V and 650-V GaN power devices.

Nexperia has announced a partnership with KYOCERA AVX Components (Salzburg) covering GaN automotive power modules.

Renesas has announced its plans to restart operation of its Kofu factory as a 300-mm wafer fab dedicated to power semiconductors.

Sensitron and EPC have collaborated to introduce a 350-V GaN half-bridge intelligent power module that is 60% smaller than comparable Si solutions and lower cost.

Teledyne LeCroy’s webinars for June include “High Voltage Probe Real-world Examples and Comparisons” and “Three Design Tricks to Reduce Switching Noise in Printed Circuit Boards”.

The International Workshop on Integrated Power Packaging (IWIPP) has announced its six keynote speakers for the upcoming workshop in Grenoble, France.

The IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) has announced its 2022 Call for Papers, which includes an increased technical focus on Power Devices & Systems.

STMicroelectronics revealed it is supplying SiC technology for the eMPack electric-vehicle (EV) power modules from Semikron.