Microchip and EPC Launch Demonstration Boards For 250W, 48V DC-DC ConversionNovember 19, 2020 by Antonio Anzaldua Jr.
The partnership between Microchip and Efficient Power Conversion (EPC) has yielded two 250W, 48V DC-DC solutions for ultra-thin laptops, displays, and high-end gaming systems.
EPC and Microchip have worked quite well in the past, after collaborating on a 300W, 1/16th Brick DC-DC converter for data centers, they follow that device with two new 250W, highly efficient solutions for high-resolution consumer electronics.
EPC’s solution involves thermal management to sustain operating temperatures in harsh environments. Image used courtesy of EPC.
EPC’s Development Boards
EPC has revolved around creating solutions with Gallium Nitride (GaN) power management technology to establish efficient power systems. EPC introduced the EPC9148 and EPC9153 development boards that feature digital controllers from Microchip to meet the demand for smaller, complex electronics.
The EPC9148 is a 4mm package, multilevel converter aimed to reduce the size of modules supporting magnetic components in extremely thin power inductors. This buck converter is equipped with gate drivers, onboard housekeeping power supply, current-voltage sensors, output filter, and a digital signal controller.
The development board, EPC9148 is rated at 48V with a 12.5A output for high-end computing applications. Image used courtesy of EPC.
The EPC9153 is a 6.5mm package, synchronous buck configuration capable of withstanding 40 degrees Celsius temperature rise past normal operating temperatures. This design provides designers with easily programmable capabilities, a soft-starter, a digital signal controller, gate drivers, and two onboard switch-mode power supply circuits for redundancy.
The development board, EPC9153 is a rated 250W device that has a 20V output with a 5V gate driver that accepts low-power input to drive high-current. Image used courtesy of EPC.
Both solutions integrate Microchip’s patented dsPIC33CK digital signal controller (DSC) along with EPC's enhancement-mode 100V eGaN field-effect transistors (FETs). Offering 98% efficiency, a small footprint, and design flexibility with adjustable input voltage from 44V to 60V.
EPC’s Vice President of Applications Engineering, Michael de Rooij shared EPC’s goals that will be set from the partnership with Microchip, “we are thrilled to work with partners such as Microchip Technology and Würth Elektronik to develop ultra-thin and highly efficient solutions to address the challenge of getting more power out of limited space and volume.” This makes EPC’s devices geared towards high-performance computing with hopes of meeting the demand curve for sleek, ultra-thin electronics.
Since the late 1990s, Microchip has established an array of enhancement-mode GaN power management devices and launched eGaN FETs as a new line of power MOSFETs.
Microchip’s dsPIC33CK DSC is a 16-bit core, high-speed PWM module with a CPU speed of 100 million instructions per second (MIPS) that is well suited for automotive, consumer, and industrial applications. This solution provides developers with context-select registers to reduce interrupt latency and tightly coupled CPU and peripherals that make it ideal for time-critical, complex loop designs.
Microchip’s dsPIC33CK DSC can be easily integrated with other devices with the featured software in high-precision motor control, power conversion, and industrial automation systems. Image used courtesy of Microchip.
EPC and Microchip’s Focused Applications
EPC and Microchip’s combined efforts have led to a self-sufficient device with built-in safety measures such as thermal and over-current protection. The integrated DSCs from Microchip allow for switched-mode power supplies such as AC/DC, DC/DC, UPS based applications.
The development boards are able to operate in extreme applications that have up to 150 degrees Celsius environment, an attractive solution for high-powered automotive and industrial systems. The boards are capable of high-precision digital control of buck, boost, flyback, half-bridge, full-bridge, and other power circuits to reach the highest possible energy effopuiciency.