28 February 2023
EPC launches reference design for high-power-density, low-profile DC-DC converters
Efficient Power Conversion Corp (EPC) of ElSegundo, CA, USA – which makes enhancement-mode galliumnitride on silicon (eGaN) power field-effect transistors (FETs) and integratedcircuits for powermanagement applications – has announced the availability of the EPC9177, a digitally controlled, single-output synchronous buckconverter referencedesign board operating at 720kHz switchingfrequency converting an input voltage of 48V, 36V, 28V to a regulated 12V output voltage and delivering up to 20A continuous outputcurrent.
The small-area (21mm x 13mm), low-profile (3mm-height inductor), synchronous buckconverter features the EPC23102 fullyintegrated half-bridge ePowerStage and is optimized for computing powersupplies and USBPD3.1 multi-port chargers and on-board DC-DC solutions able to convert a 28V–48V input to a 12V or 20V output.
With the advent of USBPD3.1, the output voltage for USB charging increases from 20V to 48V and the power increases from 100W up to 240W. This higher power enables USB charging beyond laptop and cell-phone fastcharging to higher-power applications including gamingPCs, powertools, and e-bikes. While the main output of the chargers is 48V to allow the higher outputpower with 5A-rated cables, multi-port chargers can also support lower outputvoltages such as 5V, 12V and 20V to be compatible with a wider range of devices. A smart DC-DC regulator is required to generate these lower voltages. Additionally, a DC-DC regulator will be required resident on the motherboard of the gamingPC or powertools to convert the 48V to 20V and 12V input.
The EPC23102 GaN powerstage integrates the half-bridge driver and FETs (100V, 6.6mΩ R(DSon)), the levelshifter and the bootstrapcharging and can switch with very high efficiency – up to 3MHz. It enables the EPC9177 referenceboard to deliver up to 20A continuouscurrent using a heatsink and 15A continuouscurrent without a heatsink to 12V output voltage, with greater than 97.3% efficiency with a 48V input.
The high powerdensity makes this reference design suitable for computing, industrial, consumer, and telecom powersystems requiring small size and high efficiency. eGaN FETs and ICs provide the fastswitching, high efficiency and small size that can meet the stringent powerdensity requirements of these applications.
“GaN ICs provide the maxim powerdensity for DC-DC converters,” says CEO Alex Lidow. “EPC GaN powerstages give powersystem designers the highest-power-density and low-component-count solutions for USBPD3.1,” he adds. “The EPC9177 reference solution, based on the EPC23102, increases efficiency and powerdensity, and reduces overall systemcost for USBPD3.1 implementation.”
The EPC9177 reference design board is priced $480 each and is available for immediate delivery from distributor Digi-KeyCorp.