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Digital power supply technology steadily gains ground

Posted: 19 Mar 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:digital power technology? power supply? ZL2005? Zilker Labs? austriamicrosystems?

One of the most important product in the history of the Annual International IC-China Conference & Exhibition (IIC-China), power supplies continue to be the highlight of this year's event, where almost all the leading suppliers of power semiconductors participated.

However, what stood out at this year's event is the introduction of digital power technology. This year, we saw some leading manufacturers of digital power supply, including Primarion, iWatt, Zilker Labs and austriamicrosystems, demonstrating their digital power supply technologies and solutions, as well as introducing advantages brought by digital power technology.

Primarion showcased its Di-POL (digital integrated Point of Load) power control chip, kernel power digital controller chip, image processing power digital controller chip and independent MOSFET driver. The company's PX751x, PX752x and PX754x series integrate power conversion and power management functions onto a single chip, offer significant design flexibility to help engineers set key power parameters, and provide PMBus standard interface.

Meanwhile, iWatt showcased its AC/DC power adapters that are convenient to design, adjust and produce. Targeted at notebook computers, panel displays and portable electronic equipments, these adapters promise to be a high density, low cost AC/DC power solution.

In the Beijing leg of IIC-China, Zilker Labs showed several types of digital power modules (including a 10A POL power module and a 20A 5POL power module) based on its ZL2005 digital power chip and power management solutions.

austriamicrosystems also exhibited several intelligent power management products designed for mobile phones, portable navigation devices, portable multimedia players and auto electronic power supply system. The company's AS3654 integrates three DC/DC buck converters, five LDOs, two DC/DC boost converters, a 5V charge pump, a 400mA USB charger and a coulometer.

In the Shenzhen exhibition, Primarion also provided keynote lectures on the digitization trend of power supply. Liu Yiyuan, application engineer for Primarion, outlined the design advantages that digital power solutions could bring to engineers, such as realization of power supply's programming configuration, possibility of changing output characteristics at real time through software, and implementation of functions without dividing components and power supply's individual design.

Although digital power has significant advantages over analog power, its existing applications are largely limited in the non-cost-sensitive fields and products. And even though many semiconductor startups focused on digital power technology during the recent IIC-China, it was seldom exhibited by leading traditional power semiconductor vendors.

So will digital power reign in the future? Only time will tell as concerned engineers and semiconductor manufacturers watch on the edge of their seats.

- Laker Pu
EE Times-China

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