Power Electronics

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Enpirion Receives Power Electronics Technology Product of the Year Award

On January 17, Power Electronics Technology formally presented its 2004 Product of the Year award to fabless semiconductor company Enpirion for its EN5330 dc-dc converter with integrated magnetics. The ceremony was held at Enpirion's new facility in Bridgewater, N.J., where CEO Mark Downing accepted the award on behalf of the company. Editor David Morrison and Associate Publisher Judy Miller were on hand to make the presentation in front of the Enpirion staff.

The selection of EN5330 as the award winner was initially announced last fall. (See “POL Breaks New Ground With Integrated Magnetics,” Power Electronics Technology, October 2004, page 106.) With this presentation, Enpirion's first product became the first recipient of the magazine's Product of the Year award.

“On behalf of the entire Enpirion team, I am thrilled to accept this award from the premier publication in the power electronics industry,” said Downing. “It is a great independent acknowledgment of the significant breakthrough the company has achieved in the integration of a power supply in silicon, which sets a new standard for power density in the industry.”

The EN5330, which went into full production last month, is being followed by a second member of the company's point-of-load product line, the EN5360. The new device doubles the current capability of the original dc-dc converter to 6 A, yet requires only a 21% increase in the required board space. The EN5360 is offered in a 48-pin DFN package (pin compatible with the standard 36-pin TSSOP) that covers just under 138-mm2 board space. Including the minimum of four external components, the entire dc-dc converter can be placed in as little as 163 mm2 of single-sided board space. Package height is 2.2 mm.

Operating from a 2.375-V to 5.5-V input, the voltage-mode synchronous buck converter produces a stepped-down output at voltages as low as 0.8 V. Output voltage is VID-pin selectable with options for seven standard voltages (0.8 V to 3.3 V). In addition, a resistor-divider setting enables a continuous setpoint range from 0.8 V to VIN. The EN5360 achieves peak efficiencies greater than 92%. In quantities of 1000, unit pricing for the EN5360 is $7.45. For more information, see www.enpirion.com.

Microcontroller Enables Digital Control in Power Supplies

A Flash-based microcontroller introduced by Microchip Technology provides a novel integration of peripherals to facilitate the development of digital control in power supplies. The PIC16F785 microcontroller integrates a 2-phase PWM module, analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), high-speed comparators, a voltage reference and two op amps.

One unique function of this device is the capture and compare PWM, which provides an easy way to measure pulse widths. This feature also can be used to create a D-A output.

Although some of the other peripherals can be found on general-purpose microcontrollers, their performance in the PIC16F785 has been tailored to meet power supply design requirements. For example, the voltage comparators feature a 40-ns input-to-output delay rather than the 200 ns to 1 µs that is more typical on other microcontrollers. When running from the chip's internal 8-MHz oscillator, switching speeds of up to 4-MHz can be attained.

In addition, the microcontroller features standard op amps with all I/Os available to designers, allowing creation of filters and error amplifiers. Although many micro-controllers offer programmable gain amplifiers for signal conditioning, op amps are less common. The op amps on the PIC16F785 specify a 3-MHz gain-bandwidth product and 5-mV input offset voltage.

Although, ADCs are common, the inclusion of 12 channels of 10-bit A-D conversion enables the microcontroller to monitor voltage and current on multiple supplies. Furthermore, the chip includes a 1.2-V bandgap reference, which is accessible for external use. Other features include 3584 bytes of Flash program memory, 256 bytes of EEPROM and 128 bytes of RAM.

The PIC16F785 is priced starting at $1.75 in 10k quantities. For more information, see www.microchip.com/pic16f785.

Chips Lock Out Battery Knockoffs

Concerns over the substandard or unsafe performance of counterfeit battery packs has sparked development of several ICs designed to verify a battery pack's identity. Intended for use in Liion and NiMH packs, these battery authentication ICs store encryption keys that enable them to generate a unique response when interrogated by the host system (such as a cell phone or a PDA).

The battery authentication ICs employ various encryption schemes including the Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA-1) specified in the Federal Information Publication 180-1/2 and ISO/IEC 10118-3. Among the recently introduced battery authentication chips are Intersil's ISL6296, a single-chip solution based on the company's Flexihash technology and Dallas Semiconductor's DS2703, which implements a challenge/response scheme based on SHA-1.

Another new chip is Texas Instruments' bq26150. This device obtains important security data using a cycle redundancy check architecture. Later in the first half of this year, Texas Instruments plans to introduce another battery security IC based on an SHA-1/HMAC encryption architecture. Last fall, Microchip Technology announced that its KEELOQ cryptographic algorithm — previously used in automotive designs — could perform battery authentication in portable applications. The KEELOQ algorithm can be integrated into any of the company's microcontrollers and many of its fuel gauge ICs.

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