As electronic products shrink, power supply design is getting tougher. Today's smaller products use power supplies that are more complex and more efficient.
“Portable systems are moving to lower power in order to extend battery life,” says Mal Humphrey, product line director for high-voltage power at National Semiconductor. “And as each technology has gone to lower voltages, the design margins that the power supply needs have gotten tighter.”
As a result of these ongoing changes, voltage regulators have become more important than ever. Component vendors are meeting the changing needs of the market by rolling out a new breed of regulators that help designers meet those razor-thin power margins.
Below, we've collected some of the latest entries in the regulator market from Analog Devices, Intersil and National Semiconductor. All are designed to be more power efficient, and to help designers bring their products to market faster than ever.
Intersil's Dual Synchronous Buck Regulator
Intersil's ISL65426 high-efficiency dual-output synchronous buck regulator integrates protection for two channels in a thin QFN package, making it a candidate for small form-factor applications. It switches at a frequency of 1 MHz and uses current-mode control with integrated compensation to minimize the size and number of external components. Internal synchronous power switches are optimized for good thermal performance and high efficiency.
National Offers 'Dial-In' Design
National Semiconductor's Simple Switcher product family has added six new regulators that offer “dial-in” performance in a Web-based design environment. Created to help engineers bring products to market faster, the buck switching regulator family offers an online capability that works in tandem with a dial-in device to aid designers in making efficiency-versus-footprint trade-offs. “The capabilities of the parts, working with our Web-based design tool, allows the designer to do in 30 seconds what used to take 10 hours,” Humphrey says. “It puts new abilities in the hands of every design engineer, not just those who are extremely adept at designing power supplies.” The new regulators operate with an input voltage range up to 75V and deliver up to 3A of continuous output current.
ADI's Buck Controller Reduces Bill of Material Costs
Analog Devices' ADP1823 dual buck controller reduces the need for large capacitors and inductors typically required by buck controllers, thereby lowering bill-of-material costs by as much as 15 percent. It offers two independent channels that operate 180 degrees out of phase to reduce stress on the input capacitor. The device operates at a pin-selectable frequency of either 300 kHz or 600 kHz, or it can be synchronized to an external 300-kHz to 1-MHz clock. It also provides designers the flexibility of generating two independent output voltages from an input of 3 to 20V.