Smart power products for MCUs and IoT designs

October 15, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Smart power stages target IoT infrastructure systems
With a total of 21 new products, Renesas is introducing the second generation of software-configurable digital multiphase controllers and smart power stages for IoT equipment. These devices support up to 1000A loads for advanced CPUs, FPGAs, GPUs and artificial intelligence (AI) ASICs.

The ISL6822x, ISL6823x, RAA2282xx digital multiphase controllers and ISL993xx, RAA2213xx smart power stages expand Renesas’ digital multiphase platform to 41 devices. These devices are designed to meet the challenges of rapidly increasing power densities in data center servers, storage, optical transport, routers, switches, as well as computing and 5G wireless infrastructure equipment. Features include a patented synthetic current control architecture for fast transient response, reduced output capacitance and lower system cost. In addition, the digital multiphase controllers reduce time to market with solder-free tuning of any application using the vendor’s PowerNavigator software.

The 2nd generation digital multiphase controllers enable greater scalability and flexibility for adapting to any system requirement without requiring phase doublers. From two phases to 20 native phases, it is easy to find a controller that can be configured for a range of applications, depending on output current requirements. In addition, individual setpoints can be set for adding/dropping phases to maximize efficiency across the entire load range. Each controller’s on-chip non-volatile memory allows the entire configuration to be saved to the device, eliminating the need for discrete components for setup and tuning. And a black box captures fault events, allowing faster diagnostics and debugging.

The controllers’ digital engine features a patented synthetic current control architecture that tracks each phase current with zero latency. This allows the device to respond to load transients with precise current and voltage positioning, and 30 % less capacitance than competitive devices. Synthetic current control also makes it possible to develop high reliability systems using all ceramic capacitors.

With full digital control of the power supply, the entire system can be monitored and controlled via PMBus and AVSBus interfaces to the system managers. The AVSBus interface allows connection to any general market ASIC or processor for monitoring and adaptive voltage positioning, which delivers energy efficiency by adjusting the power supply to the load requirements. The PMBus interface provides full monitoring of I/O voltages and currents, temperature and fault reporting.

The 2nd generation smart power stages (SPS) provide 20A to 90A of maximum continuous current and come with integrated driver and FETs in compact packages targeted for space-constrained designs. Their high level of integration coupled with current sense capability delivers >30 % board space savings over traditional power solutions, which typically employ separate drivers and discrete FETs. The SPS devices have a smart driver, as opposed to a regular driver that is common in DrMOS devices. The improvement with the SPS driver is it can provide a reconstruction of the inductor current by sensing the FETs within the device.

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