L&L Engineering Challenges Digital Power Perceptions

January 08, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

A new class of digital point-of-load (POL) controller IC solutions that optimizes energy efficiency, reduces the total footprint, lowers overall component count and reduces IC and system cost has been introduced by L&L Engineering LLC.

"We provide more than digitally controlled analog or the equivalent digital PID," stated Paul Latham, founder and GM of L&L Engineering. "Our solutions are fundamentally faster, lower cost and more efficient."

L&L’s portfolio ranges from a simple PID-based dc-dc converter to multi-phase, high band width, high efficiency, all digital POLs. The company claims that its unique approach provides the fastest transient response, optimal efficiency gate drive and is the only solution that offers a fully digital solution that costs less than the analog equivalent.

Simple applications may be addressed with L&L’s digital PID controller which is smaller, lower cost and easier to test than equivalent analog solutions. For ultra high performance, the company went beyond the normal digital power supply methodology of a digital PID with a new adaptive time optimal control engine that has addressed the issues of external component reduction, manufacturability, efficiency, and unusually fast transient performance.

Simple digital fully programmable PID buck converter is already in production as part of an ASIC. The company has completed FPGA verification of our multi-phase adaptive time optimal controller. A single-phase controller can be implemented with 82k gates; an additional 15k gates are needed for each additional phase. L&L provides system expertise, synthesizable digital IP and the required analog support circuit IP to enable semiconductor, power supply, and ASIC manufactures to quickly adopt this into their products, according to Latham. L&L has 12 patents either pending or granted.

Modularity enables customization to a specific application. All the algorithms are fully supported with Matlab for easy customization, as well as Verilog test benches. Digital controllers based on L&L’s technology are scalable, reducing design complexity and speeding time to market. The controllers are configurable using a digital control interface to assist in data collection, algorithm optimization, monitoring and reporting.

"The debate has moved from analog versus digital to low cost and high efficiency," Latham observed. "Our solution offers superior cost and efficiency, and our licensing models are flexible to meet customer needs."

L&L Engineering was founded in Lee, New Hampshire, in 2006 after several years of research in the application of digital systems to power management. The company’s business strategy is to work with marketing and manufacturing partners to maximize market penetration.