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High-frequency automotive power supplies

Posted: 03 Aug 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:automotive power supply? high switching frequency? high voltage operation?

The combination of high switching frequency and high-voltage capability is difficult to achieve in IC design. You can, however, design an automotive power supply that operates with high frequency if you protect it from temporary high-voltage conditions. High-frequency operation is becoming important as more and more electronic functions are integrated into the modern automobile. This article discusses several ways to protect low-voltage electronic circuits from the harsh effects of the automotive electrical environment. Also included are the results of laboratory tests for noise immunity.

The increasing density of electronics in automobiles presents unique challenges and opportunities to the power-system designer. Most automotive modules require low voltages such as 5V or 3.3V, but the use of linear voltage regulators to step down the battery voltage dissipates considerable power. Excessive power dissipation makes thermal management difficult and expensive. As a result, the increasing power requirements of faster processors and ASICs have steered the preferred method of power conversion from simple, low-cost, but inefficient linear regulation to the more complex but efficient switching converter.

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