by Steven Keeping:
Traditionally, switching DC/DC converters (voltage regulators) were controlled using analog techniques because these were simple to implement and helped to maximize the power supply’s efficiency. Digital components were too slow and power greedy to challenge analog dominance.
However, over the past several years the introduction of high-speed, low power consumption and inexpensive silicon has rekindled interest in “digital power management.”
Armed with these new chips, designers are keen to take advantage of features such as the ease with which digital control enables optimization of the power supply by adaptation of a closed-loop response – even allowing adjustment “on the fly” to suit changes in the operating environment or to compensate for factors such as capacitive loading and component aging.
This article considers the benefits that digital power brings to voltage regulators by comparing an analog power supply with its digital equivalent. The article then continues by describing some of the latest digital regulators released by major vendors that take advantage of the control techniques discussed.
The Rise of Digital Control for DC/DC Regulation - [Link]
Steve Taranovich writes:
Touchstone, with its first analog power management product, has enhanced such a function with the capability to use supply voltages down to 0.6V while still being able to deliver a 75 mA output current.
The device can be used in power harvesting or peak load buffering applications, the LDO may post-regulate voltage buffered in a large capacitor or super-capacitor at boost’s output. Finally, the LDO may be operated simply as an on/off load switch.
TS3300 switching regulator coupled with an LDO in same package - [Link]
1A DC/DC switch-mode regulators TRACO TSR-1 already found their stable place on the market and they successfully replace inefficient linear regulators.
Switch-mode power supplies are still more used in all segments of power supply, to which also belongs a regulation on the side of the load (Point Of Load – POL). Perhaps every designer is familiar with classic linear stabilizers of the 78xx or 79xx series. It can be said, that linear stabilizers are still suitable for applications, where there´s not a too high power loss arising on them. But when we need to gain for example a 5V/0,5A from 12V, a power loss of approx. 7V x 0,5A=3,5W is arising on the regulator. That is already a quite considerable power, which requires a sufficiently sized heatsink and a place on a PCB. At nowadays power consumption decreasing trend, it is better preferable to eliminate useless losses, what also enables to produce a device, which is less heating, thus also being usually more reliable.
TSR-1 from company TRACOPOWER represents a pin-compatible replacement for 78xx linear regulators and it also contains input and output filtering capacitors. TSR-1 reaches up to 96% efficiency (80-90% in average) thus not requiring a heatsink. Depending on local conditions in your device, it is only necessary to observe power derating of 2%/°C at temperatures of the regulator above 60°C (if such conditions can occur in your device). TSR-1 also provides further benefits like for example excellent line and load regulation, resistance to a continuous shortcut and an industrial range of operating temperatures.
Available are 10 versions with output voltages from 1,2 to 15VDC. Detailed information will provide you the TSR-1 datasheet. In case, you need to obtain a negative voltage, then the TSRN-1 series is suitable for you.
In case of interest, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Try the effective replacement for standard 78xx regulators - [Link]
Glenn Morita writes:
The difference between insignificant noise and significant noise is the degree to which the noise affects the operation of the circuit in question.
For example, a switching power supply has a significant amount of output voltage ripple at 3 MHz. If the circuit it is powering has a bandwidth of only a few hertz, such as a temperature sensor, this ripple may be of no consequence. On the other hand, if the same switching power supply powers an RF phase-locked loop (PLL), the result could be quite different.
Understanding the sources of noise, their spectral characteristics, noise reduction strategies, and the sensitivity of the circuits in question to this noise is crucial to successfully designing a robust system.
This application note also attempts to clarify the difference between power supply rejection ratio (PSRR) and internally generated noise, and describes how to apply the data sheet specifications for each parameter.
Noise Sources in Low Dropout (LDO) Regulators - [Link]
The LM22670 switching regulator provides all of the functions necessary to implement an efficient high voltage step-down (buck) regulator using a minimum of external components. This easy to use regulator incorporates a 42V N-channel MOSFET switch capable of providing up to 3A of load current. Excellent line and load regulation along with high efficiency (>90%) are featured.
3A SIMPLE SWITCHER, step-down voltage regulator with synchronization or adjustable switching frequency - [Link]
Sudhansu Sekhar Mishra, Tarun Rehani, and Nishant Thakur write:
A regulator is a closed-loop feedback system. For the LDO to be stable, the phase margin must be positive. In other words, at unity gain crossover frequency of the gain curve, the phase of the system should be positive. This can be measured using a vector network analyzer. Many voltage regulators are of the fixed output variety and include the voltage divider internal to the regulator. There are definite advantages to this approach, which allows active voltage trimming and also minimizes the physical space required. A disadvantage to this approach is that the voltage divider is not available for gain-phase or “Bode” measurement. This leads many to believe that it is not possible (or even necessary) to evaluate the stability of such a regulator. This is simply not true.
Understand linear regulator stability - [Link]
If we want to obtain a 5V voltage from only 2 NiMH batteries, we´ll face the fact, that the most of common DC/DC circuits doesn´t operate at such a low voltage. LT1304 controller belongs among circuits, which handle this situation without problems and it also provides several extra things.
To obtain 3.3 or 5V from a lower voltage is a typical requirement at battery-powered or portable devices. Naturally, to obtain 5V it is also possible to use 4-5 NiMH cells or 2 Li-Po cells, but then the device is uselessly bigger, heavier and more expensive. The solution is just the usage of a suitable step-up circuit. LT1304 from Linear Technology belongs to “MicroPower” DC/DC step-up circuits operating already from a very small voltage, 1.5V typically.
Thanks to a very low power consumption (10uA/Shutdown) and a built-in independent low battery detector, it is optimized for usage with batteries. LT1304 needs for its operation only a few external components – 2 capacitors, 1 inductor and 1 diode is all that is necessary to create an operating DC/DC circuit.
LT1304 is available in 3 versions – LT1304VCS8-5, LT1304CS8-3,3 with fixed voltages and LT1304CS8 with adjustable output. Versions with fixed output voltages don´t need a divider in a feedback, what further simplifies a circuit.
Publitek European Editors :
The low-dropout regulator (LDO) has long been the choice for buck voltage conversion not only where cost is an issue but where noise performance is critical.
The brainchild of Linear Technology co-founder Robert Dobkin, conceived when he worked at National Semiconductor, the core architecture of the regulator is very simple but effective. Dobkin took a fixed-ratio voltage regulator and adapted it so that its output could be adjusted using a voltage divider on the output.¹
In the classic linear regulator, a transistor acts as half of a potential divider. Its output voltage is to control a feedback circuit that has control over the transistor’s gate in the case of a MOSFET, which is normally the case for an LDO regulator. The constant control via feedback over gate voltage provides a stable output voltage at a level set by the reference circuitry. Because of the use of a voltage divider structure, the linear regulator can produce only a voltage that is lower than that of the input. Older regulator circuits could experience a drop of 2 V or more. LDOs were devised to provide easier control over the output voltage and to constrain this dropout voltage to less than 2 V.
Linear Regulators Drive Noise Down - [Link]
Tamara Schmitz writes:
Combining the operation of a boost regulator and a negative voltage converter can generate a negative supply from a single low-voltage supply. The circuit in Figure 1 shows a standard application circuit for a +20 V supply along with two op amps, two diodes and two capacitors to generate the – 20 V supply. This article will discuss the basic operation of a boost converter to generate a larger positive supply voltage. Equations are derived to determine the minimum inductor value to maintain a safe peak inductor current, and a maximum inductor value to maintain continuous conduction mode (CCM) operation. The article will then discuss the generation of a negative supply and the restrictions of the design.
Simple Circuit to Generate Plus and Minus Supplies Using a Boost Regulator - [Link]
All embedded systems require electric power to operate. Most of the electronic components inside them, including the processors, can operate at a wide range of supply voltage. For example, the operating voltage range for the PIC16F1847 microcontroller is 2 to 5.5 V. But there are certain applications where you need a regulated constant voltage to avoid malfunctioning of the circuit or getting erroneous results. For instance, any application that involves analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) requires a fixed reference voltage to provide accurate digital count for input analog signal. If the reference voltage is not stable, the ADC output is meaningless. Here is my latest dual power supply regulator board that provides constant 3.3V and 5.0V outputs from an unregulated DC input (6.5-10V). It is small in size and can be easily enclosed inside the project box along with a project circuit board. It can also be used to power test circuits on breadboard. The board uses two AMS1117 series fixed voltage regulators and receives input power through a DC wall wart or an external 9V battery.
Multi-purpose dual power supply (5.0V and 3.3V) regulator board - [Link]