If you can figure out how to shrink the functionality of a kilowatt-scale power inverter into a device the size of a laptop -- i.e., design a device that is about 10 times smaller than current available inverter technology -- then Google will give you $1 million. The Internet company, along with the IEEE (which came up with the technical requirements), recently issued the "Little Box Challenge" open competition in hopes of spurring the creation of a smaller power inverter that could be used at home (see image below).
The $1 million Little Box Challenge issued by Google and the IEEE aims at spurring the creation of a compact kilowatt-scale power inverter.
The technical challenge is formidable: design a kilowatt-scale inverter with a power density of at least 50 W/in.3, or about 3 W/cm.3. The inverter will need to have an efficiency of greater than 95%, be able to handle loads of 2 kVA, and withstand 100 hours of testing -- all in a metal enclosure that is no larger than 40 in.3. For details, see the Little Box Challenge full list of requirements. Any takers?
In product news this past week, ON Semiconductor announced three new current-mode fixed-frequency switching regulators for offline SMPS. The NCP1129, NCP1126, and NCP1124 feature integrated 650-V avalanche-rated MOSFETs, frequency foldback, and skip mode.
Texas Instruments has expanded its Thunderbolt products with the first fully integrated power solution for bus-powered Thunderbolt applications. The TPS65980 DC/DC switching regulator supplies up to 3.5 A, allowing bus-powered endpoint devices of up to 10 W at over 90% efficiency.
Linear Technology introduced the LTM8046 2.5-W output DC/DC µModule converter with 2 kVAC galvanic isolation in a 9 x 15 x 4.92-mm BGA package. The company also announced the 60-V LTC3769 synchronous boost controller featuring an IQ of 28µA and up to 98% efficiency.
ZMDI has announced two automotive-qualified battery monitor chips. The ZSSC1750 and ZSSC1751 include two 24-bit ADCs for simultaneous measurement of battery voltage and current as well as internal and external temperatures.
Power Integrations has launched a family of monolithic switching ICs for low-power charger designs for mobile devices. The LinkSwitch-3 devices offer primary-side regulation for chargers and adapters up to 10 W and meet 2016 DoE efficiency regulations and EU CoC Tier 2 guidelines.
Exar introduced the 40V-capable XR75100 step-down switching controller for PoL supplies up to 20 A. The company also added an Arduino controller option to its PowerArchitect programmable power design tool.
Toshiba has announced a motor pre-driver IC for automotive applications, especially electric power steering systems, where safety is paramount. The TB9052FNG is suitable for use in systems adhering to ASIL-D, the highest automotive safety integrity level prescribed in functional safety standard ISO 26262.
New AC/DC power supplies from Powerstax expand the company's N series of open-frame products. The 1U-format NM0501 and NM1001 have output capabilities of 504 and 1008 W respectively, and support 90 to 264-VAC inputs.
Finally, AVX recently introduced a DC-link film capacitor series with snap-in terminals. Housed in size A cylindrical cases, the FRC series medium-power film capacitors are available in nine voltages spanning 400 to 1500 V, two tolerances (±5% and ±10%), two lead lengths (4 mm and 8 mm), and capacitance values spanning 4.7 to 35 µF.