Consumers are very demanding when it comes to electronic devices, such as mobile phones. They want the best screens, instant response and higher performance in smaller and smaller packages. The especially want it to function all day without charging, and if they do need it to charge, they want it done quickly. As the customer is always right, manufacturers have obliged – 4K screens that refresh 120 times per second, high performance processors that wouldn’t be out of place in a notebook and millions and millions of dollars spent on developing battery technologies that would supply the increased power that all those fancy features require. Because the phones are in a similar form factor as the previous generation and offer a similar feel, consumers don’t understand why they need to wait longer for them to charge, even if they do realise that the battery capacity has jumped 20% between generations.
At the same time, more and more manufacturers are taking a step back from providing chargers packaged with their equipment. These manufacturers include both Samsung and Apple. This has opened an opportunity for third parties to compete directly with the original manufacturers of consumer equipment. To compete, they must be able to innovate to offer added value over the OEM, and usually at a reduced price. They do this by offering faster charging, smaller chargers and additional charging ports. The market for chargers for consumer goods is huge, and will become even larger once the EU carries out its recent announcement of standardizing on the USB-C connector, both manufacturers of chargers and power components are eager to get involved.
The latest of these power manufacturers to put forward their own USB-C solution is Power Integrations. The company has launched a new family of InnoSwitch3 devices that include USB-C and PD controllers in the package. The devices also integrate a high-voltage PowiGaN switch, a multi-mode quasi-resonant flyback controller, secondary-side sensing, FluxLink isolated digital feedback and a synchronous-rectification driver. The company claims that this high level of integration allows the design of products that halves the BoM needed for a USB-C solution from around 120 components to 60. Other features of the devices are also intended to ease the design phase, including the packaging that meets international safety standards.
Featuring no-load power consumption as low as 14 mW, power supply designs using InnoSwitch3-PD ICs also meet all global energy-efficiency regulations. With up to 95% efficiency, the low heat dissipation from the devices eliminates the need for heatsinks in most applications, allowing smaller designs. Power Integrations’ FluxLink high-speed communications feedback link provides fast, accurate secondary-side regulation. InnoSwitch3-PD ICs are also fully protected, with input voltage monitoring, accurate brown-in/brown-out and overvoltage protection, and output over- and under-voltage fault detection with independently configurable fault responses. The devices also have a pin to allow the connection of an external NTC temperature sensor. This feature lets customers use temperature information for enhanced thermal protection on the secondary side. At launch there will be six members in the series, with maximum outputs from 22 to 100 W.