Advancing in depth and breadth, power management technology made its mark on the system-on-a-chip (SOC) this year, particularly those devices designed for consumer/wireless products. With analog IC expertise the common ground for merging signal and DC/DC power blocks, chip makers keyed heavily on their skills in ultraintegration to gain a competitive edge in expanding and, some say, redefining the power-management landscape.
Vendors also launched an attack on power-with-power-management and basic supervisory ICs that's expected to serve as a springboard to even more highly functional chips in the new year. Thus, steadily advancing SOCs carrying audio, LED display drivers, and communications functions included ever complex power-with-power-management facility. Expanding power-with-power management devices (DC/DC blocks with monitoring, margining, and sequencing functionality) arrived with varying degrees of "digital" programmability via the I2C bus. Traditional supervisory ICs boosted their linking ability to keep watch over multiple point-of-load (POL) systems. Many of the new arrivals stepped closer to true power management in being more proactive to head off potentially troubling system power and thermal issues.
SOCs with audio and display driver functions (chips traditionally associated with companies such as National Semiconductor and STMicroelectronics) maintained a steady march to include more power and power management, with each new IC seemingly outdoing the last. The most notable participants include austriamicrosystems (Raleigh, NC), which started the parade this year with their AS3603 (photo above).
Suited to mobile applications, the chip has a 1-watt audio amp, white-LED driver, 500-mA step-down DC/DC converter, 10 power LDOs that are programmable in 0.05-volt steps, choice of eight power-up sequences, and battery charger (ID#17601299). The device comes in 6-by-6 and 7-by-7 mm QFN-48 packages.
Dialog Semiconductor (Kircheim, Germany) introduced its DA9011 audio controller-with-power management IC for GSM/GPRS phone handsets. An update to its DA9010 for Intel's PXA800F cellular processor, it added a 4-channel audio-input multiplexer to go along with its 24-bit a/d converter for stereo and 16-ohm driver for headphones. It also includes drivers for LED and vibrator circuitry. The supply line-up includes a DC/DC buck regulator for the baseband core, 12 LDOs to power the chip's audio, digital, and RF sections, and programmable battery charger, all in an 8-by-8 BGA package.
The latest arrivals include three new system-with-power-management ICs for consumer wireless from Freescale Semiconductor (ID#17300212). Customized for the particular application, these chips provide OEM designers with perhaps the most highly integrated family solution yet seen. The MC13790, for low-tiered, cost-effective wireless applications such as 2G/2.5G handsets, integrates an RX/TX audio system, seven low dropout (LDO) regulators with sequencing circuitry for power management functions, and a lithium-ion/NiMH battery charger.
The MC13883, a modular drop-in solution for GSM handsets, PDAs, audio players, digital cameras and DVDs, contains a USB 2.0 On-the-Go transceiver, carkit interface (CEA-936), and lithium-ion charger. The third IC, the MC13890, is billed as a state-of-the art audio-with-power management chip (includes a full audio system including 13-bit codec and 16-bit stereo D/A converter) that's suited to mid- to high-tier products such as GSM/GPRS/EDGE and CDMA mobile handsets, PDAs, digital still cameras, and toys. Its power complement includes a buck converter, boost converter, 14 LDOs, and power-up sequencing circuitry.
Power-with-power-management chips also made considerable progress in addressing the total multiple-supply solution. The newest entry, from Summit Microelectronics (San Jose, Calif.), with its SMB120, claims the first nine-channel DC/DC converter/controller IC for portable applications that's digitally programmable. It incorporates four PWM-based DC/DC buck controllers, three boost and inverting buck/boost controllers, as well as an LDO, margining circuitry programmable to ±0.5 percent accuracy, and sequencing circuitry.
Maxim Integrated Products (Sunnyvale, Calif. ) introduced its MAX1586/MAX1587, a seven-output chip for powering Intel's X-Scale microprocessors. It integrates three step-down regulators, two linear regulators, and an always-on output for VCC, along with supervisory and power management functions. Similarly, Epson (Long Beach, Calif.) released its S1F81150 supply IC with six outputs (3 PWM controller sources for 500 mA and 1 amp operation, 3 LDOs at 5-30 mA) for Intel's PXA27x processors. There were a slew of triple- and quad-output-with-sequencing devices for subsystems and TFT LCD displays, the most notable from Texas Instruments (Dallas) with their triple-output TPS75003 for Xilinx FPGAs, and the TPS65120 quad- output device, respectively.
New ICs dedicated to managerial duties also pursued the multiple-supply issue. The most notable devices included Analog Devices' (Norwood, Mass.) ADM1062-1067 Super Sequencer ICs for simultaneous monitoring and sequencing of up to ten supplies. Other entries included Linear Technology's (Milpitas, Calif.) LTC2908, for monitoring up to six supplies. Maxim's MAX6870/MAX6871 are EEPROM-programmable, hex/quad power-supply supervisor ICs that combine voltage monitoring, margining control, and sequencing control. The MAX6870 features six voltage-detector inputs and eight programmable outputs; the MAX6871 has four voltage-detector inputs and five programmable outputs. Summit Microtechnology's SMS45 and SMS47 monitors up to four supplies and sequences up to three, and their SMH4046 (I2C interface) and SMH4047 (Microwire interface) watches over three positive-voltage sources and three downstream on-card DC/DC converters. The company also released the SMM766 six-channel and SMM764 four-channel supervisor ICs that can link up to 30 POL converters. Most recently, Potentia (Ontario, Canada) announced its PS-2406 controller, which provides power management (monitoring, trimming, sequencing) of up to four secondary-side DC/DC converters and is billed as the first of its kind to offer a serial data link to the company's range of primary-side power management ICs, which include the new PS-1005 and PS-1006 monitors (ID#55300316).
Building the infrastructure
Aside from portables, in a development taking a building-block approach to power management, ON Semiconductor released ten power management devices designed as a comprehensive cost-effective solution for meeting the emerging AdvancedTCA spec for telecom equipment. The collection includes a hot plug IC for inserting and removing devices in a -48V backplane, three PWM buck controllers, charge pump, hot-plug IC, and several FET switches and MOSFETs (ID#23901986).
Two new development tools also arrived to advance power-with-power-management for telecom designs and intermediate-bus architectures (IBAs). Potentia's PowerCenter is a hardware-with-software product for setting up topology and monitoring, sequencing, margining, and fault handling for multi-rail IBAs working from a -48 volt input. The main hardware includes its PS-1648 (48-volt input) controller IC, for monitoring up to six DC/DC converters or (nonisolated) voltage regulator modules; the PS-2610 (powered from a 3.3-volt source), for up to six non-isolated DC/DC converters; and an emulation board (memory included). Another system, Power One's (Camarillo, Calif.) Z-Series, built around the company's so-called Z-One Digital IBA architecture, was touted as the first truly integrated power-management-with-power conversion development tool for board-level applications. Users configure up to 32 POL converters (the company's ZY7120) via a digital power manager (ZM7100), Z-One digital bus, and ZIOS operating system.
Maxim Integrated Products,